Essay, Writing Advice from Judges: 2022 John Sexton Essay Contest

What are you looking for? In other words, what makes a great essay to you? I think what im looking for is powerful. Writing. I look for passion and engagement in the written word i mean. Obviously, nsa should be concise and precise and make clear points, but a good essay should help me care about. The topic should make me want to read till the end. I want the writer to convince me that i should really read till the end, so theres something about the magic of words that i think a good writer brings up in telling a story and that may sound abstract. But i think i would say to the consent. Contestants give it everything you have write about something you really care about, and you want to convey something important about so thats, my um two cents on what im looking for in a good essay. Well, clearly, theres clarity of writing and quality of writing. Aside from clarity, i think a lot of people dont connect the points of the intellectual content of an essay to its effect on peoples. Emotions you dont change the world by giving people exclusively facts, you need to link that to their own passions, so somehow managing to do that. 500 words is may seem like a small number. Uh abstracts for scientific papers tend to be between 250 and 350 words, and you can tell the whole story of an entire paper of a study that may have taken you a decade in those 250 to 350 words, so you dont want to be redundant.

You want to demonstrate to people that you have mastery of the topic you dont want to just rehash what people have already said. And, interestingly, i i assume knowing terrical its intentional, but it says that you are to make recommendations where the students are to make recommendations to inform to inform. I found that very interesting global efforts to address complex impending emergency based on the rohingya refugee crisis, but its to inform global efforts, so that to me suggests offering something new um and some way of evaluating what it is that youre offering either by providing context about. Why it seems plausible that what youre suggesting is going to work, but also putting together some system that monitors the effect im going to be looking for students to tell me what theyre going to be arguing right from the get go. So i know what to look for, and i know that their evidence supports their argument and i can read their evidence through the argument they put forward. Im also going to be looking for them to tell a little bit of a story um. So i think that sometimes an argument and a story can be seen as opposite things, but actually, i think one of the uh one of the signs of strong writing is when you weave together an argument with a story so seeing both. Those together is one of those things as well that im looking for and then also with that.

Looking for how students can look and listen to like a really good job, researching and research and read really widely um and listen to the sources and what they have to say and tell the story that the sources are staying, saying as opposed to kind of having An idea, and then picking sources around that story that they think so listening to the data and the sources, rather than vice versa. I think the short answer is be yourself, but its not only be yourself its its uh, be aware of yourself of your strengths and also weaknesses in expressing what you want to say, thats. Why usually its helpful to have more than one draft people work differently, so there isnt one size fits all. But i think if you are aware of yourself youre understanding of both the subject and the words youre using uh and also you adding in a little humor, adding in creativity not over doing it. But it is disarming. Because if someones reading a lot of essays, a little humor goes a long way or a little uh light touch goes a long way when were talking about things like genocide. It may not be appropriate um, but theres different approaches to every subject, and i think again in being in you being yourself, uh means take your own approach. It doesnt have to be the way. Someone else does it well. I think i really cannot comment on a great academic essay, but i can i can easily say what a good essay may look like.

A good essay must be packed with a lot of data with a lot of research with a lot of evidence, and most of all, it must be backed by conviction unless uh the writers are into the topic just skimming the surface wont do so its important for Them to go into every detail, and not really bank on word – count not really count on uh. The the format that its following, but whats more important is how much they think they know about the subject and how much theyre theyre willing to invest in. I think this essay should set uh the the initial tone of future research, so it must have the potential of research element in future. If somebody is even referring to a case study, let it span into a full on research at a later point. So it cannot be a writing in isolation. It has to be a writing with potential, so it has to have potential. It has to have faith, it has to have conviction, it must have data and evidence and thats mostly what anyone would look for in a good essay. What are some methods? A writer could take to research and conceive a creative response to the essay prompt. I think before you can even be creative in your your essay. You need to really understand the issue, and so again the place to start is with a good amount of reading and research, and that is from a variety of sources.

So that could be some reports that could even be some books that could be newspaper articles, but that can also be from more video based interviews or or documentaries or youtube videos or debates that are playing out even on twitter and other forms of social media. So, first you need to really immerse yourself in the issue before you can step back and say. Okay, now that i understand what the problem is, i understand what some of the discussion and debate is about. How do i want to approach this issue so before you can have a creative solution? You really need to deeply understand uh the issues i would get input from people who i respected and id get input from people who, i think, will be critical of what i have to say and id get input from people who can recognize that somebody named madeleine Freed of her vintage is capable of coming up with profoundly important insights and solutions to problems that seem insoluble. Do a little reading. You know about global refugee crisis, uh its refugees, but also internally displaced. What is being done at the u.n? What is being done elsewhere? Get give yourself a background. Doesnt have to be a long preparation time. You could do that. Well, lets say an hour even and uh just feel like youre familiar with the problems and uh, and then one aspect is what do refugees themselves say? What do they want? Maybe google some refugee organizations, as i was just quoting to someone just a little earlier – the refugee movement says: well, they have a slogan thats, nothing about us without us, so that means that the refugee voice is really important.

So how can you quote? Maybe a refugee in there you know: how can you get close to the refugee experience and not just talk about them? So i think that theres different ways into this big question of the global refugee crisis and specifically about rohingya predicament, how theyre ever going to get repatriated, so theres theres. You really need to kind of chew over it. I cant tell you about what your approach will be, but um yeah its really important its a really important issue and and our policymakers dont seem to be able to solve it, but uh. We think they could, if they tried a little harder, and so maybe your essay will actually be a drop towards that that river we need to flow towards justice, so yeah. I really hope that people will want to engage with this question. How might a writer structure their essay to build a more creative argument? So one thing that i found a lot of students do is theyll write, um, a first draft and only at the end do they get to the main idea and the main argument that they want to actually make because theyre doing a lot of throw clearing. So it takes them a couple paragraphs to kind of get it out the thoughts that theyre trying to say and figure out the language they want to use to say it. So what i often suggest is taking that last paragraph, that you write in your first draft and just kind of copying it and pasting it or cutting and pasting it and putting it at the top and then starting from there.

So you can really dig deeper if you kind of start after the first graph itself. First of all, of course, more is not better, but im sure you all know that to be able to write a coherent narrative, i would say know your evidence intimately. You should be intimately familiar with the arguments and the counter arguments in the field around the topic that youre talking about be cognizant of the sources. Who is asking what kind of questions what kind of data is being produced? Ultimately, you have to argue with confidence, not just string together some facts. As evidence of your point of view you have to be, you have to again convince me that you know what youre talking about and you believe in what youre saying, which means having that intimacy and familiarity with all of the arguments and counter arguments out there. You know, i think, its best to outline your thoughts and then form your piece, because many of the abstract of the thesis are not more than 200 to 300 words. So when a researcher tries to contain his or her thoughts, her whole 300 page thought into only 300 words its a lot of struggle, because you have to say a lot. So how do you say a lot in 500? Well, its pretty easy! Actually, your intro and your conclusion have to be very, very definite, so your definitive approach in intro and conclusion would help you, but in the middle you back in your arguments, logically chronologically and also systematically you know its.

You should not be indulging in in creative impulses and remember this is your essay. You are not writing this essay as the un secretary general or the head of an environmental policy group or as a refugee rights expert at this moment. So you can look at this through your own eyes and come up with your own recommendations. We will value that too again as long as its well researched, and you show that you have looked at all the various experts policy recommendations but dont be afraid to be creative.

What do you think?

Written by freotech


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