Step 5: First Draft

Step 5: Writing the first draft

  • With all the prep-work done, it is time to move on to the actual writing! Your first draft is going to be your assignment in its worst form – this is okay! There will be time later to revise and refine it, but for now it is important to get your thoughts on the page and transfer your notes into written material.
  • Remember: the first draft you write should never be the one you submit. Do not finish at this step, make sure to move on to the others afterwards!
  • When you are writing your essay, remember that you are writing with a specific goal in mind. It is essential to build strong arguments within your essay. The word “argument” may not appear in your assignment, but it is often key to writing essays.
  • The aim of any academic work is to express a point of view on a subject and support it with evidence. Almost every assignment you write will be seeking to prove or demonstrate something. You should always bear in mind that your reader will not immediately agree with your thesis from the outset: they will need a good reason to believe your arguments.
  • Structure and evidence are vital to developing your argument. The points you make should flow logically through your structure, and it should be easy for the reader to follow your train of logic. Remember: you cannot convince a confused person! If your argument seems hard to follow, consider rewriting the paragraph or shifting your structure slightly.
  • When you are writing your assignment, it is good practice to assume that your reader understands the basics of your subject area but is ignorant to the specifics of your argument.
  • If you are introducing a complex idea, term, topic, or claim you should make sure to explain this clearly. This will help your reader follow your argument and ensure that they are not lost in the middle of your discussion. Ask yourself whether you would have understood a particular claim if you had not done the research into it first: if not, you probably need to explain it explicitly!
  • Although the specific structure for your assignment is up to you, it is expected that each assignment you write here at UCC follows a general formula: Introduction – Main Body – Conclusion.
  • Your introduction is the part of your essay where you give any relevant background information, you lay out your plan for the reader and, most importantly, you state your thesis statement – the question you are trying to answer or the claim you are trying to prove.
  • Your main body is the section of your essay where you will argue for the claims you are making, giving evidence, and leading the reader through your arguments.
  • Finally, your conclusion is the point at which you recapitulate your arguments, tie the disparate threads of your essay together, and end on a strong note that leaves the reader convinced of your claims.
  • Each one of your main body paragraphs should focus on one point relevant to the one central claim/argument which you will have identified as you planned your assignment. Each of these main body paragraphs should introduce its central idea, and this should then be developed fully, using plenty of literature references as well as details, definitions, illustrations, comparisons, and contrasts where appropriate.
  • These paragraphs must link back to the question your assignment is answering.
  • As such, it may be useful to have the question easily visible as you write, so that you keep it constantly in mind.
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