Do you remember the fable The Ant and the Grasshopper? The ants work all summer long preparing for winter and storing food. The grasshopper laughs at the ants, and he plays all summer because he has plenty of food (for now).
When winter comes, the grasshopper is starving, begging for food because he didn’t prepare for the long winter.
Don’t be the grasshopper. Be the ant.
When it comes to writing a paper, be organized, prepared, and work smartly to finish your essay so that you’re not struggling at the last minute.
Here’s one way you can be like the ant. You can work smarter on your essay about minimum wage and get the assignment done before the due date!
3 Ways to Work Smarter on Your Minimum Wage Essay
Raise your hand if you’ve ever worked a minimum wage job. Keep your hand up if you’ve felt that you deserved more than minimum wage for your work. (I’m guessing your hand is still in the air.)
This is a good start to your paper as you have some knowledge about the topic and have an interest in what you’re writing about. This passion and knowledge can be especially useful if you need to argue your topic or write a persuasive essay about the topic.
But where do you go from here? Rather than spending time writing at the last minute with no real direction, follow these three tips to work smarter on your essay.
Tip #1: Find your focus (AKA, your thesis statement)
The thesis statement provides direction and tells readers what to expect when reading your paper. It also includes the stance of your paper.
In a minimum wage essay, you’ll write about whether raising the minimum wage would be beneficial or whether raising the minimum wage might create some damage to businesses and the economy.
If you’re not sure of your stance on a minimum wage essay, try out a few thesis statements to help focus your ideas.
Sample thesis statements:
In favor of raising the minimum wage
- Raising the minimum is necessary in order to provide a livable income to low-wage workers.
- Raising the minimum wage will help stimulate the economy because low-wage workers will be able to spend more.
- Increasing the minimum wage encourages workers to be dedicated to their jobs because they will be happier and more satisfied with their positions.
Against raising the minimum wage
- Increasing the minimum wage can cause employers to hire fewer people, thereby actually putting some employees out of work.
- Companies and businesses may increase prices in order to cover any increases in the minimum wage, and consumers will suffer.
- Raising the minimum wage discourages people from returning to school for training or higher education because they can earn a livable wage at their current jobs.
If you determine your thesis statement, you’ll have a better sense of your stance on the subject.
Still stumped on how to find or narrow your focus? Get inspired by some example essays about minimum wage. Or read How to Narrow a Topic and Write a Focused Paper. Mind mapping can also be helpful—and fun if you want to get creative.
Once you have your focus down, the next step is to develop your ideas and decide what information you’ll use to support your claims.
Tip #2: Do the research
If you plan to do most of your research online, it’s especially important to check to make sure you’re using credible sources. Use the CRAAP test to make sure the websites are worth citing.
To start your research, you might want to do a Google search for news articles. Look for basic articles from credible news sources (such as the ones I’ve listed below). This gives you a quick synopsis of the most recent events related to your topic.
Here are a few news sources you might review for your minimum wage essay.
- $15 Minimum Wages Would Be the Highest in the World: This article discusses the legislation to increase minimum wage in New York and California.
- Who will pay for a $15 minimum wage?: This article questions whether minimum wage is the best way to solve the problem of poverty and low wages.
- Instant Analysis: Target Corp. Raises Minimum Wage to $10 an Hour: This article discusses Target’s decision to raise minimum wage in order to keep up with other big-box retailers, such as Walmart.
If you’re ready to move on to more scholarly reading, try Google Scholar. You’ll find more detailed, research-based articles. Google Scholar includes sources that have already been determined to be credible. So you’re pretty safe choosing these types of sources.
Here are a few Google Scholar articles you might want to check out:
- The Effect of Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment: This is an old (and lengthy) article—written in 1982—but older articles such as this can be great sources to illustrate the debate and examine the history of the topic.
- Revisiting the Minimum Wage Debate: Throwing the Baby Out With the Bathwater?: This is a more recent, but still very lengthy and detailed, discussion of whether the minimum wage should be raised.
- Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment?: This resource is actually a report, but the title says it all. The report focuses on the effect (or lack of effect) minimum wage has on employment.
If these articles aren’t the exact sources you need for your paper (and they’re probably not), read 5 Best Resources to Help With Writing a Research Paper to learn more about where you can find additional sources.
Tip #3: Outline ideas
Now that you have a topic and sources for your paper, it’s time to sketch out a few thoughts as to what your paper will look like.
You can do this by writing a formal outline (which may be required by your instructor). Or you might just jot down a few ideas to help organize your thoughts.
(Bonus tip: Try these 6 Prewriting Strategies to Get Your Essay Rolling.)
If you just need to sketch out some ideas, you might try something like this:
- Start with a hook to grab the reader’s attention. In an essay about minimum wage, you might start with a shocking statistic or quote about minimum wage. For example, “In 2014, about 1.3 million U.S. workers age 16 and over earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour” (http://poverty.ucdavis.edu).
- End the introduction with a focused thesis statement. Remember, you might be arguing either for or against raising the federal minimum wage.
- These paragraphs will provide evidence to support each argument. For instance, you might argue that the federal minimum wage must be increased because it’s virtually impossible to survive on a minimum wage job. You can cite statistics about how much the average worker makes. Then you could also include information about how much it costs to live and how much it costs to support a family. You might also include statistics about how many minimum wage workers qualify for other forms of federal aid, such as subsidized housing, medicaid, or food subsidies.
- You’ll wrap up your paper by restating key ideas and leaving readers with something to think about. If you’re arguing in favor of raising the minimum wage, you might ask people to consider how much the increase will truly help those in need.
By being a smart worker ant, your hard work has paid off. You now have a topic, thesis statement, sources, arguments, and an outline. You’re ready to write your minimum wage essay!
This means you still have time to make sure your paper is in tip-top shape before you submit it. Before you turn in your paper, re-read the assignment guidelines. Also make sure you’ve cited your paper in the proper format (APA and MLA are used most frequently).
And since you’ve planned ahead and have ample time to revise your paper, have a Kibin editor help you with revisions!