How to Write a Definition Essay in Public Administration

Writing guide
Posted on February 3, 2021

Definition essays are common assignments for students of different academic levels. Many students find them challenging because it’s not easy to define a concept, idea or theory in a clear, logical, and engaging manner. Still, the key to success is proper planning and organization of the writing process. Looking for tips on how to write a definition essay in public administration? Keep reading this article where we discuss the entire process of writing a definition essay and give you easy step-by-step instructions. Besides, you’ll find here 15 impressive essay topics for inspiration. If you lack knowledge and skills to cope with any other types of college papers, check out other full guides to all writing assignments out there.

What Is a Definition Essay in Public Administration?

The purpose of writing a definition essay is to define and explain something. In a definition essay in public administration, you need to provide a personal and still academic definition of a specific concept, idea or term relevant to this interesting field of knowledge. You may start by providing a simple dictionary definition and then extend it with details, examples, analysis, description, personal experiences as well as causes and effects.

Speaking about the structure, a definition essay in public administration typically has two basic parts:

  • Denotation explains the meaning by providing a direct explanation.
  • Connotation presents ideas that illustrate the implied meaning.

Besides, you can use some effective techniques when you write your own essay.

  • Enumeration – providing a definition by creating a list
  • Negation – defining a word or concept by explaining what it is not.
  • Analogy – comparing similar things

How to Choose an Interesting Topic for a Definition Essay in Public Administration

If you have not been given a topic for writing your definition essay in public administration, you should choose a concept or idea in which you are interested in and which you are familiar with. Public administration is a complex discipline that studies a lot of materials so you’ll have a lot of different terms, concepts or ideas to choose from.

It’s crucial to select the right word. Don’t choose any words with a concrete meaning. Instead, you should pick an abstract word with an abstract meaning. In this way, you’ll have more material for exploration and writing about. A good idea is to select a concept that is debatable and may mean different things to different people. As a rule, definition essays are subjective in nature so you will need to explain and analyze the meaning of the chosen term from a personal perspective and rely on your personal base of knowledge.

If you don’t know which word to select, you can brainstorm your ideas. To help you choose a good topic for your definition essay in public administration, we’ve created a short list of interesting topics which you can use for writing your own projects or as ideas for inspiration.

  • Give a Definition of Principles of Public Administration;
  • Define Inter-Government Relationships;
  • Explain the Meaning of Social Change;
  • Provide a Definition of Public Needs;
  • Define Classical Theory of Public Administration;
  • Give a Definition of International Bureaucracy;
  • Explain the Meaning of Civil Society;
  • What Is Civil Service?
  • Explain the Concept of Decentralization;
  • Provide a Definition of Local Government;
  • Define a Concept of New Public Governance;
  • How Can You Define Public Management?
  • What Are Public Sector Organizational Networks?
  • How Can You Define Managerial Revolution?
  • What Is E-government?

Think About Elements That You Can Include in Your Definition

When writing your own definition of a certain concept, you can use different elements to make the definition more compelling.

  • For example, you may write an analysis of the term by separating it into several parts. After that, you need to devote separate paragraphs to analyzing each part. This tactic can be useful if you decide to write about a word that consists of multiple parts like government or management.
  • You can also classify the word and explain what part of speech it is, using a standard dictionary definition.
  • If you choose to write about a concept that is not familiar to you, you can compare it with some concepts that you understand very well. You should explain the meaning of the unknown term using the words that you know very well.
  • You can also provide some examples from your own experience to explain the selected term from a traditional point of view.

Create an Outline for Your Definition Essay in Public Administration

When you’ve chosen a topic for writing a definition essay, you should do some research to investigate the origin of the term and its interpretation in different online dictionaries. Besides, you should search for evidence and examples that you can use for supporting your own definition.

When you gather enough information, you should organize your ideas and create an outline for your definition essay in women and gender studies. You can structure your essay, using the basic 5-paragraph essay format that includes an introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. Remember that the purpose of your essay is to write a compelling definition of s certain term so you’ll need criteria that will be sufficient and necessary. You should also be ready that some people may disagree with your definition so you’ll need to convince that that you are right. That’s why you’ll need to provide relevant evidence, reasons, and examples.

Write a Draft of Your Essay

Now it’s time to start writing the draft of your definition essay in public administration, using the outline you have created as a road map that will help you stay focused and build a convincing argument. Besides, you need to pay special attention to the logic and ensure that all parts of your definition related together and made a whole. Now we can discuss how to write different parts of your definition essay.


