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Skidmore College Department of Classics

Purpose of Essays
Questions and Topics
Planning the Essay
Writing The Essay
Sample Essay


Study Skills /
Writing In Classics / Essays

An essay is an extended written response to a given problem or question, often delivered from a personal perspective. A research paper, in contrast, usually requires the development of a thesis and the presentation of evidence - both primary and secondary - for support.

Both kinds of paper call upon you, the student, to organize information via structured argument, and to communicate the argument clearly and concisely.

At all levels of the Classics major and minor, the essay is a normal method of assessing the student's thinking, organizational, and writing abilities. Developing your skills in writing essays is therefore a crucial part of your studies.

This section of Writing in Classics covers the following topics

  • Purpose of Essays - why we assign them, and why you should care.
  • Understanding Questions and Topics - ways of approaching the questions and problems that frame essays.
  • Planning the Essay - how to approach your essay, whether on an exam or as an outside assignment.
  • Writing the Essay - strategies for composing your essay.
  • Sample Essay - how an essay is constructed, from outline to final draft.

A final note. Several issues of interest to writing essays, including plagiarism, citations, and bibliography, are presented in the section on research papers.

ŠAugust 2000 Skidmore College Department of Classics
 Created and Maintained by Alexander Carballo '01
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