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Man Made Resources Essay Writer

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People do not want to feel excluded, or to be labelled inferior, either as individuals, or as members of a group. However, it is possible to exclude or imply inferiority without realising it, if insufficient care is taken with your writing. This Study Guide reviews the main ways in which inappropriate assumptions can be made within academic writing, and gives ideas about how to avoid this within your own writing.

There are many words that have been widely used traditionally, but which are based on outdated assumptions. A familiar example is words containing the word man e.g.: chairman, manpower, and man-made, the use of which can be taken to imply that women do not participate in these activities.

We also have a tradition of referring to people with disabilities, by their disability e.g.: calling a person with epilepsy ‘an epileptic’; and of using stereotypes with unhelpful presumptions of ‘normality’ and by implication ‘abnormality’. These problems are most commonly found within the fields of: gender; disability; race; and sexual orientation. Language with regard to these characteristics will be examined in turn within this Study Guide.

The challenge

The appropriateness of language is a contested area that changes in the light of social debates and political agendas. It is not possible to prescribe appropriate language in all cases. The challenge is:

“…to communicate in a manner that does not exclude particular individuals or groups. At the same time … to avoid getting trapped in euphemisms and the ever-changing preferences of various “politically correct” factions—both liberal and conservative. It’s a balancing act, the basic premise of which is to treat people as individuals who are equal.”

http://ucommunications.colorado.edu/services/style-guide/inclusive-writing

Examples and references

This Study Guide uses examples taken from the following websites and book, which are all recommended references on this issue:

Examples of writing that is not inclusive

“If we get an engineering student on the committee we’ll need to make sure that he can fit the meetings in around his project work”
This assumes that all engineering students are male.

“We need to cater for the wives as well as the managers”
This implies firstly that all managers must be male; and secondly that they will have female partners.

“The professors may need a little extra time in case they forget where they’ve parked”
This implies all professors are absent-minded and forgetful.

Such writing can make people feel:

  • less important than others
  • defective
  • irritated  that they have fewer rights
  • inappropriately stereotyped
  • excluded
  • offended
  • unvalued
  • abnormal
  • biased against

Particular challenges within academic writing

If you are writing about, or conducting, research involving human participants, it may be essential that you report certain demographic details such as gender, race, ethnicity, and age. These details may be needed to inform the interpretation of the findings, and to support judgements about their generalisability. Such details may need to appear in any section of a piece of writing, from the literature review, through the method and findings sections, to the conclusions. The key questions to address are:

  • when should we report these details?
  • how should we refer to special interest groups?

Guiding principles are that:

  • you need to record and describe the demographic details that are relevant to the conduct, findings, and generalisability of the research, but not the demographic details that are not;
  • you need to take care that the descriptions you use would not offend people in the groups you are describing. Ideally you would use terms that people in those groups might use to describe themselves.

It is important to appreciate that what may sometimes seem to be a very minor difference in the label chosen can make a huge difference to the impact that label has on members of that group.

General principles you can use to guide your writing

In addition to the guidance and examples given later, about specific areas where care needs to be taken, the following are some general principles that are useful to work to in all writing.

  1. Avoid implying that people in a certain group are abnormal compared with the normal population e.g.: when comparing people with a disability with people who do not have that particular disability, use the term ‘non-disabled’ or ‘people without a disability’ rather than the word ‘normal’.
  2. Take care not to appear to use your own group as the reference group, thus implying both normality and superiority e.g.: describing a culture as ‘culturally deprived’ implies that it fails in comparison with, usually, western culture.
  3. Keep in mind that differences arising from race or ethnic comparisons do not imply deficits.
  4. Try to become routinely aware of any assumptions you are making regarding gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, or any other pattern or grouping.
  5. Become familiar with websites, books, or articles, that give good guidance on this issue, such as those listed on the first page.

Gender

An ever-present problem is how to avoid the potentially distracting over-use of  ‘he or she’ or ‘s/he’ scattered throughout a piece of writing, yet retain an essence of neutrality. Table 1 shows some ideas to help with this.