The goal of an introduction is to make a strong first impression on your readers and convince them that your definition essay in public administration is worth reading. Wondering what information you need to include in the introductory paragraph? Just follow these steps.

  • Start your essay with a hook to grab your audience’s attention. It may be a good anecdote, a surprising fact, interesting statistics, rhetorical or provocative question.
  • Provide some important background information to explain why this term is problematic and you decided to explain it. It’s important to tell your readers why they should care.
  • Give a standard definition of the concept that you found in a popular dictionary.
  • Finish the paragraph with your personal definition of the concept. It’s actually your thesis statement. Try to make your own definition brief and avoid using clichés.

Main Body

The body is the biggest part of your definition essay in public administration where you actually make your argument. You should think about each body paragraph as of mini-essay and ensure that all sentences in it relate to the central point and support the purpose of your essay. You should organize all sentences in a logical way to ensure that every paragraph is coherent. Body paragraphs may vary in length but typically, you should make them of about 5-7 sentences.

You need to extend the personal definition of the concept or idea using different techniques that we have discussed earlier. Structure every paragraph in the following way:

  • To ensure smooth reading, you should start each paragraph with a transition sentence that leads from the previous paragraphs and shows the connections between your ideas
  • Write a topic sentence that presents the central idea of the paragraph
  • Include several supporting sentences that explain the main idea
  • Illustrate the supporting sentences with relevant evidence and examples
  • Analyze and interpret the examples and evidence and explain how they relate to the central idea and the overall theme
  • End every paragraph with a concluding sentence that summarizes the content of the paragraph

You should also use transition words and phrases within your body paragraphs and between them such as previously, furthermore, moreover, finally, next, then, after, in addition to, specifically, for instance, as a result, consequently, therefore etc. Effective transitions help your readers see connections between your thoughts and follow your logic.


The purpose of a good conclusion is to reinforce information from the body of your essay and remind your readers of your thesis (your personal definition). Although conclusions are not easy to write, you should invest your time in it because it’s your last chance to make an impression on your readers. You should make your conclusion strong. Don’t summarize your ideas but synthesize and try to establish connections between different points of your definition essay. You should also remind your audience about your own definition of the concept and emphasize its significance. Never include any new information in this part of your essay.

Edit and Proofread Your Definition Essay in Public Administration

When you finish writing your first draft, you should be ready to revise it and rewrite it several times to ensure that you are satisfied with the content and the logic of your definition essay in public administration.

Editing and proofreading are separate processes when you work on the text of your final draft. Many students often ignore editing and proofreading stages when writing their academic papers. But you shouldn’t do that because they are crucial elements of the writing process and almost always can ensure getting a better grade.

When you edit, you should look at the bigger issues on the paragraph and sentences level. You need to pay attention to the structure and flow of your sentences. When proofreading your essay, you should look for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors and fix them.

When you finish your final draft, you have to edit and proofread it carefully and thoroughly to ensure that will be able to submit a polished essay perfect in content and style and free of any mistakes.

Editing and proofreading require time and effort but there are some effective strategies that can help you work smarter. Here are some easy tips on how you can do that.

  • Take a break as you finish your draft. Get some distance from your work for at least a couple of hours and it will allow you to look at your essay with fresh eyes and avoid the writer’s blindness. You will work more productively and will be able to catch more mistakes.
  • Work with a hard copy. Print your definition essay and use it when you edit and proofread. It’s easier to spot mistakes on paper and not on the computer screen.
  • Read your essay out loud. In this way, you will read every word and will be able to notice more mistakes.
  • Read with a cover (a ruler or a sheet of paper). Using this method, you can read one sentence or one line at a time and easily find sentence structure errors and unnecessary words.
  • Read the text of your essay backwards. You can start from the bottom of the page and read your essay sentence by sentence. This technique can help you focus on the text and don’t be distracted by ideas. You can use this method when catching fragments.
  • Involve other people. You may ask the members of your family and friends to read the essay and check errors. They will look at your writing from the fresh perspective and will be able to catch errors and typos that you could have overlooked.

These are just some of the most effective strategies and you can experiment with them to understand which of them is suitable for you.
As you see from this complete guide, writing a successful definition essay in public administration can be not easy and requires strong analytical and critical thinking skills. But if you follow our recommendations, you’ll increase your chances to produce a decent piece of writing and make a good impression on your instructor. So use our guide and practice writing a lot, and you are sure to push your writing skills to the next level!

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