Dale Carnegie: ‘Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.’ – Part One
Writing an essay, for some people can be a nightmare. You never know where to start and what to say. When I was at school I used to hear this phrase quite often and to be honest I never really understood it – until I came to university. I thought I would spend my next three blogs talking about the three main sections of an essay – Introduction, main body and conclusion.
The essay title I will use as an example in this blog is ‘Should we have a market for organs?’
For me, in an introduction, I like to set out what my essay is going to be about in a single paragraph. I have a structure I follow:
In the first sentence I think it is important to point out what my essay is going to argue.
‘I will argue against a legal market for organs.’
What I’ve done here is tell the reader what point of view I am taking in a clear and concise way.
Usually, in a law essay it is helpful to provide an outline of the law you will be commenting on. Resultingly, I usually put in a sentence saying I will do exactly that.
‘I will begin by outlining the current law around organ donation and the context in which the law was created.’
By doing this, it provides fluidity. It tells the reader of the order you are going to take in your essay.
Here, I like to give a summary of my arguments. There are many different ways to do this and it depends on how complicated your arguments are. In this essay, the arguments are simple to understand so the sentence can be simple.
‘I will then discuss arguments against a legal market for organs. These include autonomy, exploitation, and the problem with commercializing body parts and how this in turns contributes to exploitation.’
This allows the reader to know the structure of your essay in terms of arguments. This might seem like a simple thing to do but it removes the element of surprise. Your reader knows what you will be talking about and in their mind they will already begin thinking about the arguments you are going to make.
In law essays, you might decide to talk about a previously discussed reform. This may be reform created by law academics or the law commission but either way they are good analysis tools when deciding the direction of the law. Putting this in your introduction tells the reader which proposals you are going to talk about.
‘I will consider Erin and Harris’s proposal for a regulated market but will argue this idea is flawed as it does not provide solutions to the main disadvantages of having a market for organs.’
In the introduction you can point out whether the reform will be good for the law or bad. This has the same effect as the sentence before. It points out the direction of your essay and tells your reader what they should expect.
I hope this was helpful and tune in for the next blog on the main body of the essay! 🙂