How to write an essay on COVID-19

Published by at November 1st, 2021 , Revised On November 19, 2021

Introduction

Writing an academic essay on COVID-19 is no different than writing a general-topic academic essay. However, the only difference is that this is a topic that has to do with an ongoing pandemic. Research is continuously being conducted and existing ones being modified based on new data.

That poses a challenge to writing an essay on COVID-19 regarding what material to refer to, which study to highlight, etc. But hopefully, by the end of this guide, you will have a clearer idea about where to start, how to best approach this sort of topic and what to include (or not include) to make your COVID-19 academic essay stand from others’.

Following is a step-by-step procedure that you might want to stick to before crafting the perfect COVID-19 essay.

Steps to writing the perfect COVID-19 academic essay

Step # 1 – Decode the stated topic

The first important factor determining what kind of reading you’ll be doing for your academic essay is the topic. Observe the topic you’ve been assigned closely. Identify any verbs mentioned, and if not, what does the case generally ask you to do? Does it require you to ‘analyze,’ ‘evaluate,’ ‘list,’ ‘compare and contrast’? The action it requires you to take shall guide the type of reading and the sources for reading you should turn to.

Step # 2 – Do your background reading and research

Based on the kind of essay assigned to you (evaluate, list, analyze, etc.), you can start your reading. Now the main question you need to answer is, where to start from? For writing academic essays, you can refer to the following types of sources:

  1. Published research journals
  2. Articles
  3. Websites/blogs/forums
  4. Books
  5. Newspapers

However, since you’ll be reading for COVID-19—a current pandemic—you won’t find many published books.

Tip:
To help narrow down your search and save you time, here are some reliable sources of each kind listed above:

Step # 3 – Brainstorm

This goes for all sorts of writing, too. Now that you’ve broken down your topic and gathered background information, brainstorm. An excellent method to do so is to make thought bubbles: draw a bubble in the center of a page, with lines jutting out of it in every direction and pointing to a different element. As elements, write down all the things you’ll be addressing in your essay.

For instance, if it’s an informative essay, your brainstorming would result in something that looks like this:

Step # 4 – Craft an outline

Now that you’ve listed all the issues your essay will discuss, it’s time to organize them all—from most to least essential or significant to a minor—in a logical format. This will be your essay outline. You must stick to it to ensure maximum coherence between points as well as paragraphs.

For example, if your essay lists only the COVID-19 statistics related to older people, start by listing what ages come under this specific group. Then form an outline as such:

 

…and so on.

Step # 5 – Determine the structure

Deciding on an essay structure isn’t the same as crafting an outline. Be careful not to confuse the two. An outline is just that, an outline. But a structure is how you intend to follow that outline. So, your academic essay on COVID-19 should follow a structure based on:

  1. Topic sentence: Present your essay’s main idea, linking it to your thesis statement.
  2. Evidence: Since there’s new research on Corona being published each passing second, it’s crucial to present the most critical evidence first. It has to be associated with the topic you’ve been assigned. Next, mention the research gap (if any) between already conducted research and the one you’ll present in your essay.
  3. Add statistics: When it comes to diseases, there’s much, much crucial statistical data and figures to be listed. Make sure you present your COVID-19-related facts and figures where necessary, when necessary. They should be from reliable sources, such as WHO.
  4. Support the evidence: Why have you presented chosen evidence? Why is it important? How does it relate to your topic sentence?
  5. Conclusion: Wrap up your main thesis points. It’s important to remember not to add any new information than what’s already been mentioned in your essay.

Step # 6 – Set word boundaries

After listing down the things you will be discussing in your essay, it’s essential to note down how many words you’ll be devoting to each section, the length of paragraphs, and the like. It’s never a good thing to exceed the given essay word limit. Be brief where necessary, and explain where necessary.

Sticking to a predetermined format for an essay on COVID-19—a topic on which new and detailed research and data are continuously being released—will ensure:

  • l you don’t stray from the topic assigned to you.
  • L mention all the required information, facts and/or figures.
  • l do justice to every section of your essay.

Tip:
As a good starting point, you can follow what Oxford Essay states: “First, figure out how many points you need to identify. Each point is likely to equate to one paragraph of your paper, so if you are writing a 1500-word essay (and you use 300 words for the introduction and conclusion), you will be left with 1200 words, which means you will need between 5-6 paragraphs (and 5-6 points).”

