Researching authors and connecting their work to their lives is an important process of basic composition. Learning how to do so can open new worlds of literature and transform your views on a particular author or work. The research essay is a demanding form requiring thoroughly examined references and resources to be taken seriously. While overwhelming to some, taking the essay step by step helps create a unified and substantial body of work.
Research your subject using credible sources, such as Britannica and online domain names ending in .edu, .org or .gov. Delve into the author’s background uncovering facts about his life and work.
Determine which of the author’s poems to discuss that is relevant to the essay. Find a connection between the life of the poet and his poetry.
Formulate a thesis based on the conclusion to the above step.
Write a basic outline identifying the key concepts and ideas to discuss within the introduction, body and conclusion.
Pen a first draft of the introduction, making sure to fit your thesis somewhere in there. Avoid wordy phrases and stick to active verbs.
Create a rough draft of the body paragraphs, discussing the poet’s life and how it connects to his poetry. Use quotes from specific poems to add credibility to your claims.
Form a conclusion that unifies the thesis and evidence provided in the body paragraphs. You may end the essay with a fact or quote that sums up the theme of the work.
Edit the essay for mistakes and do any last-minute changes.
Type the final draft using a word processor in the required format. Run a last-minute spell check to ensure the essay is grammatically correct. Reread the essay until you are sure it is free of errors and it is the best work you can do.
Create a citation page referencing all sources used in the essay. MLA citations are formatted by the author’s last and first name, full title of the work, publisher, date and type of source (print, online, etc.). See Resources for more information on citation.