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How to Write an Essay Explaining a Concept

by Kate Beck

Writing an essay explaining a concept can be a challenging assignment. The first, and possibly most important step, is to choose a concept to explain that you are interested in and feel comfortable writing about. You could choose to write about a topic that you know something about, or, alternatively, you could choose to write about a topic with which you are unfamiliar but that you have a desire to learn more about.

Research and Narrow the Topic

Once you know the concept you want to write about, take time to research your topic, noting important information and quotes from experts or well-documented facts to back up your idea. Many concepts, such as emotions like love or hate, make for broad topics that will prove difficult to work with, so you should narrow your essay idea as you research. You can focus your idea by looking at one aspect of the subject. For example, instead of writing about poverty, narrow your essay to discuss the effects of poverty on young students.

Introduce Your Topic

When you start writing, your first paragraph will introduce your topic, and you need to interest the reader in the concept you explicate in your essay. For example, if your essay involves an emotion, you might try to appeal to that emotion in your reader. On the other hand, you might give a personal anecdote or ask a question the reader should consider. Near the end of the introduction, you need to present your thesis, a sentence that states your argument or claim that you will prove in the body of your essay. In the sample topic of the effects of poverty on young students, your thesis might look like this: “Impoverished elementary students often have low self-esteem and decreased academic achievement in comparison with their peers.”

Form the Body

In most essay assignments, you will need to include at least three main points in the body of your essay. You can use research to back up your thesis, such as research and statistics on poverty. Also, if your teacher allows this approach, some concepts will benefit from your personal experience. This allows you to give true-to-life examples of your topic and will keep your reader involved. Begin each body paragraph with a general topic statement, and grow more specific with each subsequent sentence. You will conclude each body paragraph by wrapping up the information. Throughout the paragraph, make sure the information your provide supports and is connected to your thesis.

Conclude Your Essay

In the last paragraph, you will conclude your essay by tying together the points you made in the body of your essay. Take this opportunity to solidify the connection between your reader and the concept by reiterating the impact of your topic. Also, show how your points prove or support your thesis. You can make suggestions to your reader in the conclusion, perhaps recommending a certain action the reader may want to take to create changes or improvements.

About the Author

Kate Beck started writing for online publications in 2005. She worked as a certified ophthalmic technician for 10 years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Beck is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel.

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