December 6, 2017

Write Like a Pro – Top Tips on Composing Winning Thematic Essays

“I write essays to clear my mind. I write fiction to open my heart.”

Taiye Selasi (writer and photographer)

The ‘global’ writer of Nigerian origin hits the nail on the head with this one. Essays and fiction are worlds apart and demand two outlooks in the composition that are polar opposites. In fiction, you have the boundless possibilities of letting your thoughts and ideas roam and wander into realms hitherto undiscovered or untraced, essays take you for a detailed and analytical journey through facts and thorough research and development. That is precisely the reason many are of the opinion that fiction, being fanciful and largely imaginative, is perhaps easier to compose than essays that are composed of hard facts and the touch of realism. Keeping the essays vs fiction debate aside, let us now go through the key aspects of understanding and composing thematic essays – one of the many varieties of essays in academia.

Understanding thematic essays

At the outset, here are thematic essays for you – explained in a nutshell so you can understand what is being asked of you and the exact details of the objective of the essay that is at hand. A thematic essay, as is obvious from the name, revolves around a central theme and deals with the categorisations and specifications as well as the analytical aspects of the essay within that thematic framework. Thematic essays demand clarity of perception, critical thinking and abilities to deftly analyse and structure information as well as extensive research on the theme upon which the essay is based.As a writer of a thematic essay, you will be required to present facts based on the central theme with great care and logically conclude your essay that has its foundations on the facts that you presented. A thematic essay tests your depth of knowledge on the central theme and needs careful and precise research and development skills as well as abilities to describe the theme in detail.

However, the good news is that all thematic essays follow a similar structure and once you are acquainted with the nuances of the basic framework for composing the essay, consider half your job as done. Stringing together your coherent comprehension of the topic and elaborate descriptions surrounding the details of the theme concluded in a logical manner that ties the whole essay together is thus the trick to champion thematic essays.

Why outlines matter for thematic essays

The essay outline is the backbone of a thematic essay. It is crucial because it follows a logical path and to succeed at writing a thematic essay with élan, one has to follow the outline to the T. Otherwise, your essay, however informative, runs the risk of seeming like a jumbled mess of facts and figures that are related to the central theme but not quite connected together. It is a common scenario for students to get poor grades for a very informative essay written in impressive style due to not adhering to the essay outline while composing it. That is why, especially in the case of thematic essays, it is imperative that you heed by the outline and try to fit in all the components of your essay within that framework. The following are the key components of the outline for a thematic essay with brief descriptions so you understand which portion contains what within the framework of the essay.

  • Introduction

They say the first few sentences of a prose piece or essay can determine the fate of the rest of it. And that is precisely why the opening or the introduction of your essay needs great care and a keen mind for grabbing the attention of the readers at the first go. The introduction is the first part of the thematic essay – its main purpose, as is obvious, is to introduce the theme in a manner that engages the reader. Presenting the main theme of the essay through the opening lines in your introductory paragraph thus has to contain a few key aspects – an intriguing style, concise and brief description of the theme in discussion as well as some anecdotes or a quote relevant to the central theme. Livening up the introduction, you can then move on to describing your take on the central theme in brief and let the body of your essay do the rest for you.

Expert Tip: Some startling statistics, a funny anecdote or an interesting quote are great ways of opening your essay. This way, you can introduce the theme of your essay to the readers in a manner that is sure to catch their eye and pique their interests.

  • Body of the essay

This is the portion of your essay that contains the main matters of discussion – the theme of your essay. Divided into coherent and connected sections, the body of the essay is essentially a cluster of paragraphs that deal with the different aspects of your theme for the essay. While the other forms of essay allow you a certain level of freedom to compose and structure the body of the essay any way you like while being careful not to digress from the main subject, thematic essays do not give you such creative license or free pass to compose the body any way you like. The formatting for the body of thematic essays thus follows a structured pattern and must be adhered to for securing great grades and detailing the theme in a comprehensive manner. The paragraphs in the body of a thematic essay should ideally be as detailed as possible, without being too long-drawn. It is essential that the body of the essay describes the central theme with great detail, touches upon the perspective put forward in the introduction and gives way for a resounding conclusion to your essay.

Expert Tip: For thematic essays, it is always best to divide the paragraphs in the body into sub-themes under the central theme. That way, a flow of coherence and connection is established and each of the paragraphs, neatly arranged in the relevant order, can explain the sub-themes assigned with a detailed perspective.

