Writing a Thematic Essay
A thematic essay is any essay or written piece of work based on a specific question or theme. The writer is therefore expected to connect different facts to come up with a logical conclusion. Most thematic essay questions test comprehension and understanding of social studies and historical facts. They require critical thinking, research and evaluation to come up with coherent and detailed description of the topic. No wonder many students find them difficult to write. However, all thematic essays have a common structure and outline that when followed, writing will just be a walk in the park.
Tips for a thematic essay writing
The main format for essay writing encompasses three major parts: the introduction, body and conclusion. This case is not in any way different for thematic essays. The essence of an introduction is to lay a foundation of your work and indicate what your body will entail. It has to be catchy and appealing to the reader so as to encourage further reading. Nevertheless, stick to the topic given. Rhetoric questions and relevant quotes can serve as hooks to the reader. Supposing I am writing a thematic essay on political systems, from the start, the reader should be able to identify what I am talking about, why the topic is important, and where my thoughts are inclined. The audience should also be in a position to notice the key words and definition of terms. Including your thesis statement in the introducing paragraph makes work even easier. How? The details in your body will fall in place basing on that statement. My thesis statement, therefore, would be: the strength of a nation and the satisfaction of her people depend on the success of the governance system. In short, your introduction should have an appeal, to catch the audience’s attention, introductory statements, to familiarize the reader with what the topic is all about and the thesis statement, to form a clear basis of your body.
Paragraphs forming the body have a particular role, elaboration of topic sentences. In this case, for example, my first theme sentence could be: representative democracy is considered the best for all countries in this century. The whole paragraph should revolve around it. I could ask myself the following questions then generate answers for them in writing: why is democracy the best? How many countries embrace it? How many do not? Are democratic nations doing better than other nations? Appropriate examples and statistical data can also be added evidence to build on the paragraph. Other topic sentences, as per the outline could form the basis of argument in the consequent paragraphs. It is important to note that thematic essays require evaluation of different opinions. You have to find a way not to exclude any arguments whatsoever. No paragraph should be left hanging: a closing statement, summarizing the whole discussion, has to be incorporated.
The conclusion always falls in the final paragraph. It has to be short, at most seven sentences, and straight to the point. Remember the conclusion aims at reminding the audience what the essay is all about. For this reason, your thesis statement is integral to your ending. It has to be re-examined and even restated, in different words though. Your stand, thoughts and opinions on the topic should also be reflected in your conclusion. Give a summary of your initial main points and emphasize on those that show your stand. Personalize your opinions as well. For example, on the theme ‘Political Systems’, I would give say: “I believe that giving countrymen a chance to contribute to national leadership brings prosperity and success to the people and the country at large.” This is already an expression of what I feel in relation to the topic given. Conclusions must not always be predictable and boring. Just like in the introduction, you can also end with a question or a quote that best describes your argument. Your conclusive statement should leave your audience in awe. They reader should be left thinking about what your essay. He or she should hear your voice in your work, as if you were there in person presenting your case.
For any essay, having a prewritten draft is very important. Your outline is what will guide the flow of your ideas. Headings of outlines are always indicated by roman numerals and lower case letters or Arabic numerals for subheadings. Subheadings include examples and arguments that elaborate the main points indicated by the headings. For the topic I chose my possible outline would be:
Outline for a Thematic Essay on Political Systems
1. General information.
- Types of political systems.
- Facts, research or study information on systems of governance:
- The most common political system.
- Method of governance preferred by most people- include statistical data.
2. Representative democracy.
- Countries embracing democracy.
- Advantages of democracy:
- Political freedom.
- No monopoly of authority.
- Interests of citizens are protected.
- Economic effect.
- Nations under this political system.
- The plight and privileges of nationals.
- Difference between absolute and constitutional monarchy.
- Countries embracing either forms.