The world-wide-web is awash with not-so-helpful essay writing advice, making it tricky for students to obtain the advice they need when writing essays. So our academic experts have written the following advice for you yourself to utilise before and whilst crafting your essay, to make certain your writing hits the mark.
Comprehend the question
This might, in the face of it, seem like somewhat advice that is banal but simple fact is the fact that failing to properly understand the question set is one of, or even the most common reason behind a disappointing grade with regards to essay writing. Have you been being asked to critically evaluate something? Compare and contrast? Analyse a particular circumstance? Assess the usefulness of a particular concept?
They are a few of the common phrases present in essay questions, and each indicates a different pair of expectations. You have to gain an understanding not only of said theory, but also other common approaches if you are asked to critically evaluate a particular theoretical approach, for instance. They must all be weighed against one another, highlighting the relative strengths and weaknesses of each theory and, importantly, you have to come to a well-justified and confident conclusion. May be the theory good? What are its flaws? Just how can it be improved?
You don’t necessarily need to go into as much critical depth if you are asked to evaluate the usefulness of something, however. Yes, you should still acknowledge alternative approaches, and yes, you should still note some strengths and weaknesses – nevertheless the majority of the work must emphasise the concepts practical usefulness. Probably the best approach is to find one, or a couple of, case studies in which the theory has been used – the thing that was the outcome for this? Does the effective use of the theory reveal any shortcomings that are particular or strengths?
“Compare and that is contrast, meanwhile, are essentially a hybrid associated with above – you ought to take a crucial approach and measure the literature, but your focus needs to remain solidly on the theories which you have been asked to compare and contrast. It is essential to show which you understand both (or all) core theories in great depth, both on a theoretical and applied level.
In essence, the wording associated with the essay question shall let you know the way the essay ought to be written. It will indicate in which the focus of your essay should lie while you write and research.
Plan and schedule
Knowing the question is step one, but it is equally important that you make efficient utilization of the available time. Students often underestimate the level of work required to write a good essay, which results in a few things: (1) late nights in the library, and (2) a disappointing grade. You should start planning your essay the moment you receive the essay question if you want to achieve a good mark. The following table may be a useful aid:
|Understand the question||(Insert date)|
|Map the essay chapters||(Insert date)|
|Collect articles||(Insert date)|
|Read and take notes||(Insert date)|
|Start writing||(Insert date)|
|Finish first draft||(Insert date)|
|Hand in||(Insert date)|
By setting deadlines for yourself and committing to stick for them, you will be making sure you won’t be left with a lot of work right before your hand-in date. Additionally it essay writing is essential that you leave time, ideally a couple of days, between finishing your draft that is first and.
Perfect theories and academic approaches are rare – the clear almost all theories, arguments, and studies have flaws. Being descriptive is okay if you should be seeking to scrape a pass, but for a greater grade you ought to show that you are able to leverage critical reasoning in your coping with academic materials. What are the limitations associated with theories you might be drawing on? How have these been dealt with in the literature? Just how can they impact the quality of arguments presented, and to what extent do they limit our understanding of what you are studying? What alternate explanations might offer depth that is additional?
Critical thinking is what is likely to make your essay get noticed. It shows the marker that you’re not merely repeating the arguments which have been fed to you during your studies, but actually engaging with theories in an academic manner. A way that is good practice this can be to cover careful attention when reading literature reviews in published articles – you will see that authors don’t simply summarise previous studies, but offer a critique resulting in a gap due to their own research.
Structure, flow and concentrate
The manner in which you present your argument ‘s almost as important whilst the argument itself, which is the reason why it is imperative that your particular essay follows a logical structure. A vintage word of advice is to “tell them what you are actually planning to inform them, then tell them, and let them know everything you told them” – this, in essence, summarises the core introduction, main body, and conclusion structure of the essay.
Having an obvious and logical structure will help make sure your essay stays focused, and does not stray from the question being answered. Each section, paragraph, and sentence should add value towards the argument you will be presenting. As you are writing, it is good to take a step back and ask yourself “what value performs this sentence/section add? How exactly does it backlink to my argument that is overarching?” That you can’t answer that question, there is a high risk that you have strayed from your core argument, and you may want to reconsider the path you are taking if you find.
It’s also wise to make sure that all the different areas of your essay fit together as a cohesive and whole that is logical and therefore the transition in one argument to the next is fluid. Students often treat essays as lists of arguments, presenting one following the other with little consideration for how they fit together, which inevitably contributes to a reduced grade. Make sure to inform your reader why you might be transitioning from one argument to the next, why they’ve been in this order that is particular and how each argument helps shed light on a specific facet of what you are discussing.
If you should be still not a hundred percent sure, it will always be smart to skip to the conclusion – this usually contains an in depth summary for the study, which can help see whether you need to read the article as a whole. You don’t want to spend time reading through and number that is endless of simply to find that they aren’t actually relevant. Once you’ve identified a couple of solid articles, you should (a) go through their bibliographies and pay attention to who they really are citing, as they articles will probably be of value for the research that is own (b) check on Google Scholar to see who has cited them. To achieve this, simply input the name for the article within the search bar and hit enter. Into the total results, click “cited by” – this may return a summary of most of the articles that have cited the publication you searched for.
It’s essential that you haven’t engaged with the wider literature that you don’t rely too heavily on one or a couple of texts, as this indicates to the marker. You should be particularly careful in making use of course books (i.e. “introduction to management” and so on), as these are essentially summaries of other people’s work.
Quoting, paraphrasing and plagiarism
Academic writing requires a careful balance between novel argument, and drawing on arguments presented by others. Writing a totally ‘novel’ essay, without drawing in one source, indicates that you haven’t produced a novel argument that you haven’t made yourself familiar with what has already been published; citing someone for every point made suggests. As a result, it’s important that you provide evidence (a credible citation) while you are making a statement of fact, or drawing on arguments, frameworks, and theories presented by other academics. These, in turn, should offer the overarching novel argument that you yourself are making.