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English EE: Need advice on structure/content

First of all, hello! I've been lurking on this site for years but have finally decided to create an account.... Anyway, I've just started on my EE and my title/topic has been approved. I tried writing a 1K word draft for my supervisor to check so I'll know if I'm on the right track, and they told me that it'd be better if I rewrote the entire thing due to various reasons, two of which were:

1) EE is, of course, a research paper first and foremost. My supervisor said that the draft sounded too much like a book review.

2) Basic vocab and grammar (I'll work on this).

In any case, the most trouble I'm having is with the way I'm writing the essay. My topic is on how experiencing different religious beliefs (and, in turn, the different characters in the book) helps shape the main character's character development. Of course quotes + basic analysis are necessary, especially about how each religion affects the character, but other than that I'm confused on what to write about......any advice on how I should proceed with the "research" part of the essay?

Thanks in advance! (If anyone ever replies to this.)

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Perhaps focus more on trying to develop and prove your points?

Most book reviews are meant to describe/summarize/critique, etc. the book. In a research, you can do this but I think the weight of your paper needs to lean more on exploring your own arguments/points. Analysis is essential in Lit EEs- a lot of the exemplars use their secondary sources to prove their points rather than simply reinstating what's already been said. This is different from a book review in the sense that you're not evaluating the book, but rather looking for an answer to your question.

If this answer is too vague, or something you already knew, you may have to provide more specifics as to what exactly makes your research sound more like a book review. Other than that, good luck!

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2 hours ago, potatochild said:

Perhaps focus more on trying to develop and prove your points?

Most book reviews are meant to describe/summarize/critique, etc. the book. In a research, you can do this but I think the weight of your paper needs to lean more on exploring your own arguments/points. Analysis is essential in Lit EEs- a lot of the exemplars use their secondary sources to prove their points rather than simply reinstating what's already been said. This is different from a book review in the sense that you're not evaluating the book, but rather looking for an answer to your question.

If this answer is too vague, or something you already knew, you may have to provide more specifics as to what exactly makes your research sound more like a book review. Other than that, good luck!

Thank you very much for the input. I think that's the biggest trouble I have with my writing—I rarely expound on my points. As you've pointed out, I'll try my best to find more secondary sources to support my arguments. Along the way, I guess I had also forgotten that the whole purpose of writing the essay is to answer the RQ I had come up with. Thanks again!

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I think you would find it helpful to right an essay outline too, giving your key claims, sub claims and bullet-point brief explanations of how you plan to develop your analysis. Seeing it laid out like that will help you check your essay flow and if you're answering your RQ

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I can only agree with @running_on_mochas. An essay outline is really helpful. I did my Geography extended essay over the summer, so I am by no means an expert on writing English EE's but I did get some very helpful advice for any essay-based subject from my supervisor.

She said it would be very good to structure each point you wish to make in the following way:

-Main argument: Experiencing Christianity has XYZ effect on main character.

-Evidence to back this up: (find a quote or paraphrase from the book) eg. This can be seen from the fact that author ABC (2011) states, "...."

-What impact this has on the story aka Why is this important. The character's experience of Christianity is important because this is when the character begins to develop religious tolerance.

Then to expand on this there are two possible approaches: (1) offer a direct counterargument using the same structure as above and then synthesise your two points to come to a mini-conclusion (2) consider an alternative point of view (ie. it may also be argued that Christianity has DEF effect on main character) using the same structure as above.

hope this helps!

PS: A direct counterargument that springs to my mind is the comparison of the influence of religion vs. overall personality/behaviour of other characters on the protagonist.

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1 hour ago, astonky said:

I can only agree with @running_on_mochas. An essay outline is really helpful. I did my Geography extended essay over the summer, so I am by no means an expert on writing English EE's but I did get some very helpful advice for any essay-based subject from my supervisor.

She said it would be very good to structure each point you wish to make in the following way:

-Main argument: Experiencing Christianity has XYZ effect on main character.

-Evidence to back this up: (find a quote or paraphrase from the book) eg. This can be seen from the fact that author ABC (2011) states, "...."

-What impact this has on the story aka Why is this important. The character's experience of Christianity is important because this is when the character begins to develop religious tolerance.

Then to expand on this there are two possible approaches: (1) offer a direct counterargument using the same structure as above and then synthesise your two points to come to a mini-conclusion (2) consider an alternative point of view (ie. it may also be argued that Christianity has DEF effect on main character) using the same structure as above.

hope this helps!

PS: A direct counterargument that springs to my mind is the comparison of the influence of religion vs. overall personality/behaviour of other characters on the protagonist.

That's some really sound advice you just gave me! I'm working on the structure of the outline of the essay first before writing the entire thing, so thank you for the tips. I'll take note about how I can use possible counterarguments in the body paragraph so it can lead to further discussion of my established points.

I appreciate the help!

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