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Course Coursework Tutor
RESE1058: Foundations of Scholarsh & Res Essay A Saint Hilaire
Course School/Level Assessment Weight Submission Deadline
BU/PG 20.00% 07/12/2009
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
2- CHECKS BEFORE STARTING AN ESSAY
3- SELECTING THE TOPIC
4- CONSIDERING THE CTITICS
5- HOW TO DEVELOP AN ARGUMENT
5.1 WHAT IS MY APPROACH
6- STRUCTURE OF AN ESSAY
7- CRITICAL EVALUATION
11- REFERENCING AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
The purpose of this report is to comprehend the idea of writing an effective essay. For that reason I selected some key points which are considered part and parcel for effective writing argued by various academics like structure of writing, developing the argument and critical evaluation, and finally what factors make a good essay which gives me better understanding about an effective writing. I also used the knowledge from organizational behaviour and leadership course to discuss about the question raised.
How can I exactly realize about something if I don’t put it down? (E.M. Forster) If we want to write a good piece of paper, well we need to know what we are talking about. In order words, to find out what precisely we are talking about we need to write. Forcing rather than convincing ourselves to write will often reveal that we know more about a particular subject matter than we at first were supposing. In writing knowledge is brought into being, we record it, preserve it; writing is the seed, the fruit and the pickle of our understanding. (Taylor, 1990.p 1) 1-Introduction A Writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. (Thomas Mann). Writing is extremely a difficult task for certain people if they are going to tackle it in other than their own language. And then the new ideas and quite new approaches also matter. You must know the four characteristics of effective writing described by Taylor (1990. p2) those are given under: 1- You must present your own view point not as an opinion bit as a justified judgment with strong grounds. 2- Precision of the subject matter is beauty of an effective essay. 3- Presentation of the essay must be in sequence to understand the matter for readers. 4- There should be rationale/logic throughout the writing which shows unity among diverse elements of the language. 2- Checks before starting an effective essay Make sure that you understand essay topic up to best of your knowledge and material in hand. Pick out all key words in essay questions So that you know what to focus on your answer. Then you have to gather the information through various sources. The data has always two types either primary or secondary, I can’t go into details of data types. Some of them are like books journals, articles, columns, periodicals, Magazines, Internet and virtual sources. Write down rough notes, make sure keep record of resources of the stuff that where is it coming from? Which used and make note of title, author name website and its date and time in which it was assessed, publisher and date of publication. Make an essay plan, jotting down the order in which you want to present your information and idea, make sure order is logical and easy to follow for the reader. Each point on plan becomes a detailed paragraph in final essay. Write a good essay draft; follow correct essay layout and using formal simple and clear concise language while writing the draft. Keep rechecking your essay question to make sure that you stay on right track in answering the question. Also keep reading what you write to ensure that your idea and information link together and flow in logical order. Correct any mistakes in spelling as you go. Recheck the draft, making final correction to spelling, grammar, punctuation and paragraph layout. Ensure that introduction and conclusion are interesting that help to guide the reader into and out of essay”. (Wyldeck, 2008. P. 11) 2.1-What should be approach to write an effective essay? Writing an essay is same about finding right building blocks each time putting them together in coherent order or arranging the disordered puzzle to get the required sketch. In the same way that using the same raw materials is unlikely to result in two identical buildings. We can use
metaphors in this way to help understand how to develop structure and argument in our academic writing. (Crème & Lea, 1997.p 36) For me followings are the part and parcel components of any effective essay. • Structuring • Support • Model • Linking • Mixing • Body • Processing • Getting underneath • Centre • Construction • Shaping So if you have grip in utilizing the above components then no doubt there is a production of a very good piece of writing. Ignoring or inappropriate use of the above elements may result in failure to produce an effective essay. 3- Selecting a topic At post graduate level there are plenty of topics which can be considered to write an essay. But the final selection should be made upon such a topic where you have enough knowledge and interest throughout the writing process. And above all the importance of topic for you and the readers is also very crucial. Having very little knowledge about the subject matter always results in dissatisfaction of readers. Once you have chosen the topic then focus upon course of action. (Germov 2000.p98) As I learned from Foundation Of Scholarship class, there are four stages in constructing an effective essay, which are given below: • Collecting information and reading • Making an essay plan • Drafting • Revising/editing For this reason I have chosen the topic of Leadership with gender differences among various cultures. From Scot Johnson professional way of sharing knowledge and also from my previous studies, I was in a better position to grasp this topic. Though it is a very big debatable topic to cover in very short words count but still it is quite challengeable as well. And very interesting thing I believe in this topic is that leaders alter the fate of nation or organization. I shall try to prove this truth at later stage. 