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How to write an Arts Essay

The complete guide to writing a 2:1 standard university essay

An essay is a short piece of writing in which the writer tries to put forward what they have learned on a certain topic. It is an attempt to communicate a thought process.

In order to write Arts essays, the writer should firstly read the question and be able to understand what the question is asking, for example, Discuss Michelangelo’s painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, is this his greatest work? In order to answer this question the writer should research Michelangelo and his works. It is important that the writer understands what the question is asking of them. This can be an extremely demanding undertaking and also within the preparation of the essay, the writer needs to understand where the starting point is.

The starting point for any essay is the research phase. The writer needs to gain an understanding of the subject and be able to analyse the arguments both for and against. In the early stages of preparation, there is a need to prepare an outline and it is also an idea to chart the construction of the Arts essay and to write down all the reasons and evidence found while researching the topic. The writer, also in the research stage, needs to define the claims for and against the arguments he/she proposes to put forward in his/her essay.

In order to research a topic, the writer needs to identify sources which they will use e.g. books, magazines, journals and from the internet. This can educate the writer with more information and be able to give the essay a more authoritative feel. The best way to conduct research is to start by making a list of questions that need to be asked and answered. Remember the research phase takes time and patience.

Next part of preparing an Arts essay is to take the outline and analyse the source materials. Once the research has been gathered, the writer must analyse each of the claims made and decide if they will merit this in his/her essay. This is the arguable position. In order to acknowledge or refute a claim the writer needs to use supportive evidence to back his/her standpoint up. When analysing a source, the writer must remember to bear in mind that there may be a pre-existing inclination or bias associated with the work. A good Arts essay will produce honest work where the writer will be able to discern what the bias is.

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After the research and outline preparations, comes the time when the writer decides his/her standpoint. After all the claims have been examined, e.g. those agreeing that the Sistine Chapel was Michelangelo’s greatest work versus those against it citing another piece of Michelangelo’s work as the greatest piece, the writer must figure out where he/ she stands and thus how to express his/her belief. For the writer to do this, he/ she is presented with a period of trial and error. A successful essay writer is one who chooses a position with which reasonable people are able to either agree or disagree with. This entails a wide range of research and knowledge which supports the position the writer has taken. This evidence should be shown in as clear, concise and a manner as possible.

The outline of the Arts essay is the next important piece. This is the foundation of the essay and if this is non-existent the essay could disintegrate. The writer should start by briefly sketching an introduction. In doing this the writer leads the reader into the main stance of the work. Once this position has been solidified, the outline should focus on the claims which the writer is making in order to support and develop the position. Once these claims are stated, it is at this point that the writer should begin to plan the conclusion.

The structure of the Arts essay generally has an introduction, main body and conclusion. The introduction is the first piece of the essay and is commonly written alongside the conclusion. A good Arts essay requires the introduction to grab the reader’s interest immediately. Advice to the writer is to start with his/her claim right away. When the writer divulges his/her position they must then point to some supporting sub positions. It is important to make the introduction a clear and limited statement in order to seize the attention of the reader. The introduction needs to be linked with all the paragraphs in the essay. All paragraphs in the Arts essay are of importance.

The adding of the main body of the Arts essay is the next stage. The paragraph within the body of the Arts essay should be similarly constructed in format. The best way of structuring the body paragraphs is to focus on the writer’s main position and state this in the first sentence of the first body paragraph. The paragraphs are used as an organised unit of thought. Ideas should follow one another in a rational sequence. Each sentence in the paragraph should be supportive of what the writer has already stated. The relevancy and relationships are cemented by paragraphs.

The final part of an Arts essay is the summary paragraph or conclusion. The concluding paragraph restates the main position of the writer and drives it home in an original new way. It ties the Arts essay together in a creative and authoritative approach. This is the last chance for the writer to convince the reader of the validity of the information which they have presented. As there are similarities in the introduction and conclusion some writers construct and edit them together as necessary. The conclusion should be kept short.

Finally, before the writer turns in his/her Arts essay, they must be sure to check the language for grammatical and spelling errors. Other important things to look out for are that the flow of the essay is consistent, every sentence should sound clear and concise and that the writer has avoided plagiarism.

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