Human Development Essay: Topics, Examples, & How-to Guide

A human development essay explores how a person or group of people can grow and thrive.

A human development essay is a piece of writing that explores how a person or group of people can grow and thrive. Several disciplines study these processes and might require you to get ready with this kind of assignment:

  • Biology analyzes human body development issues throughout our lifespan;
  • Psychology views human development as gaining or abandoning certain behavioral trends;
  • Sociology explains the cause-and-effect relationships between an individual and a group;
  • Economics studies the growth of human freedoms through the improvement of their well-being.

This article systematizes the available bulk of knowledge on the importance of human development. We have collected the essential concepts and approaches you can explore through our human development essay topics and samples.

💵 Human Development in Economics

The first Human Development Report introduced this notion back in 1990. But the discussion of the relationship between economic growth and human development started in the middle of the 20th century.

Now we believe that GDP is not the only indicator of our well-being. Human life is more than just selling, buying, and consuming.

Human development in economics focuses on the creation of equal rights and opportunities for everyone. This approach states that the entire society would prosper from the happiness of each of its members.

In these terms, human development has two dimensions:

  • enhancement of human abilities;
  • provision of prerequisites for our growth.
Human development has two dimensions: enhancement of human abilities and provision of prerequisites for our growth.

The former explores how we could ensure that everyone has access to education, healthcare, and decent living conditions. The latter involves achieving environmental sustainability and equality of rights and opportunities for people of all genders, ages, and ethnic backgrounds.

Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI) emphasizes that people and their well-being are the criteria for a country’s prosperity, not only its economic growth.

Today, we use HDI to question the efficiency of national policy. It also allows us to compare different countries with the same GDP but different human development levels. Analyzing this data, governments can refocus their priorities and correct past mistakes.

HDI is calculated as the geometric mean of the following normalized indices:

  1. A long and healthy life
    • Life expectancy at birth is used to calculate the life expectancy index, where 85 years is the maximum.
  2. Level of education
    • The education index is the sum of the expected and mean years of schooling divided by 2.
  3. A decent standard of living
    • This index is determined as GNI per capita.

Meanwhile, HDI is not as comprehensive as one might expect. HDRO (the Human Development Report Office) claims that it does not consider human inequalities, the empowerment of minorities, poverty levels, and gender disparity.

🤯 Human Development in Psychology

Psychology views human development from an individual’s perspective. This discipline distinguishes between three directions of human development.

The picture describes three directions of human development in psychology.
  1. Physical changes occur in our bodies. How do we grow from a baby into an adult and from an adult into an older person? How do we acquire new motor skills, and what is the biology of our senses? What do our brains consist of, and how do they change with age? Correct answers to these questions help us explain the next direction.
  2. Cognitive changes cause the development of human behavior. What goes on in our brain that defines what kind of people we are? This domain focuses on logical thinking, learning, understanding, moral reasoning, and practical intelligence. It searches for the ways we could learn faster and become better versions of ourselves.
  3. Psychosocial changes track the growth of our social skills and preferences. It all starts with the principal caregiver. Gradually, we begin to interact with more people, such as friends, distant relatives, educators, and colleagues. It is all about our self-image, self-esteem, emotions, and relationships. The psychosocial domain also studies our ways to cope with losses or death.

Human Development Theories

The history of psychology knows many human development theories, many of which are still trusted. We will focus on the two fundamental approaches. They divide childhood into several critical stages that define our character, habits, likes, relationships, and even success in life.

Piaget’s 4 Stages of Cognitive Development

Piaget’s theory is the most widely accepted approach to child development. He believed that children construct knowledge while they manipulate and explore the objects around them. Jean Piaget marked four stages of cognitive development.

  1. Sensorimotor stage (0-2 years). A child learns that objects do not disappear. Their activity is all about experimenting with things to see what happens. This stage should culminate with developing the deferred imitation skill. It involves the ability to reproduce an action or sound made by another person later.
  2. Preoperational stage (2-6 years). Children use symbols to represent words and ideas. They develop the language and make-believe play but still lack logical reasoning. They are egocentric and cannot imagine that other people may feel or think differently.
  3. Concrete operational stage (6-12 years). Thinking becomes logical and focused. Children develop inductive reasoning: they observe to make generalizations about the world around them. But they still struggle with deductive thinking.
  4. Formal operational stage (12 years – adulthood). Abstract thinking emerges. They learn to develop theoretical ideas to explain the world.

