Helping your reader # 1. Put your argument out there right at the beginning.
This is post #1 of a series on Helping your reader.
Help your reader find your argument – spell it out
Whatever your worthy personal motivations are for writing your essay, in reality there is only one person you are writing your essay for, and you need to keep this person in mind at all times . This person is your lecturer (or examiner) and you need to do whatever you can to guide them through your writing so they can be in no doubt that your essay is brilliant.
You need to make sure is that your lecturer knows exactly what your argument is, so spell out your argument in your introduction. It may be that you need to go back and write or rewrite your introduction at the end of your essay, but whenever you do write it, make sure it leaves your reader 100% certain about what your argument is.
Remember, reading an essay shouldn’t be a guessing game, and the bets are that if you don’t understand what your argument is, then your lecturer doesn’t either. Don’t make them trawl through your writing trying to look for an argument. Put it right out there at the start. Yes that’s risky, because they might disagree. On the other hand, even if they do disagree, as long as your argument is well supported, they’ll still know your essay is brilliant!
For more information on helping your reader see chapter 5 of Students Must Write by Robert Barrass.