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How to Write an Editorial: Useful Tips for Students

April 25, 2021

Now editorials are written not only by scientists, graduate students but also by school teachers, students, and even schoolchildren. The scientific movement is developing, and young people are attracted to research: they are happy to study complex materials, collect sources, and introduce their own original ideas. When writing a paper in an editorial style, you must adhere to a clear plan, follow the recommendations. Often there are difficulties associated with the so-called ‘pitfalls.’ It is important to know a number of nuances in order to write an editorial that will be published, in demand, and noticed by researchers and colleagues of the author. The work should be interesting, contain an original idea, observations, conclusions, have a clear structure and a good theoretical basis. Such a paper will surely arouse scientific interest and benefit the readers and the author.

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What Is An Editorial Essay and What Are the Peculiarities of Its Writing?

An editorial essay is a complete work covering a topic, idea, question containing elements of own analysis and intended for a periodic, continuing publication, or non-periodic collection. The text of an editorial is verbal scientific material didactically and methodically processed and systematized by the author.

Basic Requirements for Writing

An editorial, even if it is written for YouTube, must meet the following basic formal requirements:

  • Accuracy and reliability of the information provided;
  • Clarity of presentation of the material;
  • Availability of information;
  • Brevity;
  • Logicality and consistency;
  • Systematicity and continuity of the material presented;
  • Clarity of the structure;
  • Compliance with the language of presentation of the material with the norms of literary speech.

Main Components of an Editorial Article

An editorial has a clear structure and, as a rule, consists of the following parts: introduction, main part, conclusions, and further research prospects, list of references. Consider the features of the constituent elements of an editorial article and the basic requirements that must be observed during the process of writing: 

1. The introduction is intended to provide background information on the topic of the article, to explain for what purpose the research is undertaken. When writing an introduction, the author, first of all, must state the general topic of the research. Then, it is necessary to reveal the theoretical and practical significance of the work and describe the most authoritative and accessible publications for the reader on the topic under consideration. In the introduction, the author also identifies problems not solved in previous studies that this editorial is intended to solve. After writing the introduction, it must be analyzed according to the following key points:

  • Are the goals, object, and initial hypotheses, if any, clearly formulated;
  • Are there any contradictions;
  • Whether the relevance and novelty of the work is indicated;
  • Whether the main studies on the topic are mentioned.

2. The content of own research is the main part of an editorial paper. It covers the main provisions and results of research, personal ideas, opinions, scientific facts, identified patterns, connections, trends, experimental program, methods of obtaining and analyzing factual material, the author’s personal contribution to achieving and implementing the main conclusions, and more.

3. The conclusion contains a short formulation of the research results. In this section, the basic ideas of the main part of the work are repeated in a condensed form. Any repetitions of the material presented should be better formalized with new phrases, new formulations that differ from those expressed in the main part of an essay. It is necessary to compare the results obtained with the goal indicated at the beginning of the work.

4. A bibliographic list – a list of bibliographic descriptions of documents used by the author in the preparation of the article – is an integral part of every scientific publication. It is placed after the main text. Requirements for the bibliographic list include the following: scientific value, the novelty of the literature used; a variety of types of documents: official, normative, reference, scientific, industrial, and practical; correspondence of the list of references to the volume of an editorial. 

Five Steps to Writing Outstanding Editorial Paper

Follow the steps below, and you will surely create a quality editorial paper.

Actuality of the Topic

The topic of an editorial is its main essence, the content, expressed in the most general form, the answer to the question “What is this paper about?”. The topic can be narrow, affecting one aspect of the described phenomenon, or broad – then it should reflect several directions that reveal this topic.

The practice shows that the best topics combine several key features:

  • The topic is well-known to you, and you already have something to say about it;
  • You are interested in this topic, and you are ready to study it further, to get acquainted with how this topic is covered by other authors;
  • You know how your experience and opinion on this topic will be useful to readers.

Justification of Intent

The intent is a short initial outline of the editorial, its sketch, announcement. As practice shows, a well-thought-out intent facilitates the selection of literary sources, helps not to get lost in the material, speeds up the process of writing a paper several times, etc. In the course of substantiating the intent, you try to decide what the main idea will be to convey to the reader, what key issues it is important to highlight, what provisions you will prove, how you will start the paper, how to reveal each of the theses, what research and references will support your beliefs and so on. As a result, you should have an editorial announcement of 5-10 sentences.

Creating a Plan and Collecting Material

Before starting this work, it is necessary to create an outline for your future editorial. By laying out the materials you have found for a future essay in accordance with the plan, you will more easily cope with this most time-consuming part of the work.

Having decided on the plan for the future paper, you can start collecting and selecting the necessary material. Preparation of materials can be carried out in any sequence, in separate parts, without careful stylistic elaboration. The main thing is to collect everything you need in full for the next stages of work. 

Text Creation

After you have decided on the intent, collected the material, you can begin the main semantic work – write the text of the main part of an editorial (formulation of a problematic question, a literary review, and presentation of your experience).

Briefly write down a few points for each part of your plan. Edit your theses until they become a consistent but very short summary of your future editorial article. Then write an article, sequentially expanding each thesis, inserting prepared materials into them, and connecting them with introductory sentences.

Literary Processing

Before you start editing a draft, ‘take a break’ from the text for a while and do any other tasks. As practice shows, in this case, your perception of the text will be more adequate, and you will be able to quickly recognize errors and inaccuracies.

The study of the paper begins with an assessment of its content and structure. Read the article again and separately analyze the consistency of semantic transitions and conclusions. Re-read the conclusions again. Make sure that each of them follows from the semantic parts of the paper. Check the consistency of the arguments and their evidence. Answer the question of how the title relates to the findings. Correct the title or conclusions if necessary. Particular attention should be paid to the connection points of the parts of the editorial, for example, the end of the introduction and the beginning of the main part, the end of the main part, and the beginning of the conclusion.

Assess the language of the paper. If necessary, replace repetitions with synonyms, add analogies 

and quotations. However, remember that your task is not to create a separate piece but to share new ideas and experiences. But what should be strictly observed is the correspondence of the presentation to the scientific style.

Useful Tips for Students on Writing an Editorial 

Below we will give some more useful tips for students on writing an editorial letter:

  • The language of the article is simple, clear, concise. Do not use complex syntactic constructions; replace them with simple sentences;
  • Avoid abbreviations in text and headings. Terms and abbreviations should be commonly used and deciphered;
  • Do not use expressively colored epithets: wonderful, terrible, magnificent, flawless, etc.;
  • Avoid using foreign words;
  • Use only clear and unambiguous terms. Don’t use ambiguous words;
  • All phrases should either convey new information or move the story further. If some phrase does not fulfill this function, delete it;
  • When writing a paper, immediately use helpful computer tools: spell checker, synonyms, various settings. It is better to install them before starting to write an article so as not to do double work later;
  • Do not forget to check the text for plagiarism, and if necessary, rewrite those parts that do not pass the check, or designate the authorship of someone else’s material;
  • The work on the article ends not when there is nothing to add to the text but when nothing can be deleted from it. 

Examples of Editorial Topics

Here are some good editorial topics:

  1. The influence of the professional environment on the human psyche;
  2. The role of the family in a person’s life;
  3. Influence of production factors on human health;
  4. The problem of environmental pollution over a number of historical eras;
  5. The role and place of religion in the spiritual and secular life of society, state.


Thus, a good editorial should contain elements of scientific research aimed at a more effective solution to the particular issue. To do this, it is necessary to collect and conduct a comparative analysis of information from different literature sources, find and process relevant statistical materials, summarize these source data and formulate own conclusions and suggestions.

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