Essay writing tips


What is an essay-its a piece of writing that attempts to explore in detail a particular subject.A essay can be distinguished by 3 things namely:

  1. an essay, at least in the context that we are discussingin this book, is a piece of assessed coursework. It is a way for your lecturers to judge your progress and understanding and to give you a grade or mark accordingly.You will be writing it in response to a particular question set for you (or, usually, a list of questions from which you will select one), not randomly, but very carefully to test your knowledge and skills.
  2. Writing essays is used by your lecturers to develop your academic skllls by allowing you to
    • improve your reading and writing skills.
    • Reflect on this debate and the facts you uncover to develop your own views;
    • Consider the academic debate on the subject;
    • Explore a particular topic in great detail
  3. Essay conventions


    Essay writing has a set of conventions that you need to follow when completing your coursework.Failing to follow these conventions will have implications not just on the grade you will receive, but on how you and your abilities are perceived and, perhaps most important, on the extent to which you develop your own academic skills through the essay-writing process.

    These conventions include the following.
    1. Formal language and presentation
    2. The style of writing you need to use for essays and other academic writing services is very different from the style you use elsewhere

      • Avoid slang, colloquial terms, cliches and abbreviations (this means not using 'they're' and 'weren't' or such terms as 'eg' and 'ie') though, as with everything in this list, check for 'local' requirements and practice.
      • Use full sentences; bullet point lists are not acceptable for essays (as distinct from a book like this where such things are almost mandatory to ensure a quick and easy read for busy people)
      • Use correct grammar and spelling. This is important. You will not impress your lecturers if you misspell key technical information in your field. Poor grammar and spelling are inexcusable and give an overall sloppy impression (see Chapter 2 for more detailed guidance on this area
      • Avoid the use of 'I'. Instead use phrases such as 'As has been demonstrated above ... .A·, 'The next point to consider is ... A· and so on
      • Avoid subjective language such as 'excellent', 'awful', 'bad', 'pretty' and so on. Try to be objective in your writing.
      • Importanta!
      • Avoid using a variety of different fonts, sizes and styles throughout, which looks messy and can be hard to read
      • Use bold, italics and underlining to highlight headings (if used) or key points only where necessary, and avoid overusing them
    3. A clear line of argument, which develops through the piece
    4. Your essay will address a question or topic, usually set by your lecturers. You need not only to research and summarize the disparate views on the topic, but also to develop and set out your own understanding and opinion. Your essay should then develop your argument progressively, through both its structure and content, with a logical line of reasoning and clear conclusions.

      At this point it is also worth stressing the importance of relevance. Your essay must:
      1. A cover what is required;
      2. be free of irrelevant content or digression
      Cythia from Grade Experts says
      Comprehensiveness is never an objective. If an essay touched on absolutely every­ thing then it would certainly be too long. In fact, you always have to be selective if you do not say everything, then everything you do say is a choice - you need to make good content choices, and this is one of the skills you need to develop
  4. Use of evidence to support your argument
  5. At university level it is insufficient to simply state your opinion, or even that of others, so:

      • The statements you make in your essays need to be evidenced through referencing other material
      • You will be unable to make a persuasive case or even to answer the question without using material from lectures, books, journal articles, websites and other sources
      • You will need to evaluate and assess this evidence as part of developing your argument
      • You must show that you understand there are other ways to interpret the evidence and try to demonstrate where there are weaknesses in them
      • Be honest: if there are gaps or weaknesses in your own line of reasoning, you must use evidence to show why you still think your conclusions are appropriate





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