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Identifying the key idea of your academic coursework

Finding the key idea of your academic coursework is very important. The key idea or the main idea is the basis of what you will be writing about. Identifying this key idea is therefore the key, if you'll pardon the pun, to getting your coursework to the highest standard possible. Perhaps a good move would be to understand what the key idea is not.

The key idea is not the information on any title page. It may not even be the topic of your academic course work although it could be related to same. The key idea is certainly not a point you may make throughout your essay.

The key idea is often described in the introduction to an essay. It is often regarded as the thesis statement produced in your coursework. Here you summarize the theme, the main thrust of your essay. And this summary of your theme should be as short and as simple as possible. If you can’t clearly identify the key idea, how can you expect anyone reading your work to do the same? Make the key idea as obvious as the nose on your face. It should stand out and be noticed.

Sadly, however, many students make the mistake of wandering from the path. The key idea must always be uppermost in your mind. Everything you produce in your coursework revolves around this key idea.

Answer the question

So many students make the mistake of failing to identify the key idea. They may write well even very well but unless they are answering the question, unless what they produce is directly related to the key idea, they will lose marks. One excellent tip is to write in a single sentence the key idea in your academic coursework. Some students will place this single sentence on a card on their work desk. They constantly look at this single sentence, the key idea. Everything they produce is wrapped around the key idea.

The key idea once identified will lead you to supporting evidence. All the research you undertake, all the notes you take and all the planning and drafting of an outline you make, will relate directly to your identification of the key idea. You must find relevant evidence to support whatever argument you are making and this evidence will only substantiate your argument if it relates directly to the key idea.