Most essays follow a simple rule – tackle a subject that could be debatable. It all starts with a bit of research before deciding on the optimal side for the writer. At this point, there are a few things that could get overlooked in the process, especially among those with no experience. So, what is a claim in an essay, and what is its primary role?
The claim is practically the initial argument. From many points of view, it could become the most significant element in the writing. The complexity of the essay relays on the claim, not to mention the overall quality standards and efficiency. In other words, an exciting claim will lead to an exciting essay. On the same note, a boring claim will lead to a boring piece of work.
The primary goal of the claim is to determine the overall goal of the essay. It will also dictate the direction and purpose. Pretty much everything in the essay – from the evidence and quotes to the arguments and facts – is directed towards the initial claim. As a general conclusion, the claim must be straightforward and specific.
Different types of claims
There are more types of claims out there. The fact claim argues whether a specific fact is true or false. In other words, you must pick something that could be debatable. You should avoid things that have long been considered facts – unless you come up with some sound discoveries.
On the other hand, the definition claim works on how something, in particular, is described or defined. Simply put, you could argue something is different, yet some people may disagree with you. There is lots of interpretation here.
The claim of cause and effect analyzes how one thing can cause another thing. This is another debatable element. Pollution can cause cancer. There is nothing to debate there. Big money in politics could reduce efficiency. This is debatable.
The value claim works on whether things are good or bad. You might be tempted to introduce your own opinions here – definitely a bad idea. You cannot claim that one specific sport is the best in the world. On the other hand, you can claim that coronavirus will be the greatest medical crisis of your life.
Finally, the solution claim is similar, but it takes things a little further. While a value claim defines how good or bad something could be, the solution alternative comes with the best possible solution to fix an issue.
How to come up with a good claim
So, what is a claim in an essay? The claim defines the essay – no doubts about it. But how do you come up with a good claim then?
Ideally, you must keep it simple and straightforward. Your thesis is meant to be narrow – the claim is even lower than that. Do not come up with a general thing with a broad array of interpretations. Instead, try to be as specific as possible. If your claim takes too much space, you can also break it down in a few smaller claims.
As tempting as it might seem – even in an involuntary way, stay away from personal opinions. Many claims are simply not academic. They have nothing to do with the purpose of the essay and they can be contested straight away. You cannot mention that a particular fast-food chain is the best in the world – it is nothing but a personal opinion.
Finally, always support your claims or they become irrelevant. A claim with no backup or support is completely useless. It is just a random saying. It may look good, but it will never work as well as you want it to.
As a short final conclusion, what is a claim in an essay? The claim defines the goal and purpose of your essay. Fail to come up with a good claim and your whole essay will fail, even if it actually points out some interesting things. The claim is what intrigues people and hooks them in. A boring claim will cause your readers to lose interest before they even go through the essay, so give it a bit of thinking.