The risk of accidental digression

While writing an essay or a research paper, there is one thing you need to watch out for – accidental digression. The word digression stands for a change of subject in speech or writing. While you are discussing a topic, it often happens that a word or a phrase leads you to talk about something that will lead you away from the main topic of discussion. This is what digression is all about.

Digression has been used in all types of literary forms, intentionally, to add interest to the work. The sudden change of topic, which goes unnoticed till the author comes back to the main topic, has been an interesting part of many literary works. There are certain works which are famous for their most skillful digressions also.

But while writing an essay or research paper, digressions should be kept under watch because you will be expected to stick to the guidelines about the maximum number of pages and you will have limited time to complete your assignment. In this instance, digression may not always be the right thing to do. Usually, in essays and research papers, there won’t be much space left for digressions but if useful and relevant, it is permitted and even appreciated. It is up to you to decide if you have enough space for a digression or not.

What you need to watch out for, is accidental or unintentional digressions. Whereas it adds beauty to the work when done intentionally and in a skillful way, when unaware of it, can lead you far away from the main topic of discussion and make it very difficult to get back to it; in which case, you will be forced to go to the beginning or to the point where you digressed off and rewrite the whole part again. This becomes a complete waste of your time if you are on a tight deadline and a waste of your efforts anyway. And unintentional digressions mostly will be completely irrelevant also which will force you to fully remove it from your paper.

The best way to avoid accidental straying from the main topic, while writing an essay or research paper, is to make an outline of the points before you prepare your rough draft. Once the points are organized and laid out in an outline, there is no risk of you straying away from the main topic. And if an accidental digression finds its way into your outline, it is quite easy to remove it and link the points before and after it, because it will not yet be elaborated. Once elaborated, it will be extremely difficult for you to get rid of it as you will have to first find the point where it started and when removed, it might leave you with a paper which does not fulfil the number of minimum sheets required. Hence it is wiser to be aware of accidental digressions and keep a watch for it.

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