Friday, 18 May 2012

The Art of Essay Writing

Essay writing is a journey. If you are returning to education after a break, have never written an essay before, are unfamiliar with the demands and expectations of the  higher education system or simply need a refresher, there are some sources you can turn to for help.  On the websites, there are many links to web pages giving you guidance on essay writing help.  Surfing the web will also lead to other sites giving help on essay writing.

In general terms, an essay should have an introduction, main body and conclusion. In the introduction, the main thrust of your argument and an outline of how you will answer the question should be included.  The main body should, in a systematic, structured, coherent, and logical way build your argument and makes your points, using examples or evidence supported by the literature.  You might, if appropriate, wish to consider obvious criticisms of your argument, and give sound reasons for dismissing them.

An analytical approach should be taken through out, and descriptions/narratives/historical overviews should be kept to the minimum and be focused on the question.  The conclusion should emerge from the arguments made throughout the essay, and new material or issues should not be introduced in the conclusion. 

Remember that word limits are important. One of the key skills essays are testing is the ability to make your arguments within specified word limits. Never turn your essays that are more than 10% below or above the specified word limit.

Focus on answering the question set, take time to plan and structure your essay, and be analytical (looking at why things happened or are the way they are, not telling us historical facts and stories).  If you have problems, contact your tutors for help. 

The first essay you submit is deliberately weighted at only 30% of the overall mark for the course.  You will find that when it is marked and returned, the tutor will comment on your essay writing technique, giving you time to act on those comments and improve your work for the second more substantial essay. Have a nice journey!