Step # 7 – Start writing!

Now that you have all the information and blueprint for your essay on COVID-19, you can start writing it.

There are other things to keep in mind, too, before starting your academic essay on COVID-19. The most important ones are being discussed next.

Things to keep in mind before writing an academic essay on COVID-19

  1. Keep your essay academic throughout: You will be downgraded on your paper if it’s academic only initially or only when you’re quoting COVID-19 researches, stats, and figures. The tone should remain academic and, thereby, neutral throughout.
  2. Reference correctly: Since you will be referencing quite a few sources, make sure you don’t miss out on any reference. It doesn’t matter whether your essay is in APA, MLA or any other format; referring should be done as needed. Re-read your article one last time to make sure you haven’t left out any reference. This goes for both in-text and citation references.

If you include data that is bound to change, such as a lab test result that hasn’t been released yet, mention as such in your essay. You can also reference it accordingly, so the reader, when accessing that source, knows this. This is how you keep your heads up-to-date.

  1. Stick to the format consistently: Whether you’re writing the essay in APA or any other form, stick to that format’s rules in every section of the report. Citations, headings, facts, figures, tables (if any), images, etc. – everything has to follow the format consistently.
  2. Avoid personal bias: Unless it’s an essay where you’re required to voice your own opinions, avoid including any personal preference. This can be in the form of (but not limited to) mentioning how you or your family was affected by COVID-19; how you or someone you know lost their job and what led to; financial issues you’re facing COVID-19’s and so on.
  3. Follow the 7 C’s: Writing an essay on a pandemic that won’t dull down can be pretty overwhelming. Not only is it a leading cause of stress right now, but even the information that keeps pouring in can become tricky to organize in an essay.

So, suppose you want to communicate something as diverse and dynamic as COVID-19 and its ongoing effects on the world. In that case, it’s a good idea to stick to the 7 C’s of communication. They are: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete and courteous.

  1. Proofread your essay carefully: Although this goes for any writing, in the case of an essay on COVID-19, you will also have to proofread things like statistical facts, figures, whether you’ve referenced them correctly to the sources you took them from, and so on.

COVID-19 essays and college applications

Admissions officers in colleges and universities generally require you to tell them something about yourself that makes you unique. Therefore, in the statement of purpose, students include typically personal experiences.

Currently, there are mixed feelings about whether to include experiences related to COVID-19 in your college essays. One side of the debate argues it’s a good idea to have, for instance, an experience that proves your resilience in these pandemic-stricken times. That can potentially increase your chances of being selected.

Others argue that since everyone is somehow affected by COVID-19, it won’t make your statement stand out to include experiences everyone shares right now. There is no reliable source, as of yet, to claim whether it’s a good idea to write a wholly COVID-19 essay as your college essay.

However, if it turns out that it is, you’ll have this guide to help you!

Common app COVID-19 essay

With the pandemic affecting everything, universities and colleges have taken a new initiative to include a new section called COVID-19 essay in Common App.

Not just Common App, but The Coalition App has also included this prompt. Both aim to allow applying students room to share their COVID-19 experience. However, this isn’t a COVID-19 academic essay but just a space to share personal experiences related to the pandemic.

Academic essays on COVID-19 – examples

There are snippets of students’ essays on infectious disease prevention for COVID-19 you can use to get an idea about the general tone and language of such an essay topic. These snippets have been retrieved from essays that were published nationally.

You can also go through some sample COVID-19 and global economy dissertation topics.

The Health and Human Rights Journal published an academic essay on COVID-19 that can serve as the best example for you.

Conclusion

Writing an academic essay on COVID-19 can be pretty challenging, mainly since more and more data is being gathered by the minute. Putting personal problems and stress caused by the pandemic aside, an essay on COVID-19 is like any other essay, except that this topic is of a current situation.

Following a few basic steps to organize and list research gathered about the pandemic can help you craft the perfect essay. Aside from the differences mentioned above, stick to all other rules for different types of writing. Keep it relevant, reliable and free of personal bias.

Whether it’s a term project or for your college application, you can even submit your essay in international COVID-19 essay contests.

Think your piece qualifies for submission? Don’t hesitate and enter the contest! Who knows, it might even get published in a reputable journal where it can benefit thousands of readers.