Anatomy of a Well Written Essay

Although writing itself can often be subjective, certain principles must be applied when writing an essay, especially in academic writing. A well written essay includes sound essay development, scholarly writing, critical thinking, format and citation. The second of a 3-part series on writing skills, this interactive web page highlights 15 areas of a well written essay that illustrate these four categories.

Critique provided by English instructor B. Calvano. Understanding these basic principles will help build a foundation for becoming a more competent and confident writer.

See part 1: Anatomy of a Poorly Written Paper

How to read this infographic:

Each problematic area belongs to a writing principle, and are color-coded as follows:

  Scholarly Writing      Critical Thinking      Essay Development      Format/Plagiarism

Hover your mouse over the highlighted text in the essay below to see the problem with the passage, and suggestions for improvement.

Leadership Theories

       Two leadership theories that have had an influence on modern leadership study are the trait approach, or “Great Man” theory, and the transformational theory. These theories include different approaches to the idea of leadership building. Examining differing theories of leadership can be important for those involved in leadership roles in varying organizations. Competition is high among companies and other institutions to keep pace with the global economy. Effective leaders can keep an organization viable and successful.

       First,the trait leadership approach is adopted by those who view an individual’s personal traits as having a direct influence on their leadership ability. The “Great Man” theory was proposed by Stogdill (1995).He listed traits that may assist a person in developing into an effective leader. Those traits include cooperativeness, dependability, self-confidence, assertiveness, ambition, and adaptability (Stogdill, 1995). The theorist also noted that not everyone possessing these traits will become a leader. He contended that individuals become leaders by working with followers and earning the position.

       Second, the transformational theory was introduced by Bass (2002). “A transformational leader works with followers to instill encouragement, knowledge, motivation, and understanding of the leader’s vision. Bass believed that the follower can be groomed to be a leader who can take-up the work started by the leader after the leader is gone." (Bass, 2002, p.380) Like the “Great Man” theory, transformational leadership theory includes collaboration as a crucial factor to success.

       In conclusion, the trait theory and the transformational theory of leadership have been studied by scholars and organizational leaders for many years. To keep pace with the global economy and competition, institutions must reassess their leadership capabilities if those directing are not effective. The life of the organization may depend on this action.


Bass, B. (2002). Forecasting organizational leadership: From back (1967) to the future (2034). In B. Avolio & F. Yammarino (Eds.) Transformational and charismatic leadership: The road ahead (pp. 375-384). San Diego, CA: Emerald.

Stogdill, R. (1995). Personal factors associated with leadership. In J. Wren (Ed.) The leader’s companion: Insights on leadership through the ages (pp. 127-132). New York, NY: The Free Press.

Essay Development: Good introduction to topic.

Scholarly Writing: The correct audience is addressed.

Critical thinking: Good assessment.

Essay Development: Well-developed introduction.

Scholarly Writing: Each sentence in introduction has different structure, good variety.

Essay Development: Effectiveness introduction to first theory. Also excellent essay development.

Format/Citation: Adherence to APA format.

Scholarly Writing: Good example of scholarly writing.

Essay Development: Effective introduction to the second theory.

Format/Citation: Since this section was copied verbatim from the original author, it was put in quotation marks, and cited and referenced properly.

Essay Development: The body of the paper contains varying sentence structures.

Essay Development: Effective conclusion.

Critical Thinking: Effective summation.

Scholarly Writing: Reference section included with cited sources.

Format: References are in perfect APA format.