  • Conclusion

Wrapping up your thematic essay requires a concluding paragraph that is succinct and precise. It is best to do away with unnecessary ornamentation and usage of frilly phrases to bring life to your conclusion. Instead, it should ideally contain seven to ten sentences that touch upon the crucial points of your theme. The conclusive paragraph must include, in addition to restating some of the important aspects of the theme in a different manner, your personal take on the theme and relate it to the principal view on it that you provided in the introduction. Providing your personal opinions on the theme shows your understanding of the subject when placing the theme in a global or macro perspective. Connecting the conclusion to the introduction brings the essay to a full circle and justifies the journey of the essay following the central theme. The conclusive statement should be something that lingers in the minds of the readers for a long time, and it is best to encourage them to delve deep into the theme for some more information that could be unearthed based on the central theme of the essay.

Expert Tip: Just like with introductions, well-written conclusions too, leave a lasting impression in the minds of the readers. For the concluding paragraphs in your thematic essay, brevity and precision are the golden rules to follow.

Take your pick – knowing the difference between a ‘topic’ and a ‘theme’

Essential to a thematic essay is your understanding of the subject matter and what you are required to analyse and present through the essay. The point of confusion for most students is the subtle difference that lies between a ‘topic’ and a ‘theme’. Disentangling the theme from your topic is of crucial importance for composing an impressive thematic essay. Here are a few ways that might help you understand your topic and figure out the theme upon which to build your essay.

  • Pay attention to the readings

Collect all the readings that are relevant to your thematic essay and summarise them carefully. The summaries will help you with identifying the topic of your essay. The topic is the broad subject that the theme of your essay is a part of and it should be carefully kept aside for later use once identified.

  • Identify the recurrent theme

While going through your readings and from the topic itself, you will be able to identify the central theme upon which you need to compose your essay. Look up essay formats for your theme online or get help from your books or peers that will help you with the comprehension of this central theme.

  • Look out for further categorisations

While detailing the theme of the essay in your mind, be on the lookout for further categorisations under the central theme. This will help you compose the body paragraphs of your essay in a connected and coherent manner that makes sense to the readers as well as analyses the central theme successfully.

  • Put the theme in perspective

Putting the theme in global perspective will help you see why it stands out from the topic. While there are many topics under one central theme, the ones relevant to your essay should be taken into consideration. The global or macro perspective of your central theme is also important to determine the tone through which you need to conclude your essay.

Once you can separate the theme from your topic, consider a major job towards composing your thematic essay as done. Depending on the complexity of the theme, you can then move on to structuring your essay as is required.

Tips to compose an impressive thematic essay

The best essays consist of the three key aspects: accuracy, insight, and structure. These three combine to become stellar essays that fetch you fabulous marks and will stay in the minds of your readers for long. Here are some of the top tips that will help you compose impressive thematic essays. From the brainstorming to proofreading, these tips cover each stage of planning and writing a thematic essay.

  • De-clutter your mind and create an essay checklist

The first step to writing an impressive thematic essay is to clear your mind and focus on the task at hand. With a calm mind, create an essay checklist that contains all the readings and references that are helpful for your theme as well as all the quotes and anecdotes that you need to look up or include in your essay. The essay checklist should also consist of a rough plan of the thematic essay that you will need to build upon further once you start composing your draft for the essay.

  • Research extensively

No thematic essay can be championed without proper research and delving deep into the discipline that you have to delineate in detail in your document. Research thoroughly and read up all that you can get your hands on, you never know which page of which reading provides you with a wondrous perspective on your theme for the essay. Research is vital to writing good thematic essays.

  • Compose a rough draft

Compose a rough draft of your essay with the proper formatting for thematic essays. Right from the first draft, try to stick to the structure for thematic essays place great importance on the structure and formatting of the essays. The rough draft will be your reference when you compose your final draft and will help you identify the areas of improvement that the final draft needs.

  • Construct the essay

Construct the essay with great care. Thematic essays should ideally be five to seven paragraphs long, depending on the topic that you have chosen. Do not go into unnecessary details and avoid being too intricate with the details. Accuracy is a very important factor that you should keep in mind while composing your thematic essay. Stick to the facts and elaborate them but do not make it a too long read.

  • Edit and proofread with great attention

Probably the most important tools while composing an essay that you wish leaves its mark, editing and proofreading stages of the thematic essay will present to you errors and style issues that you might overlook otherwise. Improve on the points that need improving and make sure your document is free of errors before you submit it.

Follow these simple tips to write a thematic essay that helps you score great grades and impress your professors. With a clear plan and good understanding of your theme, you will be able to tackle that complex topic for your next thematic essay. Good luck!

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Bella Phillips

Bella Phillips is an academic writer at who is associated with the company for the past Six years. He has finished his master's degree from the University of South West England and has served as a guest lecturer at several colleges

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