What makes up for an excellent economic essay? When you study economics in college and get a task of writing an essay in your major, you are expected to present a clear argument and substantiate it with solid evidence that you reference properly. If you want to get an excellent grade for your economic essay, you will first have to conduct a thorough research, formulate the main thesis of your essay, and put together a detailed outline that you will follow throughout your work on the essay. A clear outline is of great help regardless of the discipline in which you are to write an essay. However, it is especially essential when we talk about economics, because an economic essay has to stick to facts and not be distracted from the main argument, leaving little room for creativity in the conventional understanding of the word. Here is a step-by-step guide on writing an economic essay to land yourself an A+.
STEP 1: MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT IS REQUIRED OF YOU
Economic essay topics often come in the form of questions. As soon as you have your topic, read it several times to make sure that you fully understand it. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to clarify them with your professor. Once you are positive that you understand the question, write it down on a piece of paper and put it somewhere in your room where you can always see it. It can be helpful to highlight the keywords or phrases you find in the prompt. It is necessary for ensuring that you stick to this question at all times throughout your writing and don’t get distracted.
Closer to your final college years, the questions to investigate in your economic essays will get more complicated. Such questions can be broken down into two or more ‘sub-questions’.
STEP 2: DO YOUR RESEARCH
Only when you have clarified the question that you are to investigate, can you start the research for your essay. For some essay topics, your textbooks will provide enough material for your research. So, they are your first most obvious source. If you find this material insufficient, you can always check out the textbooks’ references section and look up some potential sources there. Besides, your professor is always there for you, only waiting for you to ask for a piece of advice.
During your research, you may stumble upon some unfamiliar terms. Do not overlook them, be sure to clarify their meanings. Also, when reading your source materials, always keep in mind your main question and don’t hesitate to skip the sections that are not related to it.
STEP 3: PLAN YOUR WRITING
After having conducted a profound research and having sufficient amount of material at hand, you should start thinking about what exactly you are to write in your economic essay. It is worth repeating that in an economic essay, it is especially critical to stick to your essay’s main question at all times throughout the entirety of your writing. This is considerably easier when you have a concise plan. Please do not confuse an essay plan with an outline, writing an outline for your essay is a bit too early at this stage. Here, a plan is a rough enumeration of the most interesting points that you have stumbled upon in the course of your research and you would like to talk about in your essay. Putting them together in a list will help you to determine whether or not they directly relate to your topic.
STEP 4: ARRANGE YOUR MATERIAL
Now that you have determined what information you are going to put in your economic essay, it is time to put all these bits of information in a logical order to ensure smooth narration in your essay. As you know, any essay consists of an introduction, main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. You present the information from your research in the main body of your essay, so right now we are talking only about them.
When planning your main body paragraphs, be sure to take into account the volume of your essay. Don’t try to squeeze into it every single point that you find relevant and interesting, it is much better to focus on several issues and give them proper attention.
STEP 5: INTRODUCE YOUR ESSAY
Once you have all your research materials at hand and a clear understanding of what you are going to write about in mind, you can proceed to writing. Arguably the hardest part of any writing is the beginning, and economic essays are no exception. This is exactly why it is an excellent idea to begin writing your essay with the introduction and get it over with as soon as possible.
As one may suspect, the function of an introduction is to introduce the reader to your writing and to give them a brief overview of what they are about to read. In an economic essay, the introduction will represent an expanded version of your main argument that you have formulated back in step 1.
STEP 6: OUTLINE YOUR MAIN BODY PARAGRAPHS
Now that you have briefly expanded the main argument of your economic essay in its introduction, you have set the tone for the rest of your writing. It should make it considerably easier for you to stick to your topic.
What you should do now is put together a more detailed outline of your main body paragraphs. You already made up your mind as to what exactly you put in these paragraphs back in step 3. Now, having your main argument in the forefront of your mind, you should put all these bits of information in a logical order to ensure the smooth narration in your essay. Each point should be given its own paragraph (or a bigger section if you are writing a larger essay). In the outline, it should look like one main sentence of each paragraph, complemented with references to the materials that you are going to use in this particular section.
STEP 7: WRITE MAIN BODY PARAGRAPHS
Once you have a clear outline for the main body of your essay, writing your main body paragraphs should not pose any complications. All you need to do is expand upon the point from your main body outline and present evidence from your research materials to support it. In other words, each body paragraph will consist of its main sentence that you take from your essay outline and the evidence from your research materials to substantiate it.
We could not stress more that, once again, it is crucial to ensure that the narration in your essay flows smoothly and logically. To do that, feel free to use transition sentences at the end of each paragraph to connect it logically to the following paragraph in a way that this logical connection is evident to your reader.
STEP 8: MAKE SURE THAT YOUR EVIDENCE IS COMPELLING
The defining peculiarity of an economic essay is that it is much more about facts and data than essays in most other disciplines. This means that – unlike with most other disciplines – it will not be enough merely to quote another author that you are referencing. You should give some relevant and compelling statistics, facts and figures. One can say that the factual evidence is the ‘meat’ of any economic essay, the very reason why it is written and why anyone should read it. This is why it is imperative that you ensure that every single claim that you make in the main sentences of your body paragraphs is well substantiated with factual evidence.
STEP 9: CONCLUDE YOUR ESSAY
When you have written the main body paragraphs of your economic essay, you can consider that the main part of writing is done. It, however, does not mean that you should relax and expect any conclusion that you come up with to go well with your essay. It is difficult to underestimate the importance of a solid conclusion of any paper, including economic essays. A conclusion is the part of your essay that contributes most to your reader’s general impression of your writing, Likewise, a weak conclusion will leave your reader with the kind of impression that you don’t want.
You can think of a conclusion as a wrapped up version of your entire essay. This is what you leave your reader with when s/he has read your paper and moves on to whatever else s/he has to do. A fine and proven way to wrap up your essay is to restate your main argument that you have presented in the introduction.
STEP 10: REREAD YOUR DRAFT
It is quite naive to assume that if you have written your essay, your job is done and you are ready to submit it. Every student knows that at this stage it is only a draft which demands some polishing before you submit it – that is, if you want a grade higher than a C. On the other hand, it is also too early to proofread your draft for spelling, punctuation and other possible mistakes.
We suggest that right after your conclusion you reread your text to make sure that all your main body paragraphs and all the evidence that you present is in line with your essay’s topic and your main argument. If you spot any divergences, do not hesitate to trim off all the irrelevant information.
STEP 11: DOUBLE-CHECK THE CONSISTENCY OF YOUR WRITING
Once you have made sure that all the information you present in your essay is directly and evidently relevant to your main argument, another question arises and needs to be answered – is this information sufficient?
First of all, the main argument itself has to be clear to your reader. You should double-check that it can only be understood the way you intend it to. If there is any possible ambiguity of perception, it should be eliminated.
Secondly, the same principle applies to the rest of your essay, and not only in terms of vocabulary, phraseology, etc. You reader should not have any questions about why a particular piece of information is there or what does a particular piece of data prove.
STEP 12: CHECK THE SPELLING AND GRAMMAR
Only now, when you are completely satisfied with the content of your essay, you can move on to polishing its form. By that we mean, of course, making sure that your essay does not have any spelling, punctuation, and other seemingly minor mistakes that may or may not decrease your grade directly but will surely provide your reader with a dose of disappointment or even irritation.
Even if your major is far from language studies, you need to get used to understanding that such errors which many students, sadly, prefer to overlook are unacceptable in an academic paper. Otherwise, it will not be taken seriously, regardless of how insightful the content may be.