Humanities Essay

The Role of Application in a Humanities Essay: Adding Research to the Concept

The single most esteemed feature of a humanities essay is its application to context and current knowledge. Here is how previous research yields the best possible application.

Unique to the humanities, unlike the sciences and applied sciences, is the need to apply new knowledge into the human context. Where sciences and applied sciences focus on experiments, calculations, measurements, and theoretical algorithms, the humanities uniquely focus on the behavioral, social, and environmental concerns of human beings. Any humanities essay, therefore, will largely focus on man in a communal society, as expressed in ideas, conventions, arts, patterns, history, and the literature. As detailed below, the humanities invariably focus on the application of assorted disciplines to the life of man, preferably using previous research contexts.

Understanding Application in the Humanities

At, we understand that an essay in any humanity discipline primarily gains its foundation on the social context of man, his ideas/knowledge, survival, history, existence, relations, and behaviors. Humanities integrate lifestyle patterns, economic influences, human behaviors, social relations, socio-cultural trends, and political trajectories of a living human being. The key disciplines under the blanket of humanities include:

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy
  • Music
  • Classical arts
  • Visual arts
  • Media and media production
  • Medieval history
  • Linguistics and language analysis
  • Performing arts
  • Modern history, among others

Regardless of the discipline selected from those listed above, the humanities essay will largely focus on applying one area of knowledge into a human being’s social lifestyle, life pattern or life trend. This helps highlight one of the single most critical feature of humanities essay, namely, the need to balance and then apply any argument from the perspective of a human being’s life.

Religion focuses on human beliefs and practices, while art focuses on what man creates and implies. Language dwells on how people communicate, while music addresses how a we create rhythm and meaning. Philosophy expounds on human ideas, while history addresses previous experiences and occurrences throughout human existence in the world. In all these and other humanities, the human being is the central figure. The secret therefore, is to make the essay present all arguments from the human viewpoint.    

Creating an Argument for a Humanities Essay

The very fulcrum on which all essays in humanities are based, is the logical argument. An argument constitutes a logical statement presenting an opinion, judgement, interpretation, or hypothesis. In all humanities, focus is always on making an argument and then progressing to substantiate, validate, and logically justify the argument. A science essay will simply state facts and derive calculative/statistical implications therefrom, while a humanities essay will simply make a statement and then provide the balanced and logical justification.

In all humanities, the essay must have an introductory paragraph, which ends with a thesis statement which is often and almost always a logical argument. The rest of the essay, its body per se, works on substantiating and justifying that argument with credible literature citations. The conclusion ultimately restates the thesis and highlights key justifications that were addressed in the body, to arrive at that conclusion. In essence, therefore, the entire essay becomes statement, justification, and restatement of a singular logical argument.     

Formatting an Essay in the Humanities

To understand the role of application in an essay in the humanities, it is important to highlight, first, the premium structural format of the essay. All humanities essay have a trinity structure and format, namely (a) introduction, (b) body, and (c) conclusion. Regardless of the length, topic, or discipline, an essay in the humanities must have a starting point, a body, and a terminating point. These three sections focus on the elements of an essay as detailed and structured below:

Part A: Introduction

  • Highlights the topic or area of interest for the essay (first sentence)
  • Provides the general theme of the essay, preferably with an in-text citation  (second and or third sentence)
  • Makes or proposes a thesis statement to be validated by the essay (pre-ultimate sentence)
  • Sums up the key instructions/requirements of the essay as presented in the body (last sentence)

Part B: Body

  • Makes a singular argument for each paragraph (first sentence of each paragraph)
  • Provides justification from the literature (1 and or 2 in-text citations)
  • Applies the argument to a realistic context backed by primary research findings (1 and or 2 in-text citations)
  • Derives previous research findings to meet the primary requirements of the essay (1 in-text citations)
  • Introduces and links the next supporting argument (links with the subsequent paragraph)

Part C: Conclusion

  • Repeats the thesis statement in the past tense (i.e. it is therefore evident that ….)
  • Sums up the key arguments in the body (as argued above, the …)
  • Applies the argument to the essay requirements (i.e. having established that …)
  • Makes a conclusion by tying the thesis statement to the essay (as such, having a …)

Creating and Modelling the Application

Having understood the dominating role of an argument in a humanities essay, as discussed above, and highlighting the premium structural format of a good essay, it is now important to highlight the role played by application in the essay. For this purpose, review the structure of the essay and concentrate in its idea body. You will notice that, the argument uses previous empirical evidence to justify the argument.

What this structure facilitates is applying the argument to a real-life context. The previous research findings are used to apply the argument into a research context that has previously generated applicable findings. A good example of such application includes:

Example 1: Indeed, according to study conducted by Tut and Ogre (2019) in Argentina, age-specific music is predominated by children music.  

Example 2: McGraw (2018) conducted an empirical study among high school teachers in Britain, and confirmed that teacher-student relationships have been on the decline.

In conclusion, therefore, just as an argument is critically essential in a humanities essay, so too, is the application of that argument to real-life contexts. A good essay uses previous research findings to apply the argument in the context and perspective of a man, regardless of whether it is in music, arts, philosophy, history, or language. Now you understand why evidence-based application is as a critical component of essays in the humanities at  

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