Freud’s 5 Stages of Psychosexual Development

The Father of Psychoanalysis believed that human personality consisted of ego, superego, and id. They become unified and inseparable once the child passes the five stages of psychosexual development.

  1. Oral stage (0-1 year). The mouth is the pleasure center for the infant. That is why everyone is born with a sucking reflex. If the oral needs are not met during the first year of life, the child can start biting their nails or suck a thumb.
  2. Anal stage (1-3 years). Children gain control over their bodily functions. They experiment with feces. But early toilet training can make a child too obsessed with order.
  3. Phallic stage (3-6 years). Children find out the pleasure they can get from their genitals. According to Freud, this is when the sexual desire to the parent of the opposite sex emerges. Boys go through the Oedipus complex. They want to replace their father and see him as a rival in the mother’s love. Later, Carl Jung spoke of the Electra Complex, a similar mechanism in girls.
  4. Latency stage (6-12 years). Sexual instincts give way to the superego. During this period, children adopt the moral principles and values of their parents.
  5. Genital stage (12+ years). Sexual instincts reemerge. If all the above steps passed successfully, adolescents would show appropriate sexual behavior.

But this theory is too controversial to be taken for granted. Do parents define their child’s sexual and aggressive drives? Nobody knows for sure.

💡 232 Human Development Essay Topics

Since human development is a debatable and scarcely studied area of knowledge, it offers a whole lot of topics to discuss. For your convenience, we have divided them into two categories:

  • The first can be used for essays on human development psychology.
  • The second includes human growth and development essay topics in economics and sociology.

155 Human Development Topics (Psychology)

Psychology focuses on the emotional, intellectual, and social development of an individual. Scientists traditionally divide this growth into stages, according to the respective age. That is why the topics here can be about early childhood, parent-child relationships, school years, adolescence, marriage, and divorce.

