Does your essay attempt to define a problematic concept? Does it add to the discussion of how people might understand the topic? What is at stake in your discussion? In other words, is there a group of people who might be vindicated by your definition? Remember that while you are writing a definition essay, you want to avoid using the dictionary itself. This is meant to be a definition that you create, not one that you copy from a source. In addition, the dictionary is never considered a strong academic source because information that comes from the dictionary and encyclopedias is considered “common knowledge.” Therefore, inserting a dictionary definition into your paper makes it seem as though you are not a strong researcher.