In order to write a good essay, you need to develop a thesis, which is the particular point that you wish to argue. To begin an essay, you should do extensive reading on a specific topic, critically assess the positions of the authors you consulted and then synthesize their findings and your own insights into your paper. The first paragraph briefly outlines your issue, the problems it presents and a statement of your understanding of the best solution. The body of the essay attempts to demonstrate the validity of your thesis through a logical progression of arguments. The final paragraph gives you an opportunity to synthesize your arguments or give a summary of what you have demonstrated. This is the standard format for a research paper.
A variation of this format is the exploratory essay, which starts with a problem, analyzes the evidence and then reaches a conclusion.( i.e. what otherwise would be the thesis) at the end. It allows the writer to review the evidence systematically, in an unbiased manner and reach a conclusion based on one's evidence, rather than one's opinion. Sometimes having a thesis statement at the beginning may engender better organization and communication of your thoughts.
The exegetical essay is especially relevant to the study of scripture. The word exegesis means to lead out in Greek. It tries to bring the author's meaning out of a text. An exegetical paper explains the meaning of a passage or a group of passages according to what the author means to convey, instead of reading one's own presuppositions into it. These essays should have a thesis also which is supported by logical and compelling arguments that support your interpretation.
Evaluation of your papers is based on the following criteria
Documentation is required whenever you are making use of someone else's ideas, even if you use your own words to express them. Items of common knowledge ( generally accepted facts that can be found in more than one source) do not have to be attributed to any one author. An over documented essay gives the impression that you did not read enough to know that much of the information which you are documenting is common knowledge. An under documented essay gives the impression that you need to give the impression that overestimates your ability to think for yourself. A properly documented essay will accurately convey the full extent of your research.
Religion papers use the MLA method that gives the author's name and page. It only gives the year if more than one book by the same author is mentioned in your bibliography
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