Meaning of Essay

What is Essay:

An essay is a type of text written in prose in which an author exposes, analyzes and examines, with various arguments, a given topic, in order to establish a position on it, following his own argumentative style. In this sense, the essay is characterized by being a proposal for reflection, analysis and evaluation that is structured in a classic way with an introduction, a development and a conclusion.

An essay can also be the test or experience that is made of an activity or task to improve its execution or to test a hypothesis.

The word essay comes from Latin exagĭum, which means 'weight' or 'act of weighing something'. Hence, it also refers to the task of specifying the proportion and weight of metals that are in the metalliferous mineral as it is extracted before being cleaned.

Characteristics of a trial

  • Offers freedom in choice of theme, focus, and style.
  • Its length varies according to the type of trial. However, they are usually shorter than a research paper.
  • They are expository because they need a clear and concise explanation of the ideas that motivate them.
  • They are argumentative in the sense that they use reasons that demonstrate the probity of the hypotheses that the author uses.
  • They are reflective in that they do not pretend to offer conclusive results, but rather to provide elements for reflection on a topic.
  • Its purpose is to demarcate a particular point of view.
  • Although it has a basic structure, it can be adapted to the needs of the essayist.
  • The analysis can start from both the inductive and deductive method, that is, from the particular to the general, or from the general to the particular.

See also Characteristics of an essay.

Parts of an essay

  • Introduction: refers to the initial section of the text, in which the topic to be discussed as well as the author's motivations is announced.
  • Development: corresponds to the detailed exposition of the arguments, references, analysis and critical reflection on the issue addressed.
  • Conclusion: after the deliberation made in the development, the author exposes the conclusions to which he arrived, defining and validating his point of view.

Test types

The classification of the essays is not usually simple due to the freedom that characterizes the genre in terms of its form, style and themes. However, the following basic types can be recognized: literary essays and academic / scientific essays.

Literary essay

A literary essay is a prose piece in which an author develops his ideas on a certain topic but, unlike academic / scientific essays, the literary essay adds an aesthetic purpose.

By virtue of this, the literary essay does not oblige the scholarly apparatus of an academic or scientific monograph. It does oblige, on the other hand, to originality, to care in language and formal beauty, that is, to care for the literary style.

For instance

  • Test Of the cannibals, by Michel de Montaigne (father of the essay genre).
  • Test The Labyrinth of Solitudeby Octavio Paz.

Academic essay

It corresponds to the exposition and argumentation around a topic of interest to the academic community, under a logical discursive order and with a bibliographic base. Academic essays should always include the sources consulted (bibliography and other sources).

As a teaching tool, the academic essay serves to weigh and evaluate students in terms of handling sources, knowledge of the subject and the capacity for argumentation and criticism. Although academic essays have no aesthetic purposes, they are not at odds with the search for discursive elegance.

For the purpose of experienced researchers, academic essays function pre-exercises to test the scope and limits of a research idea or project (for example, master's or doctoral thesis).

For instance

  • Test The Perpetual Orgy: Flaubert and Madame Bovaryby Mario Vargas Llosa.
  • Test Popular culture: from epic to simulacrumby Néstor García Canclini.

Because they demand method and demonstration of source management, academic essays can also be called scientific essays. However, in its most common use, the term "scientific essay" usually refers to essays that have science as their subject. Let's see.

Scientific essay

It is an argumentative text destined to the reflection of scientific subjects and that, by virtue of it, demands rigor in the data offered as well as in the analysis of the information. Unlike the literary essay, the scientist does not pursue any aesthetic purpose, but rather to ensure effective communication of the premise.

Scientific essays are usually argued in light of references to theories, experiments, tables, etc., which serve to expose a hypothesis or refutation in debate. Like academic essays in general, scientific essays require the submission of a bibliography or reference sources.

For instance

  • Test Equations of the field of gravitationby Albert Einstein.

See also:

  • Argumentative text.
  • Expositive text.

Steps to write an essay

For those of you who want to know how to write an essay, here are some helpful tips and steps.

  1. Choose the topic to be discussed. The more limited, the better.
  2. If it is an academic essay, identify and consult essential sources on the subject.
  3. Write a brainstorming of what we want to say. In other words, to put down on paper all the ideas that we have in mind associated with the subject in question, without paying attention to the order.
  4. Organize these ideas as an outline following a coherent discursive structure.
  5. Write the draft from the preliminary outline. If an adjustment is necessary, please do so freely.
  6. Let the eraser sit for a day or two and return to it to correct and improve it.
  7. Clean the draft.

Essay in music, theater and dance

As a method, the rehearsal is usually applied in the disciplines of the performing arts such as theater, music or dance, to correct possible errors before the final presentation of a work before the public.

Essay in science

In the scientific field, the test or analysis that is carried out in an experiment to check if the hypothesis initially raised is correct is called a test. It should not be confused with the scientific essay as a literary genre.

See also Experiment.

Trial and error

As trial and error it is called a verification method to obtain empirical knowledge about the operation of a thing.

When proceeding by this method, what is sought is to solve specific problems by testing different alternatives. If one of them does not work, it is discarded and another is tried until the correct one is found.

In this sense, it is an essential method to find solutions or to correct and improve tasks or processes. As such, it is widely used in the area of ​​technology, pharmacology and science in general.

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