  1. Child psychology: Theories of development by J. Piaget.
  2. How can parents facilitate their child’s relationships with peers?
  3. Divorce: Psychological effects on children.
  4. Which purposes does attachment play in infants?
  5. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory of development.
  6. Which ideas of Freud’s psychosexual development theory do you think are valid?
  7. Find the common features between Freud’s psychosexual theory and Erikson’s psychosocial theory.
  8. Child development and education.
  9. Explore the causes of inferiority complex in adolescents.
  10. Children’s play: An ingredient needed in children’s learning.
  11. How does one’s sense of self influence their future relationships?
  12. Corporal punishment and its effects on children.
  13. Why do we need to reward the feeling of gratitude in adolescents?
  14. What is the role of the family in shaping our social well-being?
  15. Developmental psychology in adolescence.
  16. Describe the principles of caregiving you consider as healthy and beneficial.
  17. Personal development plan.
  18. What is social knowledge, and where do we gain it?
  19. Write a human development theories essay.
  20. Emotional development in children and adults.
  21. What do the preferred leisure activities of adolescents tell us about their development?
  22. Early childhood classroom environment plan.
  23. Does the gender of the main caregiver matter?
  24. Study the effect of orphanage education on a child’s psychology.
  25. The introduction to early childhood education.
  26. Is a child’s family or school more defining for their development?
  27. Second life: Professional development and communication.
  28. How does patriarchal prejudice undermine the intellectual growth in girls?
  29. Does the lack of college-level education make a person less smart?
  30. Sigmund Freud’s personality and psychoanalysis.
  31. How did dr. Maria Montessori use human tendencies for child development?
  32. Adult learning theories.
  33. How does a father’s toxic masculinity impact a boy’s emotional well-being?
  34. Early childhood cognitive-based philosophy.
  35. Make a research summary of the role of IQ in human development.
  36. Explore the causes of the “terrible threes.”
  37. Lifespan human development: perspective and theories.
  38. Write a reflection about risk-taking behaviors in teenagers.
  39. Linking human development to the human condition.
  40. Is poverty the worst factor for a child’s development?
  41. Early childhood education activities and trends.
  42. Analyze the consequences of substance abuse in adolescence.
  43. Cognitive behavioural therapy for depression in adults.
  44. Do children adopt their same-sex parent’s gender roles in adulthood?
  45. Child abuse and neglect effects on adult survivors.
  46. What is the role of creativity in a preschooler’s development?
  47. Tools of the mind in the early childhood development.
  48. Do you agree that all psychological disorders of children under 12 are caused by an unhealthy family atmosphere?
  49. The theories of child development.
  50. How do we learn to control our emotions?
  51. How autistic children develop and learn?
  52. Analyze the major results of gender-neutral education.
  53. Early childhood education and skills development.
  54. When is the due time to start sex education of children and why?
  55. Erik Erikson’s theory of development.
  56. What is the tole of symbolic function and make-believe play in a child’s development?
  57. Family structure and its effects on children.
  58. Why is egocentrism in children normal?
  59. Infant development.
  60. Establish the relationship between language development and intellectual growth.
  61. Biological, cognitive, and socioemotional development.
  62. Sexism in human development theories.
  63. How an operant conditioning influences child development.
  64. Awareness of age-related change helps to live a healthy life.
  65. Middle childhood and adolescence development.
  66. The adverse effect of malnutrition in a child’s development.
  67. Assessment in early childhood: Special education.
  68. When is stress positive and negative for the psychological development of an individual?
  69. How video games affect children.
  70. Analyze human development in multigenerational families.
  71. Erickson’s psychosocial development and its stages.
  72. Compare and contrast the American and Japanese approaches to education and their results.
  73. Theoretical perspectives on human development: Freud, Piaget, and Skinner.
  74. The role of controlled independence in childhood.
  75. Technology impacts on the new generation of children.
  76. Why is periodical boredom necessary for a child to develop?
  77. Learning and student development theories and factors.
  78. Why is human development the basic need of any society?
  79. The development of secure and insecure attachments in children.
  80. Why is intellectual growth so pleasurable for us?
  81. Moral and personality development.
  82. If the human development mechanism is equal for all, why are we so different?
  83. 21st century skills development.
  84. Why do modern sociologists think we should work less?
  85. Peer pressure on children in high school.
  86. What could we learn from the indigenous African tribes in terms of the psychological development of children?
  87. Interaction for child’s development and learning.
  88. Schools: an unknown war where we miss our childhood?
  89. Effects of media on children.
  90. To which degree do genes determine our development?
  91. Jean Piaget – cognitive theorist.
  92. Why are foster children less prepared for adult life than their adopted peers?
  93. When should children start school?
  94. When do children stop learning through play?
  95. Managing stress better: Personal development.
  96. Which socio-emotional factors make aging less depressing?
  97. Preschool play role in the cognitive development.
  98. The benefits and drawbacks of grandparents’ raising children.
  99. Autism as the most prevalent developmental mental disorder.
  100. How does lifelong learning benefit human brain?
  101. Teaching and supporting adult learners.
  102. How does lifestyle influence our cognition?
  103. Parent-child relationships and parental authority.
  104. Should adults develop an awareness of their aging?
  105. Early intervention for young children with autism.
  106. Why do scientists no longer view aging as a negative process?
  107. Development and improvement of communication skills.
  108. Which factors define our ability for emotional regulation?
  109. Child’s play observation and parent interview.
  110. Compare the Christian and Muslim cultural differences in human development.
  111. The early abuse’ impacts on teenagers emotional development.
  112. Are private nurseries and schools better for children’s development?
  113. Behavior change in learning processes.
  114. Why is generation alpha more emotionally intelligent than any earlier-born children?
  115. Videogame addiction and its impact on children.
  116. Shout less and explain more: the effect of the modern approach to caregiving.
  117. Adult education, its objectives and approaches.
  118. Why should we tell our daughters they are smart rather than beautiful?
  119. Personal development: Career management.
  120. How does social change impact the life of an individual? Give examples.
  121. Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s child development theories.
  122. Suggest mentoring interventions for at-risk adolescents.
  123. Adult learning and effective instruction.
  124. To which extent should we normalize children with developmental disorders?
  125. Negative impacts of adult cartoon television programs on children.
  126. Do developmental differences make us more human?
  127. Social psychology in people’s life.
  128. Do all families need psychotherapy, like they need a family doctor?
  129. Childhood sexual abuse and adolescents’ self-esteem.
  130. Which barriers do LGBT adolescents meet in their development?
  131. Life-span development and personal life experiences.
  132. Outline a positive youth development program.
  133. Understanding learning: theories’ impacts.
  134. Explain eating disorders as the result of incorrect upbringing.
  135. The influence of online games on children and adults.
  136. Describe the changes our brain suffers under continuous stress.
  137. The psychological effect of 9-11 on young adults.
  138. Typical vs. Atypical development in children.
  139. Social psychology: group influence on the self.
  140. Why is mindfulness important for human development?
  141. Importance of a teacher in child development.
  142. We learn behavioral health from our parents.
  143. Divorce influence on childrens’ mental health.
  144. How do behavioral phenotypes emerge during early development?
  145. Child development theories: Comparative analysis.
  146. Why do many children function differently in home, school, or community settings?
  147. Communication role in the children’ development.
  148. Suggest ways to identify co-occurring conditions in developmental disorders.
  149. Psychological child development theories.
  150. Describe the existing approaches to establishing healthy schools.
  151. Piaget’s stages of cognitive development.
  152. Parental autonomy vs. Monitoring: which is better for an adolescent?
  153. Postpartum depression effect on children’s development.
  154. How do parents’ beliefs and values determine their parenting strategies?
  155. Childhood and optimal development analysis.

