The best writers revise. And they revise again. Then they revise yet again. So, given that professional writers revise, it would be wise for beginning and intermediate writers to revise, too. One Professor, when asked how students could improve their writing, said these three words: "Revise, revise, revise." It's such a common mantra for writers and artists that a recent online search came up with over 16,000 hits for the phrase!
Revision means, literally, to see again. There are several stages to revision.
The first thing to consider is the goal of revision: Writing to communicate.
In order to communicate well, here are some guidelines to consider while you revise:
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Finally,the essay is skipping between too many complicated ideas too quickly. Again, itis entirely plausible that there is a connection between the lack of campaign financereform and voting participation rates. If the agendas of the Republicans andDemocrats are in fact influenced by wealthy interest groups first and foremost,then the large numbers of Americans who are not represented by those interestgroups will not see the issues that matter to them discussed and dealt with bythe two parties. Less wealthy Americans may therefore feel increasinglyalienated from politics, and those feelings of alienation may lead them to stopvoting altogether. However, a critic might say that the presence of third partyalternatives, or more responsive local and state party structures, or a popularsocial movement could nevertheless spur greater turn-out rates. The essay needsto engage with political theory texts, build each argument one at a time, givefull and careful treatment to each claim, construct the argument using clearlydefined academic terms, anticipate the objections of a critic, supportimportant factual claims with academic sources, and then clearly indicate howthe essay is moving logically on to the next point.
Thetone of the passage is far too casual, journalistic and cliché-ridden. Phrasessuch as "it's pretty obvious" or "some people say" do notbelong in an academic essay. "Its" ought to be spelled"it's." Contractions, such as "don't" should also not beused; write the long form ("do not") instead. The term, "thesystem," is a popular cliché that is far too vague. Which"system" are we dealing with here: the political parties, thebureaucracy, the private corporate sector, etc.? "Campaign financereform" is not defined. "Rich white men" is not an academicphrase. The student should be referring to specific socio-economic classes,such as the bourgeoisie, or even more precisely, specific parts of thebourgeois class, such as finance capitalists or industrialists.
5. Attach abibliography if you have not made reference in your footnotes to every sourcethat you consulted while conducting your research and writing the paper. Ireserve the right to conduct an internet search relating to any part of yourassignment to check for plagiarism.
Essays are one of the several forms of creative writing. It is the most popular owing to the fact that they are taught in school before the others. As such they form the basis of creative writing in general. If you are an avid writer, put down your pen, scroll down and read!
2. Make acompelling argument. Your goal is to present an accurate treatment of thebasic interpretive facts, but then to conduct a dialogue with the text and togive your opinion on the theoretical problem at hand. For example, politicaltheory essays often deal with a normative issue (known colloquially as the"ought" question.) Martin Luther King Jr. thought that theachievement of genuine racial equality would require both the elimination ofdiscrimination against African-Americans and the redistribution of income fromthe wealthy to the poor. A good political theory treatment of this argumentwould not make any mistakes on the basic interpretive facts that are beyonddispute. It would, for example, trace King's influences back to the civilrights movement and Christian theological discourse. But it would also moveinto the realm of the "should" statement as well. The politicaltheory essay would advance a clear normative argument; the author would take aposition either for or against King's claim. Now an economist might respond toKing argument by seeking to find an absolutely precise measurement of thedistribution of wealth in the United States and the developed world during the1960s. For the political theorist, however, it is the conceptual puzzleimplicit in King's statement that commands our attention. According to King,how is the distribution of income related to racial inequality? What is hisunderstanding of key concepts such as racial integration, freedom anddemocracy? Why did he believe that the passage of civil rights legislation inthe mid-1960s had not brought racism to an end? In your opinion, is King'sargument persuasive? Note that the reader cannot, in all fairness, expect thepolitical theory essay to present a "correct" answer. The politicaltheory essay attempts to persuade the reader by advancing a compelling argumentthat is well supported by detailed and insightful interpretive work.
4. Engage withthe themes of the course and the texts that we are studying. A good paperstrikes the reader as a work that could not have been written unless thestudent author had attended the course lectures/seminars, taken part in classdiscussions, and engaged with the assigned reading. Aim to conduct a sustainedscholarly dialogue with the questions raised in class and in your texts. Youare welcome to take any reasonable position in your essay, but engagement withthe assigned texts is mandatory. Think of it this way: you can choose, withinreasonable limits, the position "from" which you will speak in youressay, but you must speak "to" the assigned reading.
7. Leaveyourself enough time to write a full outline and multiple drafts. Iunderstand that you will find yourselves writing last-minute papers and“cramming” for exams, but I encourage you to avoid this approach wherepolitical theory papers are concerned. The best theoretical papers take a greatdeal of reflection and critical revision. Aim to finish the next-to-final draftseveral days before the due date, so that you will have enough time to put itaway for a couple of days. Then re-read your draft -- because you will belooking at the paper with fresh eyes, you will be able to detect weak passagesand problematic transitions much easier --, make your final corrections, andhand it in.
1. Put youranalytical voice at the forefront throughout the essay. Emphasize yourinformed argument. The political theory essay is never just a research reportthat collects a number of quotations and strings them together; we want to seeevidence that you have done the appropriate reading that you are thinking independently and creatively about thetext.