What to look for when writing an essay

The essay (plural: essays, franz. essai = trial, sample) is a concise text within a narrowly defined thematic framework, in which scientific, cultural, or social phenomena are considered in a writing-like manner. The focus is on the author’s personal, yet not arbitrary, examination of his or her particular topic. An essay wants to be interesting, understandable, fluent and convincing. Therefore, in addition to the subject of the considerations, it is important to develop the thoughts before the eyes of the reader. This must always be justified and explained logically and appropriately, which requires a clear argumentation structure ("red thread").

In terms of form and structure, the essay is somewhere between an essay and a university term paper. The essay usually differs from this in that it is smaller in scope and lacks explicit bullet points; in most cases, footnotes are also omitted. An essay is also not about an overall presentation of a subject or. Problems. In fact, it is close to the essay in terms of content, so it can be written in the style of a linear, d. h. It can be written in the style of an essay illuminating only one perspective, but it can also be written in the style of a discussion essay (few!) differentiating and weighing up selected aspects.

Formal structure of an essay

A well constructed essay should have the following content:

  • Introduction (leading up to the discussion, problem, or question by means of a hook or tie-in to the seminar)
  • Main part (coherent argument, discussion, documentation of your own position/statement)
  • Conclusion (summarizing the perspectives and arguments brought forward, summing up)
  • Literature (overview of the literature used)

Is there a difference between the Scientific Essay and the Essay?

Just like the essay scientific essay structured in such a way that there is a division into introduction, main body and conclusion. However, the Scientific Essay requires the systematic processing of scientific literature. So, to meet the requirements of the Scientific Essay, you need to choose your sources much more thoughtfully, so that a comparison of different approaches becomes possible. The Scientific Essay is used to illustrate a research problem by comparing pro and con opinions regarding a scientific topic of discussion. You do not necessarily base your paper on a research question, but on a problem that is discussed in research, in order to be able to compare the opinions and draw your own conclusions.

How to write a scientific essay?

  1. Identify your topic: What problem is currently being discussed within the research area in which you are to write the scientific essay?
  2. Identify your base literature: Who are the advocates in relation to the research problem and who are the opposing voices?
  3. Identify the key theses: What do researchers base their argument on?
  4. Identify the opinion leaders: Pick both advocates and opposing voices, each referenced by others.

Once you have now sorted through the literature you have reviewed, identified the opinion leaders within the debate, and worked out the theses, the rest of the work is simply to reduce them to 1.200 to 2.000 words to present and draw your own conclusions from.

"Writing an essay" vs. "writing a term paper"

Scientific essay

term paper

Concise and precise version of a scientific paper, which v. a. is used in the English language

Includes individual expositions by the author on a (often) broad question

Typical topic for an essay:

Typical topic for a term paper:

Source analysis not provided

Analysis of sources and literature research indispensable

No use of footnotes, citations only when necessary, cite literature only briefly in the text

Provide citations according to academic standards in footnotes and in the bibliography

Outline is not visually prefaced; instead, within the essay, paragraphs delineate the argument in terms of content and topic

Classical outline/table of contents comes before the main body of the term paper

Any literature that served as inspiration must be cited in the bibliography

Classic citation in the bibliography (in the bibliography) of only the literature used in the footnotes

Scope depends on university requirements

Scope depends on the university requirements

Essay means: advocacy of one’s point of view; argumentation; drawing a conclusion; summation; persuasion

Term paper means: research, presentation, elaboration, argumentation, evaluation, placement in a larger context

This is something you should keep in mind when writing
of an essay



An essay is written without extensive citations. Style is more important, so do not include footnotes or marginal notes.
Typically, an essay does not include references to another text or other sources.

  1. Clarify and explain the research question or assignment you have been given.
  2. Ideally, think about and write down your first thoughts already.
  3. Sift through your material to address this question.
  4. Think again, formulate new thoughts or continue thoughts already written down.
  5. Create a collection of ideas and organize your thoughts, also consider a – thereby by no means unchangeable – structure.
  6. Formulate what you want to say in one sentence.
  7. Just start writing – learning by doing! As should have become clear from the previous points, it is the writing process as such that essentially matters. This is always also an intellectual process = writing is equivalent to dealing with a topic. So you don’t have to have what you want to write ready in your head beforehand – word processors are forgiving of any mistakes. Your result may therefore be quite different from what you evtl. previously thought. Start simply – and as early as possible.

The elaboration – this is how you write an essay

1. Introduction: name the topic, introduce the "hook," disclose procedure:

Why is the topic, why are the remarks about it important? What is the ‘problem’ to be solved below?? The relevance of the topic has to be emphasized here and made palatable to the reader. The following are suitable for this purpose z. B. well-known or pithy quotations, or provocative theses, but also short introductions to the content, which describe the problem as such, can be appropriate (examples: "Although already ended a century ago, it is still a controversial question today who is to blame for the First World War" – "What you hang your heart on is your God" – it seems as if Luther already had an inkling of the power that consumption would later receive").

The first sentence of an essay should briefly and succinctly express what you think about the topic and generate a reaction in the readers.
Dipl.-Psychologist Miriam Spering (2002, p. 5)

After that, make it transparent in which way you approach the problem: What content will follow, how will the essay be structured? Argue in the style of a linear essay or a deliberative discussion? What is the material or. Fact base? Here it may and should be mentioned that no overall presentation follows, but a narrowly limited argumentation.