77 Human Development Topics (Economics)

  1. How entrepreneurship in the energy sector can pave the way for sustainable development in Africa.
  2. What are the parties involved in human development, and why don’t they share the same interests?
  3. Should we care about income inequality?
  4. Why does totalitarianism entail stagnation?
  5. Democratic and Economic Development in Asian Countries.
  6. Do migrant incomes spur economic development in their native countries?
  7. International human resource development.
  8. How does the growth of female entrepreneurship favor economics?
  9. A development of American society.
  10. How can equal rights and possibilities of all people make governments more efficient?
  11. Resolving the problems of poverty and income inequality.
  12. How does the availability of loans benefit human development?
  13. Development Theory and Human Rights.
  14. Should towns transform into cities to become more prosperous?
  15. Resource availability for low to moderate income families in New York City.
  16. Is feminism a sign of human evolution?
  17. Rapid urbanization in the developing world is increasing.
  18. What is the impact of literacy campaigns in socially disadvantaged rural areas?
  19. Poverty reduction in developing countries.
  20. Find the relationship between water resources and the level of farming development in a given region.
  21. Human Rights for Development.
  22. Explore the growing urban-rural interactions in large cities.
  23. Employment opportunity for people with learning disabilities in the UK.
  24. Give examples of win-win scenarios in human evolution.
  25. Analysing a community development: Case study.
  26. Why do societies often ignore or resist the advantages of human development?
  27. How innovation and growth strategy will develop Abu Dhabi economy through Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
  28. Study the role of recreational possibilities for the local population.
  29. Values of innovation and entrepreneurship in economic development.
  30. The effect of food availability on human development.
  31. Millennium Development and Well-Being of Families.
  32. Do you support transnational social movements, and why?
  33. Compensation and benefits in an area of human resources development.
  34. Do religions favor economic development?
  35. Influence of religion on the development of colonial American society.
  36. Analyze the impact of socioeconomic context on human development.
  37. Is nationalism beneficial for a country’s well-being?
  38. The development of the industrial work environment.
  39. Which factors impede poor people from growing their capital?
  40. Crime prevention through social development.
  41. Is leisure more critical for economic growth than production?
  42. Alternative Fuels and the US Nation Development.
  43. Should the government regulate human development, or is it unpredictable?
  44. Development traps and failure: The negative consequences of disasters on the economy.
  45. What are the external factors of human development in emerging countries?
  46. Fiscal decentralisation and local economic development in Ghana.
  47. Human Development Index (HDI) Vs. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  48. National human resource development in Asian states.
  49. Which aspects would you include in the HDI formula?
  50. Is late retirement beneficial for a country’s economic development?
  51. Environment: Sustainable Development in Abu Dhabi.
  52. Which material conditions affect human evolution?
  53. The critical points of equal employment opportunity.
  54. The role of sustainable development in a country’s well-being.
  55. Globalization drives inequality: Liberalist and structuralist perspectives.
  56. What is the primary goal of human development for economics?
  57. The income gap in the US economy.
  58. Are elevated birth rates a positive or negative factor for economic growth?
  59. Human resources development in the UK and Australia.
  60. What is the relationship between foreign capital penetration and human life expectancy in third-world countries?
  61. Economic and Social Development of the UAE.
  62. How does ethnic homogeneity influence human development in a given area?
  63. Gender wage gap and inequality.
  64. Why is the majority of wealthy countries democratic?
  65. Human resource development practices to achieve economic growth: The case of Singapore.
  66. Analyze the role of free medicine in social well-being.
  67. How can the employment of the disabled favor a country’s economy?
  68. Assessing why Nigeria LNG has been restricted in development.
  69. How is the work/family balance of employees important for a company’s prosperity?
  70. Workforce development and modern trends.
  71. Explore the effect of an individual’s well-being on a country’s development.
  72. Small business and development in South Africa.
  73. How does democratization improve a country’s productivity?
  74. Regional inequality of Yogyakarta.
  75. How does English training in third-world countries influence their development?
  76. Post-disaster development of Haiti.
  77. New conceptions of adulthood among the youth in the developing countries.