4- Considering the critics Critics are the disagreement with an idea or the state of Critical opinion about literary texts. Critics always stimulate the main ideas, to work on it again for reinventing in better ways. One important thing for critics is that it should be productive with solid grounds to highlight its weaknesses. On the other hand one should also appreciate the effort if it is quite realistic, so don’t quote/refer the critic. You can refer a critic in all circumstances in the following forms:
X says Y but I disagree as under. Or X says Y and this is true but I would develop it as follows. Or the effort made to prove this point is rather rational but… so you should have some sort of positive approach to conclude the topic. 5- How to develop an argument? One of the important element of writing is development of an argument. During classes of Antoinette her major focus was upon a solid argument because the whole research based upon this particular foundation. An argument can be presented in technical and particular ways. (Crème and Lea, 1997. P35) There are some examples given below to justify the argument. 1- The writing should show a sense of purpose, i.e. leading the reader step by step. 2- Defining the central idea with reasons for it and evidence to back it up and support it by acceptable evidences/references. 3- Writing should present logic for a particular viewpoint. 4- The writing is constructed in a particular way. 5- The ideas are put together in such a way that is obvious to reader. 5.1- What is my argument? My argument is that whether leadership styles exercised by man and women have different impact in different cultures. To support this idea the course of International Context of HRM was really helpful for me. Because in the class we had an extensive debate on managing across cultures and also I presented the case of Unilever Leadership to justify that how they are dealt with diverse environment. 5.1.1- Leadership “There are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept.”(Stogdill, 1974) There are approximately 8000 studies on leadership.(Bass & Stogdill) So there are thousands of definitions about this topic but I am going to discuss two of them which narrate this term more precisely. “The ability of an individual to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute towards the effectiveness and success of the organization”. (House et. al, 1999, P.184) “ The ability to step outside the culture … to start evolutionary change processes that are more adaptive.” (Schein, 1992, P.2) 6- Structure of an essay As a general rule, an essay should have three parts: an introduction, a summary which explain purpose of essay, describe the method used in investigation and finally give the main conclusion & recommendations. The main body consists of series of chapters in logical sequence, subject by subject, arranged so as to present first the findings or evidence, then an analysis of findings and finally the conclusion”. (Sussams, 1983.p 13) Once you have each piece of information in hand necessary to develop an essay, then there is the organisation of an essay i.e. at this point you are going to lay down the ideas in a very sensible way. 6.1 Binding/Cover/Folder
For some writers it is not very important to have an attractive or an expensive binding but simple and unique binding is suggested by every writer. 6.2 Title Page As the name implies Title page shows the topic or main issue of the essay, date and to whom it is for? 6.3- Abstract/ Executive summary The crux of whole essay is summed up in executive summary. Executive summary is the main theme of the whole essay by which reader can find out in short time span that what the essay is about. While making abstract or executive summary, make sure that it contains the following things.
• • •
Should be brief not more than one page. Should have the main issue or objective of the essay. Should be capable of standing alone. Should describe the critical aspects in effective way. Should have final conclusions and recommendations in a precise manner. 6.4- Contents Page
Detail of each topic by page number helps the reader to get through to it quickly. And that is the basic objective of table of contents. It is like a map to assist reader to get towards destination. 6.5 Introduction Introduction gives the background of the essay that includes: who asked for the essay? What was asked to do? i.e talking about the question posed. Brief introduction of the literature; What does the essay attempt to show? What are the main issues to be focused? What are the problems being catered in this particular piece of writing? As in my selected essay there was a precise debate upon the question raised about leadership, its styles and impacts upon diverse workforce across the cultures. 6.6 Body of the Essay This section should be divided into different parts including headed section and subsections, and defining the methods of research e.g. interviews, surveys, questionnaires, literature etc then findings of research. This section’s main focus is on a balanced and well presented facts and evidences in order. It should be started with main issues, their current state then main theories about those issues, relevant methods of investigation, findings and then recommendations.
