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Essay Writing

Advanced ?
 Higher (stage 3 or PG study)

Advanced Essay Writing  Substantial argument

 Longer (4000-6000 words)
 Planning
 Time management
Angela Koch
 Deeper
A.Koch@kent.ac.uk
 More research
Student Learning Advisor
 Better use of sources
Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching  Critical analysis

But still ...
Basics of a good essay
Too
1. Focuses on the question/ task journalistic!
2. Has a clear structure - easy to follow
3. Is well researched - evidence based
4. Adheres to academic conventions
5.Is correctly referenced
6.Is well presented – word limit, page
numbering, margins, line spacing, font type,
spelling …
There’s no clear argument!

Time management Choosing from a list of questions
• Time-manage the whole process  long or short questions?
 allocate a specific block of time for each stage
 „early‟ or „late‟ (in the course) questions?
http://www.kent.ac.uk/ai/ask/index.php
 stick to your timings!
 Interest over „marker-friendliness‟?
 Allocated at least 4 weeks  Don‟t be afraid of difficulty!
 Avoid switching from stage to stage…  Motivation is important for a longer piece of writing
 Your writing will be „genuine‟
 Do not rush …  Likely to get higher marks
 stages 5 (referencing) & 6 (editing)
> lose marks & potential for unintentional
plagiarism

1

school of thought overlooked  Bring in new data •Kyoto protocol  Set a new context • 2012 .Essay Writing Instruction verbs Deconstructing the question descriptive/factual analytical discussing define analyse criticise  Context and background? describe compare discuss  Key words? illustrate contrast evaluate outline explain justify  Key instruction words? (implicit or explicit) review appraise predict analyse justify criticise discuss state relate estimate evaluate relate describe trace test argue summarise interpret examine So. what is the question asking you to do? indicate question judge identify assess Choosing your own questions Creating your own questions  What am I interest in? Climate change  What am I interest in?  What can I achieve in the given time? Library research  What can I achieve in the given time?  Is there enough material available? should be  Is there enough material available? Formulating the question:  Topic/ area of interest End of Kyoto Protocol Formulating the question:  What about it? Has it been successful? In what way?  Narrow/ specific/ related to theory or current debate  Narrow/ specific/ related to theory or debate Emissions trading . economic growth  Keep wording open until settle on your arguments  Main title/ sub-question Emissions trading and its impact on developing countries: has inflow of capital stimulated economic growth? Your argument Your argument  Hook it up to a reference point  Take a new angle  A core concern in your discipline  Bring in authors/ ideas/ aspects that have been  A certain author. sustainable  In question format development. impact on developing nations. contradictions. conflict  By expanding or twisting something •Fair deal for „selling nations‟? •Economic growth without carbon emissions? •Impact on emerging industries in Africa •Impact of current economic crisis? •China‟s investments in Africa (exporting carbon emissions) 2 . view point.new agreement?  Take an interdisciplinary approach  „Mutate‟ existing approach  Identify „cracks‟  By inserting something new  Tensions.

criticalreading. flaws ? http://www.co.php trading is having little or no impact on the economic development of African nations.kent. concepts. conference  Record sources papers. government  full bibliographical details publications… Engage critically: bias. reflective.definitely/ should/ maybe. analytical reading • Emotional involvement  identify a line of reasoning • Ignorance  identify evidence • Prejudice  identify assumptions • Lack of focus or attention to detail  Identify conclusion  Identify the author‟s „intentions‟ • Focus on facts only • Understanding „critical‟ as purely negative  evaluating information & ideas • Awe of experts.. Researching the Topic Reading  Reading list  Think before you read  Library catalogue (incl. opinions … (paraphrased  Good variety (types and angles) or summarized in your own words) Books. stats & facts  Google scholar http://scholar.uk/ai/ask/index. reports. unpublished work. Online)  Think while you are reading!  Subject Librarians  Keep question(s) in mind while reading  Bibliographies of sources  Take „relevant‟ notes only  Internet :  key quotations (exact wording/ page number)  Dedicated database  data.google. reluctance to critique experts interpret these & reflect on their validity • Lack of practice • within the text and within the wider context (prior reading and understanding of the world ) 17 18 3 .Essay Writing Formulating your argument Planning your research  Take a position  What do I know?  Back up your views with reference  Which questions do I need to find answers to? to empirical evidence  theoretical or conceptual context  Engage with debate/theory  also note down counter argument(s)  What is my answer (likely to be)? & evidence)  What kind of evidence do I need to support my  Be explicit argument?  This essay will argue that .com/ Critical Reading Possible barriers to critical  discovering information & ideas reading & thinking  careful.ac.  What will I to need read? . active. journal articles. insights. if time  In this essay it will be argued that  When will I do these things? This essay will argue that capital flow generated by emissions  http://www. research papers. hidden agenda.uk  ideas..