It makes sense to write the introduction only at the end of the work, since the relevance often becomes clear only during the occupation with the topic. Here you can then review how you have proceeded.

2. Main part:

Limit yourself to selected aspects – an essay is never exhaustive, but approaches a problem from a narrowly defined perspective. Make sure that the facts and arguments actually relate to the issue – quality over quantity here. Why you present which content must be made implicitly or explicitly clear when content is weighted and evaluated with regard to the question – only then do arguments arise from content! A mere naming and retelling of content is not sufficient. Examples: Is it really important for the question of guilt for the First World War how old the European rulers were? Does the topic of modern consumption require the indication of the GDP?? To copy from Wikipedia or to copy from textbooks is really not an own achievement.

It is also important to make sure that the individual contents or aspects of the topic are clearly distinguishable from each other. Arguments must be recognizably related to each other. A mere enumeration is not sufficient. If there is no adequate transition between individual aspects, you should examine their relevance to the topic again in detail – less can be more in this case. Pay particular attention to the beginnings of sentences: If you find "furthermore" or similar too often, this indicates that the explanations are enumerative in nature, which must be avoided at all costs.

3. Conclusion:

State result of the explanations: What are the conclusions from what was previously written? Firstly, note the parenthesis opened in the introduction and secondly, refer to the content presented, but do not repeat it! A transparent and reasoned judgment is required – evtl. also include an explicit statement of your own and/or a personal word. If necessary. values openly, on the basis you judge.

In the conclusion, both the introduction with the question and the main part with the corresponding content must merge recognizably. It should be written in such a way that a reader can also skip the main part and find the answer to the question posed at the beginning plausibly answered; at the same time, the contents of the main part should be recognizably referred to without being repeated. It is often a good idea to refer to questions that are still open and/or further or other related problems or issues. Pointing out questions that came to your mind after writing the essay.

4. Form:

The individual parts are not separated by their own headings or. Bullet points identified as such. Only paragraphs mark the transitions – so make sure that the three parts of the essay are both recognizably distinct from each other in terms of content and (nevertheless) flow smoothly into each other.

The finish of your essay

The bottom line in essay writing is:
Stick to the narrow topic! Have the guts, start writing!

  1. Check everything again and read the text as if it were someone else’s text. Is what it says true? Can you understand this? Errors in sentence structure, word choice, grammar should be improved, arguments that are too concise should be expanded, prolixity should be shortened. Parts of the text may need to be rearranged: Check the outline. Is the "red thread" always recognizable, are the transitions successful?? Does the content and arguments in the main section actually fit the theme? If the conclusion is logically derived from the main part? If the conclusion ends the parenthesis opened in the introduction?
  2. Read aloud. Voices Rhythm and Melody? Is the text understandable?
  3. Find a reasonable layout according to the specifications. Name and date of submission are usually included. If it is not explicitly stated, always choose a font with serifs (z. B. Times New Roman). A cover page is no more necessary than a table of contents. The outline is comprehensible through paragraphs without further subheadings.
  4. As a rule, the sources used are indicated at the end.
  5. The pages resp. Adhere to character specifications, if one exists. One page A4 Times New Roman 12 point 1½-line, 35 lines with margins yield approx. 2.200 characters with spaces.

Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel "The Scarlet Letter" – "The Scarlet Letter"


Start by defining what a symbol is and how it relates to literature. Why are symbols important to understand the message of a novel?? You might discuss how and why authors use specific symbols to refer to certain themes or motifs, or why Nathaniel Hawthorne is known for symbolism in all of his literary works; you must study symbolism to understand his novels and their messages. You could also relate symbolism to how the Puritans viewed the world during the time "The Scarlet Letter" was written and the book is set in.

Theses 1-3

In general, this section should highlight three basic arguments that support the thesis. Specify reasons for your opinion exactly. At this point you should make your point and discuss it in detail.


You might discuss how the letter "A," which Hester Prynne was forced to wear as a sign of her adultery, represents her strength and that it makes her more likely to be seen as "capable" (engl. "able"), instead of being a sinner by "adultery" (engl. "adultery") applies. One piece of evidence might be that she grows and develops as a character-including through her growth in knowledge as a dressmaker. This strengthens and influences her belief in her own abilities.

You might also discuss how something (namely, the letter "A") that was supposed to symbolize her shame instead became a symbol of her strength and perseverance.
Other possible symbols found in Hawthorne’s novel include the colors red and black. If you choose to write about it in this section, discuss why colors are important symbols and what they represent.


For the second argument, choose a different symbol that is visible in "The Scarlett Letter," such as the meteor seen in the sky. You could discuss why this celestial object is symbolic and what it means to each of the characters. Or you may choose to discuss the symbolism of the forest in Hawthorne’s classic novel. How does the symbolism? What does it mean and why? Prove your point.


In the third thesis, you could discuss the character of Pearl and what she represents or symbolizes in relation to the other characters in the novel.

Another way of looking at it could be the symbolism of the name "Pearl". How does the meaning of the name differ for Hester as opposed to the residents of the town and Dimmesdale? Be very specific about what they think and why; refer to scenes or situations from the novel. Use this approach for any argument that is being discussed. Each thesis should include one paragraph. Depending on how long you want the paper to be, you can add extra paragraphs for each argument or point.

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