Question Techniques In Essay Writing

Charles Emmrys PhD


Writing an essay is an exercise in first selling the topic to the reader and then developing the topic in a coherent and organized fashion through the exploration of sub topics.


This five step technique allows you to prepare research and write a solid university essay paper using questions to guide the essay writing process.


The steps:

  1. Find an interesting primary question that you want to answer with your paper.
  2. Then find the five interesting logical sub-questions you need to answer to answer the primary question.


Example

Primary Question

Why do citizens of Kent County always vote Liberal?


Sub Questions

  • How long have Kent County citizens voted for the liberals?
  • Who were the original community leaders that convinced Kent County people to vote Liberal and what were their arguments?
  • Did the County benefit from their Liberal tradition?
  • When did they deviate from this tradition and why?
  • What allows the tradition to continue – if it does?


Finding a strong primary question that interests you can be difficult. Some people start off with general questions with sub questions and then take one of the sub questions as their primary question and develop sub questions for that one. This is one way to make essays less general and more interesting to the reader.


  1. Next, you sell the primary question in your introduction to the reader, i.e., you introduce the question and show why it is important. If you are truly interested in the question, your interest will come through in your introduction.


Example

The Liberal Party has controlled Kent County for over 100 years with a strangle hold that has attracted national attention on more than one occasion. In this essay, we will look at this amazing tradition to see why it exists and what its future is.

  1. You then answer the sub-questions that you have chosen. Each answer becomes a subsection in your essay. Many people give their subsections a subtitle.
  • The History of the Liberal Tradition in Kent County
  • The Leaders that Forged the Tradition
  • The Price of Allegiance – Winners and Losers
  • Exceptions to the Tradition
  • Is Kent County Liberal Forever

It is a good idea to write out 8 or 10 sub questions at first. This allows you to then choose the best 4 or 5 to be your sections in the essay. You should never have more than 4 or 5 sections in an essay.


These sub questions can then guide your research. In essence, each section is the answer to the sub question.

  1. In the Conclusion you summarize the essay by answering the Primary Question in a condensed fashion. You can then note the other questions it would be good to address.

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