🧒 Human Growth and Development Essay Topics

  1. The impact of aging on human development.
  2. How do role models promote moral and behavioral development in the 21st century?
  3. Socioeconomic factors and their value in growth and development.
  4. The development of moral predispositions at an early age.
  5. The value of professional development of a person.
  6. Genetic regulation of growth in height and weight in teenagers.
  7. The role of initiative and guilt in the preschool age group.
  8. What are the main red flags in growth and development?
  9. Child health and human development over the lifespan.
  10. Emotional development of a person from birth to old age.
  11. Regulation of early human growth: the main peculiarities.
  12. COVID-19 and its role in children’s social development.
  13. How does environmental pollution affect human growth and development?
  14. The language development in humans and its key stages.
  15. How does maternal physical activity influence fetal growth?

Haven’t found the perfect topic in the lists above? Use our essay topic generator!

📑 Human Development Essay Outline

1. Introduction. By the end of your essay, your readers will surely forget what you wrote here. But do not underestimate the effect of a well-composed introduction on your audience’s expectations! Do your best to sound inspiring and upbeat in your human development essay introduction. Tell yourself, why did you select this topic? If it is an exciting issue for you, the readers will also get interested. So, the introduction speaks about the topicality and urgency of a problem.

The thesis statement culminates your introduction. You should explain your position in a single sentence. Here are some good and bad examples:

☹️ Bad😑 Better🙂 Good
I am going to speak about medicine in the social economy.This essay explains why free medicine is good for society.This essay will highlight the demographic, cultural, and economic results of free medicine in terms of social well-being.
Too broad and informalSlightly more precise, but not enoughJust right!

Need to formulate a thesis statement? Use our thesis-making tool!

2. Main body. The primary rule here is structure. It is hard to read one long paragraph with many ideas. Introduce each argument from the new line. Give a topic sentence at the beginning of each section and then elaborate on it with examples and reflections.

3. Conclusion. In the field of human development, the conclusion of an essay should provide the prospects of the tendency you analyzed. Imagine yourself an analyst consulting an international company. What will happen if they continue doing the same? How can they reach different results? Once again, try to sound inspiring.

1️⃣ Human Development Essay Example #1 (Psychology)

Below you will find a sample of human development essays for a psychology-related discipline. It illustrates the outline we have mentioned above based on the topic Why Is Freud’s Developmental Theory considered outdated?

Human Development Theories Essay

1. Introduction. In the XXI century, we are all obsessed with development. We would like to become a better version of ourselves, develop our country, and humanity as a whole. Unfortunately, there is no axiom confirming the mechanism of human development.

Thesis statement. This essay explores the pitfalls of Freud’s developmental theory and questions its applicability.

2. Main Body.

Argument 1. Freud drew his theory from memories of his patients. But certain experiences people believe are true often turn out to be inaccurate. Sometimes, we fabricate our memories due to how we felt back then or would like to feel now. Thus, Freud used unreliable sources of information about child development.

