How to Write an Editorial Essay

633 Words Mar 21st, 2007 3 Pages
At one time the term editorial indicated that the editorial=s message was indeed a message from the editor. Today the editorial in professional journals also serves other functions. Many editorials are concise critical reviews of scientific topics, particularly topics that represent recent developments. The editorial may also be used for comment on an original paper published in the same issue. The commentary may critically assess the paper for its scientific validity, may disagree with the interpretation of the data reported, may put the paper=s contribution into perspective with other very recently reported findings that could not be taken into account when the paper was written, or may speculate on implications of the paper for …show more content…
The length of an editorial, the number of paragraphs, depend on how complex a problem it considers, the amount of evidence it examines, and the number of possible answers. Some editorials may consist of only one paragraph and yet carry the main elements of argument in their natural sequence.

The opening paragraph states the first element of the argument: >The problem or Question=. Most readers will need more than a simple statement of the problem. Experts on the subject will know what new events or new knowledge led to awareness that a problem needs an answer, but most editorials are not written for a small number of experts. The question of how much background information to include in the lead-in to the statement of the problem is probably best answered as it is for the Introduction to a research paper. The editorialist should assume that readers know less than he does about the topic of the editorial but are well informed on the larger subject field within which the topic lies. The author of an editorial on the usefulness of laparotomy in staging Hodgkin=s disease should assume that the reader knows less than experts experienced with this use of laparotomy but is well informed in general on recent developments in Hodgkin=s disease and knows the meaning of >laparotomy= and of >staging=. The editorialist can then open the editorial with a brief summary of the not-entirely-satisfactory of the methods for staging or with a summary of the current controversy

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