PrinicipleExampleSuggested alternative
Use ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ (only when the use of plurals would be acceptable)“Each respondent was asked whether he wished to participate.”“Respondents were asked whether they wished to participate.”
Use ‘you’ to speak direct to the reader“The student should make sure she checks her references carefully.”“You should make sure you check your references carefully.”
Changing the sentence to avoid the need to state a gender“The child should be given ample time to familiarise himself with the test material.”“Ample time should be allowed for the child to become familiar with the test material.”

Table 1: Gendered language

Another possibility is to alternate genders throughout a list, or by chapter. As well as being explicit in pronouns such as he, she, him, and her, gender is implicit in many nouns themselves. Table 2 lists examples of the kind of word to look out for, and offers some corresponding gender-neutral options.

Gendered nounGender-neutral noun
man in the streetpeople in general, people
manpowerworkforce, labour force, employees
cameramancamera operator
policemanpolice officer
forefathersancestors
founding fathersfounders
old mastersclassic art/artists
master copytop copy/original
steward, stewardessflight attendant
man-madeartificial, synthetic

Table 2: Gendered nouns

Disability

People with a disability usually prefer to be thought of first as individual people. They prefer not to be labelled primarily as victims; passively disabled; or labelled constantly with the name of their disability. The aim is to maintain the integrity of individuals e.g.:

  • The term ‘disabled person’ implies that a person as a whole is disabled. It could be replaced with ‘person with (who has) a disability’.
  • The term ‘epileptic’ equates the person with their condition. Instead you could write ‘person with epilepsy’.
  • The term ‘stroke victim’ has superfluous, negative overtones of passivity and victim-hood. It would be preferable to write ‘individual who had had a stroke’.
  • Similarly, the term ‘confined to a wheelchair’ could more respectfully be replaced by ’person who uses a wheelchair’, changing from passive to active voice.

All of these suggestions put the individual person first, and refer to their disability second.

Race

It is important to report details of race and ethnicity where they are necessary to describe or explain an aspect of method, analysis, or interpretation. Where this is essential, it is important to use acceptable labels. You need to be guided in acceptability by members of the groups you are describing, rather than by any standard practice you might be used to. Names and preferences change over time so it is important to check what is currently acceptable.

General guidance can be given, but this is, along with the rest of the guidance in this Study Guide, best practice only at the time of writing (2007), and will need to be checked for current validity at the time of use. Current advice is to:

  • use positive descriptions/definitions such as Asian, which give people a name in their own right, rather than negative ones like Non-White, that define people relative to a supposed norm of ‘whiteness’;
  • avoid saying English if you mean British: this could alienate some people you are including who are Scottish or Welsh rather than English;
  • avoid hyphens in multiword labels e.g.: Mexican Americans is preferable to Mexican-Americans. The first is a description of some Americans, with the additional information in the adjective ‘Mexican’, while the second is a label or name;
  • be aware of assumptions implicit in commonly used words and phrases such as: illegal asylum seekers, when to seek asylum is not in itself illegal; and the term assimilation, if you are really talking about integration;
  • be aware that ethnic minorities is not necessarily the same as Non-White e.g.: the ethnic minority might be Irish or Welsh;
  • When possible, authors should use the more specific rather than the less specific term (e.g., Choctaws is more specific than American Indian; Cubans is more specific than Hispanic).

Sexual orientation

You need to acknowledge the existence of a range of sexual orientations. Careless wording can easily make people feel excluded, or abnormal. The table below gives some examples of careless writing, explains what the problem is, and suggests more acceptable wording.

ProblematicPreferredComment
Sexual preferenceSexual orientationUsing ‘orientation’ avoids the connotation of voluntary choice, and thereby potential blame, implicit in the word ‘preference’.
Women's sexual partners should use condoms.Women's male sexual partners should use condoms.Avoids assumption of heterosexuality.
AIDS education must extend beyond the gay male population to the general population.AIDS education must not focus only on selected groups.Does not imply that gay men are set apart from the general population.

