you originally planned need to be covered. Whether you have selected the topic ornot, you will need to research critical opinion on it before you begin to write.
Researching your topic:
Having thought carefully about what you are being asked to do, the next stage is togather your evidence. It is worth saying straight away that you should jot down thedetails of all and any resources to which you refer – either directly or indirectly –becauseplagiarismis a major concern and it is easy to plagiarise without meaning to.It’s simple to forget where your ideas start, and someone else’s end.”It is a good idea to begin to compile an alphabetical list of all books used at this stageas this will save you time with your referencing and bibliography later, as well ashelping you to keep track of where you sourced your evidence. Remember to presentthis in the academic style required, as there is considerable difference between therequirements of say, Harvard referencing and MLA
- seek advice on the referencingstyle required before beginning
. (Most referencing styles will allow for the use of abbreviations but the first time a book is quoted the full details should be given.)Try to strike a balance between the evidence that supports your own ideas and thosewhich appear to contradict you. Remember, a good essay presents a balanced case anddisplays an awareness of
points of view (within reason), not just those that agreewith your own!
It is very tempting to omit this stage – don’t! Thorough planning
time althoughit might seem to be wasting it at this point when you just want to start writing.However, even in an examination essay, a plan is essential to complete a structured,reasoned and researched response on any given topic.Begin by looking back over the question and those ‘key words’ that you selected.Next, consider the evidence you have collected and consider how the two complementeach other: if you have followed the instructions above carefully, this should be easy,as you will have been keeping the question in mind all the time you were conductingyour research.Nevertheless, it can be difficult to know which pieces of evidence best support yourtopic points as you can’t include everything. Make decisions now as to what you willuse and what you will discard. This is harder than you might think because ofteninteresting evidence you have unearthed has to be omitted simply because it isn’trelevant. Increasingly, students are penalized for exceeding the specified word countso ensure that all your evidence is really related to the points you are making and tothe topic concerned.It is useful to make a rough plan or diagram of your essay at this stage where youwrite down paragraph headings and which evidence you will use where. Later, whenyou are actually writing your essay, you will be able to look back at this to remindyou of how your thoughts actually progressed and why you made the choices that you