Even if you do come across a lot of interesting material when researching for your essay, be selective.Interesting material won’t gain you extra marks unless it is relevant.The following is based on an original document by Bethan Davies with revisions by John Mc Kenna, D. Bard of the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.
Possible options (among many) for getting started include: • list the points you intend to cover, then try to group them according to some common factor • summarize your answer to the question in one line, then list the evidence you have for that conclusion (strongest evidence first?
) • start writing and see what develops • summarize each intended paragraph in one line, and see how they relate to the question • write a series of separate paragraphs (one for each area you want to cover), each on a separate piece of paper, and then try to order them • leave the introduction and conclusion until you’ve written the rest of the essay (a strong favourite) 2.3 Relevance to Question Although this may sound obvious, a lot of essays lose marks for containing material that is simply irrelevant.
Approaches vary from person to person and will depend on one’s experience in essay writing, almost to the point where a style of writing will be as individual as a signature.
You may already be quite comfortable writing essays and if so, you will have a definite feel for what works for you.
2 Preparation 2.1 Time Management Allow yourself enough time.
If you work continuously on your essay right up to the deadline, there is a very high likelihood that you won’t have done yourself (or the topic) justice. Aim to have what you subjectively feel is a “final” draft at least two days before the submission deadline.
The whole process is very much an iterative one and you should expect to be writing more than one draft.
As you are required to process your work electronically, editing and re-drafting is a relatively easy task.
3.1.1 Introduction In your introduction, say: • what the essay is about; e.g., “In this essay I shall consider the question of ….” • what material you intend to cover; e.g., “I will look at ….” • what argument you intend to follow; e.g., “I will suggest that ….” Finally, make it clear where your introduction ends and the rest of your essay begins; i.e., start a new paragraph!
3.1.2 Body of the Essay A well-structured essay should consist of a series of paragraphs that progress logically through the series of points that you intend to cover.