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International Studies is very unique and demanding field, mostly because of the whole spectrum of topics included in it such as history, sociology, political science, economics, anthropology etc. As an international relation student, you are supposed to be familiar with everything from political theories and human rights to military interventions and current affairs. Its interdisciplinary focus means there is a wide set of guidelines for writing in this field as well. This article's purpose is to help you with it because, in order to develop the skills needed for success in this area, learning to write essays is essential. So let's begin!
First of all, you have to remember that essay itself is only the tip of the iceberg. It's only an outcome of extensive preparation. Don't rely on recommended reading list only, but broader your horizons as much as you can. You have to keep up with the most recent developments in world affairs but also, to have solid base in political theory.
Further, make sure that everything that you include in your essay is relevant to your topic and is answering the main question of it. That's maybe the most important rule. No matter how good you may write, your essay is not good as long as you don't hold to answering the question. And even if you are not quite sure what position you're want to go with, better choose one approach and try to understand that perspective than to avoid answer on the whole. That essay is not your opportunity to show everything you know about certain topic but to choose the aspects relevant to it's main purpose.
Structuring an essay is crucial as well. Try to avoid generalizations of any kind, irrelevant or trivial information and long narratives. The purpose of introduction is to provide general information about the article itself and to aim our attention.
The main body of essay should be based on arguments in order to prove your thesis. It's not enough to give opinion, you have to provide reasons for it and base it on evidence as much as you can. In that part, you should use analytic, examples, statistics...to confirm your point. Divide the main part on paragraphs and in each of them, try to analyze one aspect of the question. And put yourself in position of critical reader and consider possible objections in order to improve your work.
In conclusion you should put all your points together, express your main thesis that you've been proving in the paragraphs before. Try to keep it short, simple but strong, without adding any more evidences at that point.
And also, during the whole essay, don't simple summarize reading but adjust them to your work, don't force arguments too much but better let them naturally flow and try to keep structure as clean and simple as possible. Good luck and don't forget, no matter how challenging essay writing may look at the beginning, acquiring those skills will be more than rewarding in the rest of your international relations career.