How to begin an argumentative essay

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A mandatory part of any scientific publication, be it an essay, a monograph, a dissertation, or even an abstract, is the statement of essay goals and objectives. In this essay, we will not only explain the differences between goals and objectives, but also show why correctly formulated goals and objectives are the key to the success of scientific essay.

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What is an essay goal

It is important to understand that scientific essay can only have one goal. Sometimes it is acceptable for it to consist of two parts, but then these components must necessarily be linked logically. While the minimum possible number of objectives is two, but it is still better if there are three or four. Let’s understand why this is the case.

The purpose of a scientific study is to answer the question of why a given experiment is being conducted. The scientist must articulate the significance of the result he or she hopes to obtain after the essay is completed.

In fact, the purpose is derived from the problematic of the essay, and the problematic is defined by the topic. It is possible to build a whole hierarchical pyramid: topic – problematic – goal – objectives. For example, if a scientist is essaying on the topic “Impact of Global Warming on the Behavior of Polar Birds,” the problematic is likely to be that climate change has significantly affected the lives of these animals, and probably for the worse. The purpose of this hypothetical essay can be formulated in one of the possible ways presented below:

  • To study the effects of global warming on the behavior of polar birds.
  • Identify changes in polar bird behavior associated with global warming.
  • Demonstrate the relationship between changes in polar bird behavior and global warming.

The goal should be clear and understandable. You cannot write abstract statements and general phrases. Already at this stage, it should be clear whether it is possible to implement what you have in mind and, if so, how to do it. It is recommended to use verbs in the indefinite form: “study”, “determine”, “develop”, “reveal”, “establish”. Another option is to begin the phrase with a noun: “investigate,” “determine,” “demonstrate,” “ascertain.”

Here are a few examples:

  • Example 1. An essay paper on “Changing media in the age of the Internet” might have the following goal: “To identify the differences between today’s media and those published in the 1960s and 1980s.”
  • Example 2. If the topic of the essay sounds like “Endoscopic surgical intervention in chronic cholecystitis”, then its goal is “To determine indications and develop methods of endoscopic surgery in chronic cholecystitis”.

What are essay objectives. Learning how to set objectives

Objectives are a step-by-step plan for accomplishing a goal. The essayer must consistently and realistically answer the question, “How will I achieve the goal I set for myself?” Typically, when the essayer formulated the goal, he or she already had ideas for accomplishing it.

An example of goal setting for a essay paper. Returning to the example of the effect of global warming on the behavior of polar birds, the following objectives can be formulated:

  • To study the existing literature data on the behavior of polar birds before global warming.
  • To observe the migration, mating, and breeding behavior of polar birds at the present time.
  • To find out the differences between what is described in the literature and what the essayer has observed on his own.
  • To determine the possible consequences of global warming on the population of polar birds soon.

There is no need to confuse the objectives of the study with its methods or stages. This is a common mistake: graduate students often specify as tasks such activities as studying literature sources, conducting an experiment, comparing and evaluating the results.

It is acceptable to use such phrases in the “Essay Objectives” section, but these should not be independent paragraphs. For example, you can specify that the essayer will study information about the behavior of polar birds before global warming from literary sources, but you cannot limit the phrase to “Study of the thematic literature”. Similarly, in the fourth paragraph of the “Objectives” section about the distant effects of climate change, you can state that the essayer plans to draw conclusions. However, it is obligatory to specify what he is going to emphasize in the final part.

Where in the essay paper the goals and objectives of the essay should be placed

A scientific essay is written according to a strictly defined plan: introduction, main part, conclusions and list of references. The goals and objectives of the study should be indicated in the introductory part. This helps the reader immediately more clearly imagine what the publication will be about.

Depending on the specifics of the publication, several variants of the location of the goal and objectives within the section “Introduction” are allowed. For example, it is possible to specify the purpose immediately after describing the problem, or later, after the object and subject of the essay have been identified. As a rule, there is no significant difference, but some scientists attach great importance to it. Therefore, it is best to clarify this point with the supervisor.

How to determine the purpose of the essay – 3 simple ways

It is not always the case that the author, when choosing a topic for essay, immediately understands the problem. For example, he is interested in alternative treatments for depression or computer addiction in adolescents. But he may not always know what has already been done to solve these problems, and what aspects need further study. Therefore, any scientific essay begins with a literature review.

There are three reliable ways to determine the purpose of a essay paper:

  • Method 1. The scholar shows that the problem has not been fully solved in previous essay. In this case, the specific areas in which improvement is planned should be identified as the goal. For example, if essays on unconventional therapies for depression don’t pay enough attention to light therapy or L-thyroxine administration, one might aim to study the effectiveness of these methods.
  • Method 2: Sometimes, to be successful, it is enough to demonstrate that the methods of the author will allow solving the problem, which was already raised by other scientists, more effectively.
  • Method 3. Many scientific essays end with a discussion of the problem. The author describes further perspectives on the issue. All a scientist needs to do in such a situation is to carefully read the text of the publication. In many cases, it is possible to literally borrow the wording from the final part of the colleague’s essay.

In other words, it is not enough to simply review the literature to set the essay objectives correctly. It is necessary to determine the boundary that separates the already studied material from the one that requires further essay.

Typical mistakes in formulating goals and objectives to avoid

  • The purpose of a essay is not directly related to the topic, problem, subject and object, and the objectives do not correspond to the expected goal.
  • The goal is formulated in such a way that it is impossible to understand the expected result.
  • The practical value of the essay result is not clear.
  • The objectives duplicate the purpose of the essay by simply being formulated with synonyms.