e. ideas. tendencies. some are predetermined. This essay will …  Engage with theory  Indicate evidence used  Explain why you use theory  Relate to contemporary theories  Indicate limitations (not too many and only those you understand) Paragraphing … Paragraph structure: topic sentence Factors that influence teenagers to smoke are complex and numerous.  Topic sentence Others can be affected through program implementation or policy initiatives such as prohibition of cigarette sales to minors or education about the evidence  Supporting sentences that effects of smoking. family background. Lin Z and Keeler TE (1998) „Teenage Smoking. and other social and environmental factors. competence in evidence learning and value judgment. and academic success. the less likely they are is to become smokers. the „California Youth Tobacco Survey‟ looked explain and expand the topic sentence… into the relationship between school performance. comment Source: Hu TW.Essay Writing Generic Essay Plan Making an essay plan Introduction (5-10% of words) Consider: Body decide on:  Word limit .issues. smoking. causality. evidence  Possible line of reasoning  Areas to be covered Conclusion (5-10% of words) References .g.possible line of reasoning  Readership . and ethnicity. such as age. examples. implications etc. structures thoughts and helps the reader more They include socio-demographic characteristics. and attempts  Evidence that supports the supporting sentences to quit smoking among teenagers¹. the better students do academically. In 1990.  Include a Thesis statement or your argument proposition.number of paragraphs  Your argument . It accepted that a student's school  Evaluation of that evidence. That is. School  Link to the next paragraph performance can be viewed as a broad indicator that reflects traits such as evaluation of general educational commitment.)  Outline of main ideas  Identify trends. and where possible a performance is inversely related to smoking status. developments etc. insights. Am J Public Health8 8 (6) 940 & link 4 . Attempts to Quit and School Performance‟. It is therefore Paragraphs must have STEEL important to investigate in detail the issue of school performance in relation to smoking status. gender. Among One key idea per paragraph: these factors. conclusions. details school performance. motivation.list of your sources Introduction Body  Constantly return to your argument  Interpretation of the question/ title  Everything you say needs to serve a function  Explanation of key terms  Use evidence from a variety of sources  Presentation of background and context  Present an overview of the discussion so far  Link to module‟s themes/ topics/ theories  Present critical analysis (of facts.

or incorrectly. to avoid direct quotes. can’t possibly say it any  Discuss them better Included in word count?  Explain the (historical/ conceptual/ theoretical) context  Summarise: give shortened version of original  Group sources (school of thought/ focus) (written or spoken)  Be critical  to give background information  identify the author‟s argument  Paraphrase: present original (written or spoken)  evaluate their evidence in your own words  evaluate their methodology  when original idea is more important than original  identify any bias/ hidden agenda wording.. referenced Using sources Engaging with your sources  Quote: repeat exact words (written or spoken) Don‟t just mention works or studies . revert to  Remind the reader of the limitations writing in sequence.  Present of overall evaluation  More substantial editing later  State your position  Revise.  as evidence. reconsider and rewrite what you have  Address wider implications (suggestions) done  NO NEW INFORMATION  Fill in any gaps and make connection  Signposting/ signaling Referencing Plagiarism …  All academic writing needs to observe the • Intentional: rules of academic integrity • Other people‟s text or ideas copied but (proper & transparent acknowledgement of sources) presented as own work • Unintentional:  To avoid accusation of PLAGIARISM • Other people‟s text or ideas have been  To demonstrate your understanding paraphrased badly  To provide authority/credibility • Other people‟s text or ideas have been paraphrased but were not. illustration. to demonstrate your  evaluate applicability & validity understanding of the issue 5 .Essay Writing Conclusion Drafting/ writing  Link to title and introduction  Start anywhere  Rephrase your argument  Write up individual paragraphs  Discuss your argument in light of the evidence  Light edit after each writing session and analysis  Once your ideas have begun to „flow‟..

Essay Writing How to reference? Editing in text  A bit after each writing session  form depends on the referencing style  Read though your document  author date page number or footnotes¹ or number  Does it answer the question/ address the system task? „after‟ text  Does it flow? Is there a logic?  Reference list or Bibliography  Is all the information relevant?  each source on a new line  Are all claims back up?  Are all sources acknowledged?  Consult your school‟s handbook or http://www. generalisations) have the final word on the subject  Conclusion .uk pronouns (use plurals instead)  In-text citation ....ac.phrasebank.List of references • Check discipline-specific conventions • Use technical terms correctly Academics use „hedging‟ Changing tenses . „we‟ or „you‟ numbering/your details/cover sheet …) • Do not confuse evidence. assumption and  Spelling/grammar/punctuation/syntax opinion  Academic style • Watch personal pronouns and gendered http://www.relating historical events (scholarly discussion of past  to tone down statements in order to reduce the risk of events) opposition  Methodology – past (what was done)  Results – past (what was found out)  to let their readers to know that they do not claim to  Discussion .kent.uk/ai  Word limit? +/.present (significance.. present perfect … these countries' populations even more”. or arguably. it has become conventionalized.... facts) Also.ac.  present (current issues.manchester.5% Proof reading Academic style/ conventions  Proof read your essay  read it out aloud • Avoid contractions “can‟t or isn‟t”  be systematic • Avoid emotive language “ a really good idea”  Check • Avoid „chatty‟ language “loads of”  Layout • Avoid clichés “at the end of the day” (the title/ margins/line spacing/ font types & size/page • Avoid „I‟ .longer document  to distinguish between facts and claims  Intro – mix  past ( background) it seems likely that. facts) “Our results seem to suggest that in less industrialised countries the  simple future (to indicate structure) extensive use of land to grow exportation products tends to impoverish  Literature review – present.  simple future (to indicate structure) 6 .  Past .mix  to appear humble rather than arrogant or all-knowing  past ( background)  present (current issues.

uk  Follow up with your markers  for clarification  for learning Slides will be available at  NOT for change of mark http://www.kent.ac.ac.uk/learning/programmes/index.Koch@kent.Essay Writing Learning from Feedback Any Questions?  Pick up your marked assignments  Engage with the feedback Get in touch: A.html  Implement improvements with new essay  Come and see a learning advisor in SLAS Good luck ! 7 .