Studying in colleges and universities implies completion of seemingly endless writing assignments: admission essays and motivation statements, short essays, term papers, and thesis writing. All of these assignments are obligatory for collecting credits and getting a diploma. Besides the common feature – the very need to have these tasks done – there are many peculiarities to keep in mind, e.g. structure, goal, word count, formatting, research depth, and so on. To help you understand one of the assignment types better, we prepared this thematic essay overview. After skimming through it, you will get to know what type of writing it is, how to prepare for writing it, and how to carry it out effectively .
What is a Thematic Essay?
The first thing we want to let you know or refresh in your mind is a thematic essay notion. It is a type of essay that prescribes the writer to reveal a certain topic with different literary techniques. The latter are needed to help the writer distinguish the main theme from the general subject and lay out meaningful facts and arguments to support their position.
A thematic essay is likely to be given in your Social Sciences classes. That’s why this task is challenging: as a writer, you have to not only know what is a thematic essay in theory but also be able to identify the core problem of your essay topic and collect proper arguments to support it. Students often admit that choosing the right topic is hard for them since they never know whether their audience would agree on the importance of the topic they choose. All of us are different, and if you consider some essay topic as significant and worth the research, it does not mean that your teacher thinks the same. Still, it is possible to produce a top-quality piece to satisfy your readers. In the next sections of this overview, you will find out how to write a thematic essay on your own without titanic effort .
How to Find and Explore the Central Theme?
To indicate a meaningful thematic essay topic, we suggest you answer a few questions:
Does my audience need this topic to be discussed?
First of all, you have to understand whether your readers are interested in your essay topic. Think about people who will read your piece, as well as their educational and professional background. This information will give you an understanding of how much they already know about the matter. Then, think about their reaction to the issue you want to present. Will they be intrigued, irritated, or indifferent once they read your thematic essay title? If you guess what your readers are likely to think about your topic and whether they want to read about it, you will have a clue on how to present it best.
Did the issue make a difference on history or the related field of study?
As we already pointed out, students often get thematic essays on Social Sciences classes (History, Political Science, Sociology, etc.). Hence , we propose you to think about the importance of your topic in terms of the subject to evaluate its importance. For example, if you are preparing for a History thematic essay, remember the events that were influenced by the event you are going to discuss in your writing. Was it a breakthrough or a turning point at that time? Could the world be different if the chosen event did not happen? If your answer to these questions is positive, go on developing this topic.
Are there any important prerequisites or outcomes?
The things that happened before and after the event or concept you want to research are also important. To identify them, dive deeply into the subject and find the cause and effect links before you start writing. Draw timetables, diagrams, or schemes to get things clear in your mind. Once you are sure about the connections between your essay topic and other notions, concepts, and events in the related field of study, you can start working on your thematic essay.
How has the topic been developed and researched until now?
You cannot study any issue thoroughly without getting familiar with its major researchers. Hence, take your time to find out who these people were, what approaches to the problem they used, and what were the results of their work. Outline their names, key findings, and conclusions on a separate paper sheet. Once you start writing your thematic essay body, you will need this information.
Can I add anything new to the topic development?
Now it’s time to proceed to the questions that relate to you personally. Firstly, you need to answer the question in this section honestly. Do you have any interesting facts and figures to add to your thematic essay? Have you found out something that was overlooked by previous writers? Can you propose an unusual approach to the topic and any unique conclusions? If you have done certain experiments or surveys to support your writing already, do not hesitate to include your findings .
Will this topic help me reveal my reasoning and research skills?
Finally, the topic you choose for your thematic essay should help you demonstrate your critical thinking skills. Do not make your topic too complicated to avoid being trapped by its complexity. Instead, make it sound simple and do not forget about strong argument formulation to support it later.
As for the essay organization , we’d like to remind you of the structure that will never make your teacher lower your grade: any thematic essay consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. The first part implies the creation of engaging opening lines that tell the readers why your topic is important and introduce your thesis statement. All the necessary arguments to support your position should be laid out in the essay body. The conclusion is the closing part where you need to wrap up all your findings and restate your thesis in other words. This structure is classic for essay writing and you will not fail your assignment if you follow it.
