Thursday, September 30, 2010

Notes from the Field: How to Write an Essay

For this post, I am offering "Notes from the Field". Here, I intend to provide a resource for aspiring art historians and students of art history in general. For the first of these "notes" entries, I offer some thoughts on essay writing. And, to simplify, I've provided an acronym to help you with your essay construction. If it's art history....make it sexy! See below.

S : statement, thesis statement
E : Explain
X : Expand
Y : Your response

I cannot take 100% of the credit for this model. My friend, Cheryl Hughes (who teaches art history in Utah) came up with this model and I have altered it....a bit. S-E and X are the same in both of our models. For Y, she intends for students to address "why it works". Instead, I look for a response to the work, the idea, the theme, the quote, the concept --whatever you're addressing in your thesis-driven argument or response essay.

If you find yourself writing an essay this week or in the near future, feel free to follow this model. But know that it won't guarantee an A or anything of that sort. Excellence in verbal communication requires careful inquiry, analysis, and further thought, in addition to clear argument and writing.

Finally, and above all else, if your professor has given you a prompt, you should follow the guidelines therein, first:)

Happy writing!

1 comment:

Mexifem said...

Great model, thanks!