What is an essay?

The term ‘essay’ actually derives from Latin ‘exagium’ which includes means ‘study’. It is with the same meaning that we use the genre term today, where an essay can be said to be a study, reflection or reflection on a topic and a problem.

What is the purpose of an essay?

The purpose of an essay is to delve into a topic and issue by viewing it from multiple (often surprising) angles. But contrary to a discussion, you are not supposed to argue for a particular point of view. It can be difficult to fully understand the difference between an essay and a discussion, because in both genres you may be asked to base a text, and therefore it seems logical to discuss it as well. But the most important thing about an essay is that it must not become a discussion. You could say that the big difference is that in an essay the subject is in focus, in a discussion the views are in focus.

Concrete example

For many people, war is a negative concept, a term often associated with death, destruction and sorrow. When you, like many people, play computer games, Playstation games, etc. every day, war games are almost impossible to avoid. Many young people and older people are drawn to these war games as they provide some form of context to the real world and the sense of belonging comes to life. The graphics often seem incredibly vivid and it makes the games very believable. But what is the significance of the war games on the players? Do they see war differently after being engulfed in a world where war is a fictional reality?

For the same reason, an essay should not contain a conclusion. It is not important to come up with a solution or a fixed point of view, because the essay is precisely a search and examination of a topic. As we shall see later, this also has an impact on the structure of the essay.

What should an essay contain?

An essay should include reflection, study, and reflection on an issue. The most important thing is that you remember that the focal point is a problem ie. a specific question that you need to reflect on. Therefore, when you include texts, films and other material, it is important that you consider how it can give a new perspective on your problem.

The circle of reflection can structure your essay by letting you focus on the composition ie. the structure of your essay. The starting point is your problem and a concrete example (i). Next comes the reflection itself, which is based on a brief analysis of your example (ii). Then you reflect on your example, which leads to an abstraction in which you try to extend your example to a broad context or context (iv). Finally, try to extend your example by passing it on to a new example, which you can then elaborate on by taking a new round in the reflection circle.

An important thing about an essay is:

  • That you focus on the topic and the problem, not just the text.
  • That you examine and reflect does not discuss.
  • That you end up with an ending, not a conclusion.
  • That you include your knowledge and other material on the subject.