Thematic Essay Outline
Now we are taking one more step forward to the writing process by moving on to a thematic essay outline. There are a few stages of essay preparation that you have to go through to complete a high-quality piece. They are as follows:
- Brainstorming the topic. Before you start taking any notes on your future thematic essay, we suggest brainstorming the topic. If you have to choose and formulate it on your own, look through the questions in the previous section and answer them. If your professor has already assigned you to a particular essay topic, you can start brainstorming it right now. To do that effectively, take the blank paper sheet, write down your topic and all thoughts, words, and quotations that come to your mind immediately. At this point, you do not need to analyze them or try to put them in order. You just need to collect as many associations with your subject as possible. All of them will be useful for the next stages of outlining your thematic essay;
- Formulating a thesis statement. If you look up a thematic essay example on the web, you will notice that any of them has a thesis statement. It is a necessary part of any successful essay, so do not omit it in your introduction. To draft a perfect thesis, you need to figure out the problem that lies in the core of your essay topic. Also, you have to express a certain position regarding the issue in your thesis statement to be able to support it later in the essay body. If you cannot invent it at once, do not worry: take your time to draft and polish it so that your teacher could grade your reasoning skills high;
- Researching the theme. When you know what your topic and thesis statement are , you can start gathering the information to base your arguments on. Be sure to use the necessary amount of sources if you have them in your instructions. If there is no obligation regarding the kind and quantity of sources, remember to refer to different studies and credible articles and list them all. It will help you to get your thoughts in order and formulate strong arguments throughout your thematic essay;
- Collecting references and taking notes. As you are reading each source of information, take notes in a separate sheet or workbook. Write down the page numbers, names, and quotations if needed. This approach will save a lot of your time as you keep writing . If you overlook this step now, you will have to reread all your references while writing, which is neither convenient nor effective;
- Outlining the main ideas of each essay part. Now, think about how your introduction, body, and conclusion will look like. Then, write down a few sentences for each thematic essay part. At this stage, no figures or quotations are necessary, only central thoughts that you will reveal and support throughout the essay;
- Adding details to the arguments in the essay body. This step is optional if you completed two previous stages of essay preparation. Still, if you want to make body paragraphs writing easier, you can write out every argument and a few lines to support it.
Congratulations, your extended thematic essay outline is completed! It’s time to praise yourself for the preparation you’ve done and have a rest. Go for a walk, have a snack or take a nap if you want, and then, get back to writing. With such a comprehensive outline, it will not be a tough task for you.
Thematic Essay Examples
If you are still in doubt about whether you can produce a quality thematic essay or just need some inspiration, we advise you to refer to essay examples. Reading what other students wrote and how they approached similar assignments can give you insights for your own thematic essay writing. Click the links below to see the sample pieces:
Thematic essay topics
To help you with drafting your essay topic, we prepared the lists of the most interesting ones in three subject areas. We do not advise you to use them for your writing as they are, but you can use any of them as a base to write your own thematic essay. Take a look at these sample topics to get a general idea:
US History Thematic Essay
- American Civil War of 1861-1865.
- The US role in World War I.
- The US role in World War II.
- The 11th Sep. 2001: Why is it a tragedy for the nation?
- Racism in the USA in the 20th century.
- What made the USA a great power?
- Abraham Lincoln’s legacy: the roots of the republican values.
- The Barack Obama Medicare: the outcomes of the reform.
- The Battle of Gettysburg: the key event in the American Civil War.
- Vietnam War: reasons for the USA to enter.
Global Regents Thematic Essay
- World War I: reasons and outcomes.
- Why does imperialism fail?
- The role of scientific progress in modern politics.
- Modern international relations.
- Arab Spring and the World Policy.
- The rise of nationalism in Europe in the 21 century.
- Human rights in the Middle East.
- The role of women in shaping the modern world.
- Do we need anti-racist laws in 21 century?
- Modern monarchies: are they still in charge of national policies?
Belief Systems Thematic Essay
- Belief and religion: what is the difference?
- The role of the Muslim community in shaping the EU policy.
- Death penalty and Christianity.
- The role of religion in the life of modern Americans.
- The development of the American philosophical thought.
- Ancient civilizations and their beliefs.
- The role of culture in state development.
- Abortion and religion: is there any chance to agree?
- The position of women in Christianity.
- The role of Buddhism in modern India.