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Essay methodology for critical thinking and writing

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by Estève Giraud (18/07/2016)

Writing the weekly essays for the course is a real challenge. It requires you to be on top of the assigned readings, and preferably of the suggested ones. External serious sources are also valued, and we ask you to write a clear, synthesized and well argumented opinion. Of course, all of this has to fit in a calendar already busy with other courses assignments, work or internship, and personal life.

For many students, this appears to be a tedious process through which it is hard to get the desired outcome: a good grade.

If you scrolled this page with the hope of finding a short and easy recipe to get a good grade in your IBP assignments, this might be a disappointment. However, if you are looking for a practical exercise which will help you to build intellectual muscles, which can help you to write your assignments more and more efficiently over time; this article is for you.

To practice properly, you need to start working at least two days before the day you write the essay you will submit.

On the first day, you should simply try to write your opinion as clearly as possible, and then read the assigned readings making an analysis of the opinion and arguments of the authors to enrich that opinion.

On the second day, imagine you are a completely different person, take the opposite opinion to yours, and argument for it.

On the third day, write now what will be your refined and expanded opinion, using your writing from the two previous days.

The attached pdf "IBP methodology of essays" gives you a detailed explanation.

Surely this will seem like a long process to many of you, and you might want to do it all in a row to save yourself time. According to my experience, this is not the most efficient way to do it because the brain needs time to think through complex political, economical and social issues, weight arguments and select the right words. You might want to think about this exercise like a workout routine: discipline and regularity foster your strength and flexibility.

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