Thursday, 21 November 2013

Globalization & Essay Structure (Task 2 Writing)

As we have learned, all English essays have certain important elements. The basic structure of an IELTS Task 2 essay should be as follows:

Paragraph 1: Introduction with Main Idea
Paragraph 2: General idea to support Main Idea with examples and details
Paragraph 3: Second general idea to support Main Idea with examples and details
Paragraph 4: Possible third general idea to support Main Idea with examples and details
Paragraph 5: Conclusion – be sure to restate the Main Idea!

If you follow this structure, it will help you to achieve a high score in Coherence and Cohesion, since it provides your ideas in a well organised way. However, today we are going to learn that there is more than one way to organise an essay, especially when that essay is asking you to compare two different ideas and give your opinion. Many IELTS questions have a structure that looks like this:

Many people believe that A is correct because it is beneficial for society. On the other hand, some people support B. Please give your opinion on this issue and give evidence to support that opinion.

So, the essay is asking us to compare A and B and give our opinion about which one is better. There are two basic ways to organise this essay (while maintaining the basic structure that we need.)

Ø The first way is called the Thesis-Led approach. To write a thesis-led essay, I always state my opinion very firmly at the beginning of the essay, and make sure that all my statements support this opinion. This very basic example will give you an idea of how your essay should look with a thesis-led approach.

Paragraph 1: Undoubtedly, A has more advantages than B.
Paragraph 2: A is beneficial for children whereas B is not.
Paragraph 3: A is enjoyable for adults while B is not.
Paragraph 4: Implementing A is far less expensive than implementing B.
Paragraph 5: In conclusion, it is clear that A is superior to B.

You can see that each paragraph of the essay mentions both A and B. If I am using a thesis-led approach, I should not separate the sides of the topic, but compare each one with the general ideas that I have chosen to separate my paragraphs. Thesis-led essays are often very strong and persuasive.

Ø The second way to organise an essay is called the Argument-Led approach. While I should still give my opinion on the topic, I can also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each argument before finally stating my opinion strongly. An argument-led essay should be structured as such:

Paragraph 1: While both A and B have merits, this essay will discuss the reasons why A is ultimately preferable to B.
Paragraph 2: B has some benefits. On the other hand, B has many drawbacks.
Paragraph 3: Although A has some negative aspects, A has more advantages than B.
Paragraph 4: In conclusion, it is clear that A is superior to B.

Ø Look at the following Task 2 topic which we have previously discussed:

While globalization has made it possible for us to buy a wide variety of international products, many people believe that it’s preferable to buy local products, rather than those from international companies, in order to support the local economy. Please discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this issue, and present your own opinion.

Ø Now look at the two essays on the following pages. Which one is using the thesis-led approach? Which one is using the argument-led approach?

Undoubtedly, the development of globalization in the past few decades has led to a massive increase in the number and variety of products that are available to buy. All the same, there has been some debate about whether it is better to buy products from large multinational corporations or to purchase from local producers. While it may sometimes be convenient or preferable to buy goods from overseas, I would argue that it remains beneficial to buy the majority of our goods from local producers.
Admittedly, the quality and variety of internationally produced items cannot be disputed.  We can buy imported clothing in any style or any colour at a reasonable price. We can have a taste of international culture through products such as Swedish furniture, German cars, and Indian textiles. Overseas companies like the Apple Corporation produce the most up-to-date technology and gadgets which simply can’t be recreated locally. International products can sometimes be cheaper and more easily accessible than ones produced at home.
Even so, it would be unwise to ignore the true cost of buying from abroad. Whenever we send our dollars to another country, we are sending jobs there, too. Eating fast food from McDonald’s harms the business of local restaurant owners and takes jobs and money away from the local economy. If international companies put local merchants out of business, this will ultimately lead to less variety and control over what we consume. Furthermore, buying products that have been transported long distances has a highly negative effect on the environment.
Thus, although it is tempting to purchase predominantly from large multinational companies, I believe it is in the best interest of the community for people to buy locally whenever possible. Even if it costs a few dollars more to buy something from a local producer, the benefits to society will certainly repay the difference.         

For several decades, there has been a heated debate about the advantages and disadvantages of globalization. More specifically, consumers must decide whether they will purchase a majority of their goods from global corporations or from local producers. It is my opinion that people should buy from local companies in order to support the local economy, maintain national solidarity, and protect the environment.
Buying from international producers harms small independent regions in several ways. Firstly, it takes money out of the local economy and sends it overseas, often to large companies in wealthy countries. This can also increase the unemployment rate in the region, as local shops and producers are forced out of business by international competitors. As these local shops close, consumers are then forced to buy from the overseas producer, giving them fewer choices and less control over their daily lives. Because they are not mass-produced, local goods may be more expensive but are often of higher quality. Additionally, since local producers are small, they often provide superior service and care to the customer.
Another reason to buy products that are made close to home is that this does significantly less damage to the environment. Local products are made from nearby materials, and so manufacturers have a vested interest in taking care of, and not exploiting, the resources they use. Furthermore, regional goods do not travel long distances before they are sold, which means less petrol and far less pollution are involved with their production.
In sum, while there may be some products that simply cannot be purchased from the local area, consumers should make an effort to buy locally-produced items whenever possible. This ensures the security of the local economy and the protection of the global environment for many years to come.

Now you try! Look at the IELTS Task 2 Topics in the boxes below. Choose one which is interesting to you and try to make 2 different essay plans, one using the thesis-led approach, and one using the argument-led approach.

Although developing countries receive a great deal of financial aid from elsewhere in the world, they continue to have issues with poverty. Do you think that developed countries should give more help or a different kind of help? Or do you think that developing countries must find their own solutions to poverty?

Some have argued that the term globalization should actually be called “Americanization” because it largely consists of United States culture and products being dominant all over the world. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Differences between countries are becoming less and less evident with each passing year. Nowadays, everyone in the world has the same fashions, eating habits, and media. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Do you think the changes associated with globalization are largely positive or largely negative?

Thesis-Led Plan
1.      I firmly believe that  ___________________________________________________
2.     ___________________________________________________
3.     ___________________________________________________
4.     ___________________________________________________
5.     In conclusion, ___________________________________________________

Argument-Led Plan
1.      While ___________________________________________________ has many positive aspects, ___________________________________________________ is preferable.
2.     ___________________________________________________
3.     ___________________________________________________

4.     In conclusion, ___________________________________________________


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