Argument 2. Freud’s theory revolves around sexuality. But as Jung and Adler noticed, human life is more complicated than that. Oversimplification reduces us to instincts, which is not true. People have their subconscious fears and desires, but sexual energy is only one of their aspects.

Argument 3. Sigmund Freud only worked with adults. All adults are former children, but the researcher never studied children in their games, education, or frustrations. Freud had six kids, but his career never allowed him to spend much time with family. It is questionable how someone could draw conclusions about a child’s mental processes without actually speaking to a child.

3. Conclusion. Sigmund Freud largely contributed to modern psychology. He was the first to question our rational thinking and intellectual sobriety. But his five stages of psychosexual development are far from reality. First, they are constructed based on inaccurate and unreliable reports of mentally disturbed people. Second, sexuality is only one of the many things that make us who we are. Third, the scientist never did live research on children. That is why his theory is outdated now.

2️⃣ Human Development Essay Example #2 (Economics)

If you need to write an essay on human development while studying economics, you may use the following sample. It illustrates how to write an essay on the relationship between human development and economic growth.

Human Development and Economic Growth

1. Introduction. What happened first, human development or economic growth? The early signs of economic growth appeared when the first people started exchanging their goods with the neighboring tribes. They had to develop a new skill and change their picture of the world to catalyze economic growth.

Thesis statement. This essay aims to confirm the two-way linkage between the development of individuals and economic growth.

2. Main Body.

Argument 1. If that first exchange of crops and cattle did not work out, we would have never got as developed as we are now. The economic growth that happened once we had mastered “business negotiations” gave us the necessary resources to develop other skills.

Argument 2. Human development is hardly predictable. The most significant improvements in technology, medicine, construction, and science happened during the most challenging times for humanity. The two world wars showed that we could develop when the economy is in decay. But the new production methods and scientific achievements give us an opportunity to grow the economy when things get better.

Argument 3. Economic growth without human development is limited. For example, when a third-world country receives an external capital inflow, its economy stabilizes or even grows. But if its population does not acquire new models of doing business, the money will end. Such a country will return to its previous poor condition.

3. Conclusion. It would be wrong to say that human development caused economic growth or vice versa. None of the two are possible without the other. Human development happened first, but further knowledge acquisition required economic growth. Improvement of the economy does not guarantee human intellectual growth. Meanwhile, it is an indispensable prerequisite for our development.

❓ Human Development Questions & Answers

What does the science of human development seek to understand?

This science tries to find the reasons why people tend to change over time or why they remain at the same level. It establishes the mechanisms through which we become more educated, moral, organized, and civilized. The science also describes the benefits and drawbacks of human development for the economy, sociology, psychology, and ecology.

What is Human Development and Family Studies?

Human Development and Family Studies focuses on the health and psychology of individuals throughout their lifespan. This area of knowledge discusses human life in the context of their family relationships and social roles. It is an interdisciplinary science that involves psychology, economy, and sociology.

How does culture affect human development?

Culture defines the way we perceive society and the world as a whole. It affects our vision of reality from early childhood. Culture influences our beliefs, values, and purposes. Moreover, it is a decisive factor for our self-image as an individual and a member of society.

What makes the study of human development a science?

The study of human development explores how we learn, mature, and adapt to changes and adverse conditions. It is largely related to psychology but also involves sociology, economics, anthropology, and biology. It is a science because it aims to describe, predict, and understand the changes in human behavior that bring us to development.

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Hi Sir
I need to write an essay on my development from birth to adult and will critique with other theorists. Can you help me how to write it

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Overnight Essay

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Carl Osment
Carl Osment

I like this site very much so much superb information.


Sir, I would like to write about human race of Asian paper, so please help me some idea how to write. and decide for me sir. Thank you

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Overnight Essay

Hi dear Rohit,
Thanks for stopping by at our blog.
Some suggestions for your essay on the Asian race: 1) write a historical overview of the territorial expansions on the territory of Asian countries and the tribes which were the predecessors of modern Asians; 2) or write about the historical discrimination of some ethinicities (such as burakumin in Japan, for example), comparing it to anti-semitism in Europe.
Hope it helps. If you still need more help, don’t hesitate to place an order with our writing services to get professional assistance with your assignment.
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