Table 3: Language associated with sexual orientation

Conclusion

Because of the ingrained nature of cultural bias, it is possible to offend without having any intention to do so, and without noticing. It is therefore worth incorporating a specific scan for sensitive language within your usual revision or editing process. You can use the guidance in this Study Guide to devise your own check list. The references listed on the front page provide more examples and guidance on these and other areas of sensitivity.

Honestly, throughout most of high school and college, I was a mediocre essay writer.

Every once in a while, I would write a really good essay, but mostly I skated by with B’s and A-minuses.

I know personally how boring writing an essay can be, and also, how hard it can be to write a good one.

Writing an essay? Don’t pull your hair out. Here are 10 tips to write a great essay. Photo by Stuart Pilbrow (Creative Commons)

However, toward the end of my time as a student, I made a breakthrough. I figured out how to not only write a great essay, I learned how to have fun while doing it.

That’s right. Fun.

Why Writing an Essay Is So Hard?

Here are a few reasons:

  • You’d rather be scrolling through Facebook.
  • You’re trying to write something your teacher or professor will like.
  • You’re trying to get an A instead of writing something that’s actually good.
  • You want to do the least amount of work possible.

The biggest reason writing an essay is so hard is because we mostly focus on those external rewards like getting a passing grade or our teacher’s approval. The problem is that when you focus on external approval it not only makes writing much less fun, it also makes it significantly harder.

Why?

Because when you focus on external approval, you shut down your subconscious, and the subconscious is the source of your creativity. What this means practically is that when you’re trying to write that perfect, A-plus-worthy sentence, you’re turning off most of your best resources.

Just stop. Stop trying to write a good essay (or even a “good-enough” essay). Instead, write an interesting essay, write an essay you think is fascinating. And when you’re finished, go back and edit it until it’s “good” according to your teacher’s standards.

Yes, you need to follow the guidelines in your assignment. If your teacher tells you to write a five-paragraph essay, then write a five-paragraph essay! However, within those guidelines, find room to express something that is uniquely you.

I can’t guarantee you’ll get a higher grade (although, you almost certainly will), but I can absolutely promise you’ll have a lot more fun writing.

10 Tips to Writing a Great Essay

Ready to get writing? Here are my ten best tips for having fun while writing an essay that earns you the top grade!

1. Your essay is just a story.

Every story is about conflict and change, and the truth is that essays are about conflict and change, too! The difference is that in an essay, the conflict is between different ideas, the change is in the way we should perceive those ideas.

That means that the best essays are about surprise, “You probably think it’s one way, but in reality, you should think of it this other way.” See tip #3 for more on this.

2. Before you start writing, ask yourself, “How can I have the most fun writing this?”

It’s normal to feel unmotivated when writing an essay. I’m a writer, and honestly, I feel unmotivated to write all the time. But I have a super-ninja, judo-mind trick I like to use to help motivate myself.

Here’s the secret trick: One of the interesting things about your subconscious is that it will answer any question you ask yourself. So whenever you feel unmotivated to write your essay, ask yourself the following question:

How much fun can I have writing this?”

Your subconscious will immediately start thinking of strategies to make the writing process more fun. Here’s another sneaky question to ask yourself when you really don’t want to write:

How can I finish this as quickly as possible?

Give it a try!

3. As you research, ask yourself, “What surprises me about this subject?”

The temptation, when you’re writing an essay, is to write what you think your teacher or professor wants to read. Don’t do this. Instead, ask yourself, “What do I find interesting about this subject? What surprises me?”

If you can’t think of anything that surprises you, anything you find interesting, then you’re not searching well enough, because history, science, and literature are all brimmingover with surprises. When you look at how great ideas actually happen, the story is always, “We used to think the world was this way. We found out we were completely wrong, and that the world is actually quite different from what we thought.”

As you research your essay topic, search for this story of surprise, and don’t start writing until you can find it.

(By the way, what sources should you use for research? Check out tip #10 below.)

