Pick a topic that everyone is currently discussing. Pay attention to the rumours. Select a question an answer to which is still unknown to many people. Choose an audience that does not agree with your point.
The short essay--usually between five and ten pages, typed and double-spaced, is an excellent way for you to demonstrate your ability to condense a great deal of material into what is essentially a compact essay.
A short essay is not a research essay and should not be treated as such. Hints on how to write the research paper are given below.
The short essay may be composed of one question your instructor has asked you to grapple with. The question may contain a quotation which you are to use as a guideline.
Here's an example from my class, Modern European Intellectual History: Conflict and the Quest for Identity in the Middle Ages Although the major premise of our course thus far has been the elaboration of the world Essay great topic world between andit can be said that an adjunct theme has been the question of identity.
It can be argued that human beings determine their identity through conflict, a conflict which is at times hidden, and thus manifests itself in subtle ways. At other times, this conflict is out in the open and it is there that individuals find themselves.
Explicitly or implicitly, the activities and thoughts of human beings in the centuries between c. I think Barber is on to something.
I also think his model of conflict implied in his use of the expression, two powerful forces can shed some light on future developments in the intellectual history of Europe, specifically the Renaissance and Reformation. History abounds in conflict and each age has had to reconcile its conflicts in its own way: The ultimate reconciliation of conflict within the individual and society, produces identity and without identity, one can not seriously fashion a world view.
This much said, I would like you to write an essay which discusses conflict and the creation of identity as it was worked out in the period c. Your answer, of course, depends on your view or image of the period. You may see the period as a whole eg. With this in mind, what forces were present which produced conflict and how was that conflict reconciled if it indeed ever was to fashion a new identity or world view?
You may wish to consider individual thinkers as representative of their age the Abelard, Petrarch, Erasmus gambit or, you may wish to view the period in its totality and so talk in more general terms.
Now, as you can see from this example, I have not only supplied an introduction to the topic, but also a quotation taken from a modern historian. I then elaborate on the passage and finally, in the last paragraph, I raise a series of questions which the student ought to consider but not necessarily answer.
The student should have few problems obtaining the required five to ten pages on such a topic. The short essay assignment above was given in the fourth week of a fifteen week semester.
My students had heard four three hour lectures and had already done some substantial reading from a text of primary sources.
They had several in-class discussions as well. Although I never discussed Barber's quotation in class, I knew that the quotation highlighted some of the central themes we had developed up to that point in time. The students had one full week to complete the assignment.
The problem with such a topic, as I soon discovered, is that some students were not prepared to handle such a question. Many submitted "essays" that were less than five pages on a topic which could have easily demanded more. I was a bit surprised by this because I did expect more.
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