6.6.1- Effective paragraphing
It is essential to develop the ability to write effective paragraphs. As the writing needs to be purposeful, precise and reader oriented, it is important to compose paragraphs that are clear, cohesive, concise and result oriented. Paragraph writing is a significant production skill, integrating both composing and organizing skills. In order to write an effective paragraph, a careful writing plan should be adapted to ensure proper length, unity, coherence, logical development and organization of ideas. (Dr. Shivali Singh, 2008) For this purpose I have done something quite uniquely, though to cover such a vast topic is quite difficult and time oriented but by going through various sources I was in apposition to have as much information as possible. 6.7- What is my approach? It is quite common perception that leaders are always lead towards success. But from my view point it is not true at all. There are certain theories in this regard. It is better to fall among crows than flatterers; for those devour only the dead – these the living.( ANTISTHENES) Beware of what you want – for you will get it. (RALPH WALDO EMERSON) He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody. (JOSEPH HELLER) Having laid the foundation with that discussion, let’s go back to the question of leadership and start with the basics. What does leadership imply? What does it consist of? What are leaders supposed to do? Perhaps I can present this issue in an even simpler, more personal way: What do you do when you arrive at your office? What do you find important? What do you spend your time on as an executive? What elusive leadership qualities manifest themselves in your daily work at the office? I also tried to pointed out the study made by various academics that the hierarchy also matters in leadership approaches. “generally there are significant differences in the leadership styles between senior and first-level managers, but not between senior and middlelevel managers or between middle and first-level managers” (Titus Oshaghbemi,2003.p.93) So keeping in mind the few approaches I was really confused to work upon which one particularly. But the beauty of an essay is always rested in cohesion of ideas. 7- Critical Evaluation The ability to critically evaluate information is an essential skill for postgraduate researchers. This skill is particularly pertinent to the production of literature reviews, where a critical appraisal or analysis of the literature is required. By evaluating the writing critically you are in a better position to defend the weaknesses as well. There are some ways recommended by academics to evaluate an essay. (i) Provenance: The provenance is a piece of information (i.e. who produced it? Where did it come from? It represents the ‘credentials’ of a piece of information that support its status and perceived value. It is, therefore, very important to be able to identify the author, sponsoring body or source of your information. Keeping in mind the work done by others, stealing it without mentioning their name is ‘plagiarism’, which is illicit by law. Apart from above the authentication of the sources is also very important element of essay writing. Only reliable sources are appreciated by academics. Though the internet is considered the best invention of the modern world but in terms of plagiarism it is at forefront, which is actually misuse made by its users. (ii) Relevance: It is an important aspect of information quality. It is not a property of the information itself, but rather of its relationship to the need you are identifying. It may be a piece of high quality information but not relevant to the question you are asking or the scope of your research. There are a number of ways in which the information
may or may not be relevant to your needs so I am not going into details of those ways. Objectivity: In an ideal world, ‘objective’ or ‘balanced’ information would present all the evidence and all the arguments, and leave you to weigh this up and draw conclusions. Without objective you can’t reach to your aims.(discussed in David’s lecture) Presentation: The way in which information is presented has a profound effect on the way we receive and perceive it. Methodology used: I used both quantitative and qualitative approach in shape of primary and secondary data. And I studied theories of Leadership from books, online journals and web sites by famous theorists and then tried to justify each of them keeping in mind the question raised in the beginning.