4. Overwhelmed? Just write five original sentences.

The standard three-point essay is really made up of just five original sentences, surrounded by supporting paragraphs that back up those five sentences. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just write five sentences. Here’s what they might look like:

  • Thesis: While most students consider writing an essay a boring task, with the right mindset, it can actually be an enjoyable experience.
  • Body #1: Most students think writing an essay is tedious because they focus on external rewards.
  • Body #2: Students should instead focus on internal fulfillment when writing an essay.
  • Body #3: Not only will focusing on internal fulfillment allow students to have more fun, they will write better essays.
  • Conclusion: Writing an essay doesn’t have to be simply a way to earn a good grade. Instead, it can be a means of finding fulfillment.

After you write your five sentences, it’s easy to fill in the paragraphs they will find themselves in.

Now, you give it a shot!

5. Be “source heavy.”

In college, I discovered a trick that helped me go from a B-average student to an A-student, but before I explain how it works, let me warn you. This technique is powerful, but it might not work for all teachers or professors. Use with caution.

As I was writing a paper for a literature class, I realized that the articles and books I was reading said what I was trying to say much better than I ever could. So what did I do? I just quoted them liberally throughout my paper. When I wasn’t quoting, I re-phrased what they said in my own words, giving proper credit, of course. I found that not only did this formula create a well-written essay, it took about half the time to write.

When I used this technique, my professors sometimes mentioned that my papers were very “source” heavy. However, at the same time, they always gave me A’s. Like the five sentence trick, this technique makes the writing process simpler. Instead of putting the main focus on writing well, it instead forces you to research well, which some students find easier.

6. Write the body first, the introduction second, and the conclusion last.

Introductions are often the hardest part to write because you’re trying to summarize your entire essay before you’ve even written it yet. Instead, try writing your introduction last, giving yourself the body of the paper to figure out the main point of your essay.

7. Most essays answer the question, “What?” Good essays answer the “Why?” The best essays answer the “How?”

If you get stuck trying to make your argument, or you’re struggling to reach the required word count, try focusing on the question, “How?” For example:

  • How did J.D. Salinger convey the theme of inauthenticity in The Catcher In the Rye?
  • How did Napoleon restore stability in France after the French Revolution?
  • How does the research prove girls really do rule and boys really do drool?

If you focus on how, you’ll always have enough to write about.

8. Don’t be afraid to jump around.

Essay writing can be a dance. You don’t have to stay in one place and write from beginning to end. Give yourself the freedom to write as if you’re circling around your topic rather than making a single, straightforward argument. Then, when you edit, you can make sure everything lines up correctly.

9. Here are some words and phrases you don’t want to use.

  • You (You’ll notice I use a lot of you’s, which is great for a blog post. However, in an essay, it’s better to omit the second-person.)
  • Clichés
  • Some
  • That
  • Things
  • To Be verbs

Don’t have time to edit? Here’s a lightning-quick editing technique.

A note about “I”: Some teachers say you shouldn’t use “I” statements in your writing, but the truth is that professional, academic papers often use phrases like “I believe” and “in my opinion,” especially in their introductions.

10. It’s okay to use Wikipedia, if…

Wikipedia isn’t just one of the top 5 websites in the world, it can be a great tool for research. However, most teachers and professors don’t consider Wikipedia a valid source for use in essays. However, here are two ways you can use Wikipedia in your essay writing:

  • Background research. If you don’t know enough about your topic, Wikipedia can be a great resource to quickly learn everything you need to know to get started.
  • Find sources. Check the reference section of Wikipedia’s articles on your topic. While you may not be able to cite Wikipedia itself, you can often find those original sources and site them.

In Conclusion…

The thing I regret  most about high school and college is that I treated it like something I had to do rather than something I wanted to do.

The truth is, education is an opportunity many people in the world don’t have access to. It’s a gift, not just something that makes your life more difficult. I don’t want you to make the mistake of just “getting by” through school, waiting desperately for summer breaks and, eventually, graduation.

How would your life be better if you actively enjoyed writing an essay? What would school look like if you wanted to suck it dry of all the gifts it has to give you?

All I’m saying is, don’t miss out!

More Resources:

How about you? Do you have any tips for writing an essay?

PRACTICE

Use tip #4 and write five original sentences that could be turned into an essay.

When you’re finished, share your five sentences in the comments section.

And remember, have fun!

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