An exemplification essay involves a more detailed application of the techniques used in an argumentative essay. Here, you are arguing a specific point of view, but doing so with highly precise examples. Indeed, the examples are the key element of the work.
Exemplification literally means to render an example; you are showing, demonstrating, as opposed merely to telling. You are using specific examples to prove a particular thesis statement. Thus each example used is in effect a defence of that thesis.
Picking the Right Topic is Half the Battle
If you want to score top marks then you need to select a topic that will sustain a highly detailed investigation. In particular, an issue with two clear sides is a must. The more contentious a particular issue is, than the more scope there is for complex and subtle debate. You might want to think about polarising subjects (such as the morality of abortion, the criminal status of drugs, universal healthcare, and so forth). Usually such divisive topics make for great subject matter in an exemplification essay.
Remember, this is an illustrative composition that requires hard evidence, facts and figures. This means you need to choose a subject in which there is ample available evidence which may be brought to bear.
Get Your Ideas on Paper
A good starting point when planning your exemplification essay is to get all your ideas out on paper, by taking notes, brainstorming and rough drafting. Often times translating once thought to writing makes them easier to organise. Further, these perfunctory efforts will provide you with a basic framework for your final write-up.
As with the majority of academic compositions, the exhibit occasion essay follows a fairly conventional structure with an introduction, main argument body, and a conclusion.
Generally speaking it is sensible to present the most important and influential examples early on, progressing then to the subsidiary examples whose role is to lend weight to the former. This structuring method is known as the inductive approach, whereby one starts with the broader information before refining their focus and honing in on the precise details.
The introduction will present a summary outline of the overall essay content as well as offering a thesis statement which clarifies the objective of the paper. In addition, this is where you want to hook the reader’s attention. You can do this by bringing interesting or unusual information to the fore or perhaps by means of an arresting passage. A thought-provoking quote is also an advisable departure point.
For example, when writing a philosophical essay on the nature of justice (specifically, the legalisation of drugs), one might open with Socrates’s famous query: “Do the gods love something because it is good, or is that thing good because the gods love it?”
This frames the overall debate by introducing key themes, such as moral relativity and the fundamental paradox which underwrites any notion of justice as an objective entity. Having opened this debate with a tantalising reference to ancient philosophy, we can then explore the core issue by means of example.
The argument body is by far the most important part of the work. This is where you present the examples which the essay depends upon. Each of the examples that you give should have its own dedicated paragraph. Be sure that every example works to further support the thesis statement, advancing the case in a logical fashion. Be careful not to simply reiterate the same point over again without adding some new insight or observation to the debate.
Think of your thesis statement as the lodestar, always in view, to which your essay is gradually working its way. Every example used needs to consolidate the position expressed in the introduction and lead naturally to the justification offered in the conclusion.
So, what kind of examples might we use?
Many different kinds of evidence and information can be used for exemplification. This can include hard facts and figures, statistical data, reports, graphs and so on. On the other hand, one may select anecdotal evidence, whereby a personal account is taken into consideration. The types of examples available are numerous.
Your conclusion needs to restate the thesis, clarifying how your chosen examples have helped to support this position. This will usually include a consideration of what implications your examples have for the greater debate. Your exemplification essay should, after all, have expanded the reader’s perception of the issue, helping them to see the bigger picture surrounding the topic.
This is not the time to introduce any new examples information. Rather, this is the time to solidify the evidence, arguments, details and points presented in the argument body. You need to offer the reader closure, a sense of completeness surrounding the overall endeavour.
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