8- Putting Down the Conclusion “The conclusion is a piece of writing which is your last opportunity to bring together what you have been saying in a form that will tell your reader, “This is really where all that I have been saying and leading, this is what I want to say to reader, to think at the end of my essay” this final statement must arise out of the piece of writing itself. The whole essay has been devoted to demonstrating this idea, which refers back to the title and which is clearly the chapters central idea”. (Crème & Lea, 1997.p 115) what the conclusion may do: ✔ Summarize the answer to questions the assignments set out to address, signalled in introductory session. ✔ Refer back to question posed in the title and show that it has been answered properly. ✔ Give sense to the ending ✔ Point out the assignments has and has not answered and the reason for not attempting. ✔ Show that the writer has done what he/she proposed to do. Summing up what actually you found out from this research is the main part of conclusions, related with main issues and your findings with actual theories defined by previous specialists by the reference of the introduction. 9- Recommendations/Suggestions This is the most important section of the essay where you suggest or recommend anything that should be done from your side, where is the improvement needed? What actions should be taken? What will be the after effects/results? It should be more relevant and specific in terms of related evidences because recommendations are always supported by full-fledged evidences. 10- Editing The last but not least stage of clarification and refining are the editing stages. Editing means several things, but a handy working definition would be to prepare a piece of writing to be read by public. In other words to check your essay over to make it as professional and polished as possible, editing operates on two levels the Macro and Micro levels. Macro editing looks at big picture, particularly the structure of essay answering the question, and discussion of points. Does conclusion refer to main points raised in introduction? Are there any important details missing? While Micro editing looks at the finer details such as grammar, spell check, appearance, coherence and punctuation, and most of this is done at final draft stage, polishing the essay before it is handed up. (McLaren, 2001.p 15)
10.1- Evaluating own effort
As I have emphasized before, all aspects of writing an essay can take place at different points. This is equally true of reviewing it. You will certainly need to do this at end of an essay but it is likely that you may well also do it before you reach the final stage. Here is checklist for reviewing your work. (Crème & Lea, 1997.p 117) 11- Referencing and Bibliography Finally give the names of the authors of the books, articles which you have cited for doing the research. These should be in proper conventional form so that reader can easily check the reference if required. The best way to cite the references is Howard referencing system which is quite common among academics. Actually it’s about delivering factual information done by whom? In Howard referencing technique the name of the author(s) usually surname/initials, year of publication is given immediately after the text and page number(s). But the full references are given at the end in such a way i.e. author(s) name/initials year of publication/amendment, for books as well as for journals, title of article, name of journal or book, volume/part of journals and pages from where it was extracted. Place of publication and publisher e.g.: Grieves, Jim (2003) Strategic Human Resource Development. London, Sage.
References and Bibliography
Courtland L.Bovee, John V.Thill, Barbara E. Schatzman, Business Communication Today 9th Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey. Stogdill Ralph, M (1974) A HANDBOOK OF LEADERSHIP, free press New York ISBN 002931660X John E. Sussams, (1993) How to write effective Reports 3rd Edition, Ashgate Publishers Farnham. Edgar H. Schein,(1992) Organizational Culture and Leadership 2nd Edition, Jossey-Bass publisher, California Gordon Taylor (1990). The student writing guide for the arts and social sciences, cambidge university press. ISBN: 0521-360056 Phyllis crème & Mary R. Lea (1997). Writing at university a guide for student, open university press. ISBN: 0335-213251 John Germoy (2000). Get great marks for your essay, published by Allen and unwin. ISBN: 1865-08204X Stephen McLaren (2001). Essay writing made easy, published by Pascal press ISBN: 1740202805 Kathi wyldeck (2008). How to write an essay, published by Lulu. John E. Sussams (1983). How to write effective reports, published by nichlos publishing company. ISBN: 0-566-023237 Jane, Oates and Flores (1995), Women’s leadership styles: a heuristic analysis volume 10 No.2 9-16 Titus Oshagbemi (2004) The Leadership & Organization Development Journal Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 93-106 Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0143-7739 DOI 10.1108/01437730410512796 R. House et, al(2000) journal of world businesses, volume 37 pp 1-3 Article written by John Adair in Sunday Times back in 2005 http://www.articlesbase.com/article-marketing-articles/how-to-writeeffective-paragraph39067.html 25 November 11:10 Am http://www.howtowriteessay.net/essay-help/critical-evaluation/ 23 November 16:10 pm I have also consulted notes from the classes of FoS and OB &L.
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