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The best way to complete this stage of the essay-writing process is to use an essay plan template each and every time. Even if you feel as if you know the ropes and can quickly get your ideas onto paper, you will actually be much more efficient if you follow the same structure whenever you have a new essay to write.
Following this structure will enable you to quickly complete and tick off boxes without having to put too much thought into the layout and design of the task. If you have a guideline to hand, all you will need to do is search for the relevant details and input them where they fit best. Printing off this essay planner article and keeping it as something you can refer to will be useful in telling you exactly which information needs to go into which part of the assignment.
Most UK universities and secondary schools will expect you to include three or four points in your plan – these can then be developed to make up the main body of the essay. Look at the instructions given to you by your teacher and lecturer and start searching for any topics or main paragraph ideas that could help you complete the assignment. It is likely that you will have already studied some of the books or information that will be useful in the paper, so look back over your notes and try to find any lessons and notes that were based on the subject of your assignment. This should help you make a decision about which areas of the subject you want to focus your main arguments on.
You should now have a handful of key arguments that will allow you to start researching your chosen subject area. Take each of your individual points and start looking for data or studies that will support what you want to say in the paper (see essay plan sample for how to structure this). If you are unsure about where to start looking for relevant information, go through the provided reading list or speak to your teacher and see if they can point you in the right direction. Otherwise, why not talk to your classmates and find out which books they have found useful? Librarians in UK universities may also be able to assist you if you are looking for more specific or hard-to-find sources.
Your main argument will almost act as a conclusion, as it will draw on your key points and result in the most significant argument in the paper. Use the research you have done to outline the support the argument has, and delve into the ideas as deeply as you can at this stage to explain why you have formed the opinion you have. Take a look at the essay plan example for inspiration:
Question: Top athletes play sport because they love the game and not due to financial benefits. Discuss.
Introduction: Talk about what you believe and what you will be looking at to find evidence to support your arguments, e.g. studies on specific athletes and athletes in training.
Arguments: Outline three or four arguments (in separate paragraphs) and back up each one individually with information you have taken from external sources.
Main argument: Discuss what you have found to be the strongest point in your research, e.g. Athletes tend to play at much lower levels for many years without seeing many financial rewards.