How To Write An Art History Research Essay: STEP 1

The secret to good writing is the organization, following the right steps and breaking the essay down into achievable pieces. Here is a no­fail, five­step method for writing a really thorough art history essay.We are not going to be talking about basics like writing outlines and intros, we are going to cover other important things. Let’s start now.

STEP 1: Work out what is being asked of you.

This seems pretty obvious, but the truth is many students launch into their essay without really considering what EXACTLY is being asked. As a result, they end up writing about unnecessary aspects, or worse, get sidetracked and miss the point entirely. Make the whole process easier by taking the time to find out what information has been specifically requested. The following essay topic has all the information we need ­ all we have to do is pick it out.

“Using examples from the Abstract Expressionist movement to support your argument, discuss to what extent it can be said that modern art is a universal language”

First, we need to find the directive language, the “what to do”:
“Using examples from the Abstract Expressionist movement to support your argument, discuss to what extent it can be said that modern art is a universal language”
Then, we need to find the specifics, the essay topic:
“Using examples from the Abstract Expressionist movement to support your argument, discuss to what extent it can be said that modern art is a universal language”

TIP

It can be a good idea to use a thesaurus to find alternative meanings to some of the words used in the essay topic. Not only does this help clarify the question, it also can trigger ideas for your essay.

example ­ model, specimen, standard, type

support ­ advocate, agree, backing, defend,

argument ­ cause, claim, discourse, material

discuss ­ argue, debate, review, challenge

extent ­ amount, degree, intensity, scope

universal ­ broad, common, global, unlimited

language ­ communication, dialect, expression, voice

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