The online world is awash with not-so-helpful essay writing advice, rendering it tricky for students to get the advice they want when writing essays. So our academic experts have written the following tips for you to utilise before and whilst crafting your essay, to ensure your writing hits the mark.
Understand the question
This may, during the face of it, sound like somewhat advice that is banal but simple fact is that neglecting to properly comprehend the question set is regarded as, or even the most common reason for a disappointing grade with regards to essay writing. Are you currently being asked to critically evaluate something? Compare and contrast? Analyse a circumstance that is particular? Measure the usefulness of a particular concept?
These are a few of the common phrases present in essay questions, and each indicates a different group 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 each other, highlighting the relative strengths and weaknesses of each theory and, importantly, you need to started to a well-justified and confident conclusion. May be the theory good? What exactly are its flaws? How can it is 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 need to still acknowledge alternative approaches, and yes, you should still note some strengths and weaknesses – nevertheless the majority of the task must emphasise the concepts practical usefulness. Perhaps the approach that is best is to locate one, or a few, case studies where in actuality the theory has been used – what was the outcome of this? Does the use of the theory reveal any shortcomings that are particular or strengths?
“Compare and that is contrast, meanwhile, are essentially a hybrid of the above – you ought to take a crucial approach and measure the literature, however your focus has got to remain solidly in the theories which you have now been asked to compare and contrast. It is essential to show that you understand both (or all) core theories in great depth, both on a theoretical and applied level.
In essence, the wording regarding the essay question shall let you know the way the essay should really be written. It’s going to indicate where in actuality the focus of the essay should lie while you write and research.
Plan and schedule
Comprehending the real question is the first step, but it is equally important that you make efficient use of the available time. Students often underestimate the amount of work needed to write a great essay, which leads to a few things: (1) late nights at the library, and (2) a disappointing grade. If you want to achieve a good mark, you ought to start planning your essay the minute you receive the essay question. The next 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)|
|turn in||(Insert date)|
By setting deadlines that you won’t be left with too much work right before your hand-in date for yourself and committing to stick to them, you are ensuring. It is also essential that you leave time, ideally a few days, between finishing your first draft and proofreading.
Perfect theories and academic approaches are rare – the majority that is clear of, arguments, and research reports have flaws. Being descriptive is okay that you are able to leverage critical reasoning in your dealing with academic materials if you are looking to scrape a pass, but for a higher grade you need to show. Do you know the limitations for the theories you are drawing on? How have these been dealt with when you look at 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 actually studying? What alternate explanations might offer depth that is additional?
Critical thinking is really what will make your essay stand out. It shows the marker throughout your studies, but actually engaging with theories in an academic manner that you are not simply repeating the arguments that have been fed to you. A good method to practice this is certainly to pay 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, focus and flow
Itself, which is why it is imperative that your essay follows a logical structure how you present your argument is nearly as important as the argument. A classic word of advice is to “tell them what you’re likely to let them know, then inform them, and inform them what you told them” – this, in essence, summarises the core introduction, main body, and conclusion structure of your essay.
Having a definite and logical structure will help ensure that your essay stays focused, and doesn’t stray through the question being answered. Each section, paragraph, and sentence should add value to the argument you might be presenting. When you are writing, it’s advisable that you take one step back and ask yourself “what value does this sentence/section add? How exactly does it connect 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 be sure that all the various areas of your essay fit together as a cohesive and whole that is logical and that the transition from one argument to another location is fluid. Students often treat essays as lists of arguments, presenting one following the other with little to no consideration for the way they fit together, which inevitably contributes to a lower grade. Make sure to inform your reader why you may be transitioning from 1 argument to another location, why they have been in this order that is particular and just how each argument helps shed light on a specific aspect of what you are actually discussing.
Whether you should read the article as a whole if you are still not a hundred percent sure, it is usually a good idea to skip to the conclusion – this usually contains a detailed summary of the study, which will help determine. You don’t want to spend time reading through and number that is endless of just to realize that they aren’t actually relevant. After you have identified a couple of solid articles, you really need to (a) go through their bibliographies and take note of who they are citing, as these articles will likely be of value for your research that is own (b) check into Google Scholar to see that has cited them. To get this done, simply input the name associated with the article in the search bar and hit enter. Within the results, click “cited by” – this can return a summary of most of the articles which have cited the publication you searched for.
It’s important that you don’t rely too heavily on a single or a couple of texts, as this indicates towards the marker which you haven’t engaged with the wider literature. You need to be particularly careful in using course books (for example. “introduction to management” and so on), since these are essentially summaries of other people’s work.
Quoting, paraphrasing and plagiarism
Academic writing requires a balance that is careful novel argument, and drawing on arguments presented by others. Writing a totally ‘novel’ essay, without drawing in one source, indicates which 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 such, it’s important you are making a statement of fact, or drawing on arguments, frameworks, and theories presented by other academics that you provide evidence (a credible citation) when. These, in turn, should support the overarching novel argument that you yourself are making.