Essays usually require no outside research (though they sometimes may). Generally, class essay assignments ask you to discuss in some depth a topic relevant to the course content.
The Goal of an essay may be:
- To describe a topic
- To analyze a topic
- To explain a topic
- To make an argument for or against something
- To evaluate a topic
- To report on a topic
- To compare and/or contrast two or more subjects of a topic
- Or even just to tell a good story
Make sure you carefully read and understand your assignment.
Typically, an essay is organized by introducing your topic, explaining and supporting the focus, and then drawing some relevant conclusions from your discussion and analysis.