Analyse a particular circumstance?
Evaluate the usefulness of a particular concept? These are some of the common phrases found in essay questions, and each indicates a different set of expectations. If you are asked to critically evaluate a particular theoretical approach, for instance, you have to gain an understanding not only of said theory, but also other common approaches.
They must all be weighed against each other, highlighting the relative strengths and weaknesses of each theory and, importantly, you must come to a well-justified and confident conclusion. Is the theory good? What are its flaws? How can it be improved? Yes, you should still acknowledge alternative approaches, and yes, you should still note some strengths and weaknesses — but the bulk of the work must emphasise the concepts practical usefulness. Perhaps the best approach is to find one, or a few, case studies where the theory has been used — what was the outcome of this? Does the application of the theory reveal any particular shortcomings, or strengths?
It is important to show that you understand both or all core theories in great depth, both on a theoretical and applied level. In essence, the wording of the essay question will tell you how the essay should be written. It will indicate where the focus of your essay should lie as you research and write.
Understanding the question is the first step, but it is equally important that you make efficient use of the available time. Students often underestimate the amount of work required to write a good essay, which results in two things: 1 late nights at the library, and 2 a disappointing grade.
At some point, most university students will start to become inundated with essays and assignments.
If you want to achieve a good mark, you should start planning your essay the moment you receive the essay question. The following table may be a useful aid:. It is also important that you leave time, ideally a couple of days, between finishing your first draft and proofreading. Perfect theories and academic approaches are rare — the clear majority of theories, arguments, and studies have flaws.
Being descriptive is fine if you are looking to scrape a pass, but for a higher grade you need to show that you are able to leverage critical reasoning in your dealing with academic materials. What are the limitations of the theories you are drawing on? How have these been dealt with in the literature? How do they impact the quality of arguments presented, and to what extent do they limit our understanding of what you are studying?
What alternate explanations might offer additional depth? Critical thinking is what will make your essay stand out. This is important at the start, but also throughout your writing, as it can be easy to drift away and waste valuable words from your word limit by writing material that may be interesting, but which is not relevant to the title set. The Mini Guide: Essay terms explained , and Questions to ask about interpreting essay titles may be useful.
It can be a way of making a lot of progress quite quickly. It can be stressful and very difficult trying to work out solely in your mind how to tackle an essay title; asking yourself questions such as: What structure should I use? What are my main points? What reading do I need to do? Have I got enough evidence?
It can be much less stressful to throw all your thoughts down on paper, before you start trying to find answers to these questions. In these early stages of your thinking you may not be sure which of your ideas you want to follow up and which you will be discarding. Instead, you can catch all of your ideas, in no particular order, on a sheet or two of A4.
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Once they are down there it will be easier for you to start to review them critically and to see where you need to focus your reading and note taking. Essentially, this is what you are doing within the essay process: breaking ideas down, then building them up again.
Structuring your essay
You need to:. Throughout this process, the essay title is the single immovable feature. You begin there; you end there; and everything in between needs to be placed in relation to that title. All three of the processes described above will inform your decisions about what you need to read for a particular essay. If left unplanned, the reading stage can swallow up huge amounts of time. Fortunately, there is scope for developing efficiency in several ways:.
While a certain level of efficiency is desirable, it is also important to remain flexible enough to identify relevant and interesting ideas that you had not anticipated. You can use the writing process to help you think through, clarify and develop your early ideas about how you might respond to the title that has been set:.
As with teaching, it is often not until you try to communicate an argument and its evidence that you find where the gaps are in your knowledge or argument.
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Writing is an active and constructive process; it is not merely a neutral recording of your thoughts. It is therefore useful to go into the writing process expecting to make revisions. The first words you write do not have to be part of the final version. Editing your writing as you develop your ideas is a positive not a negative process: the more you cross out, re-write, and re-order, the better your essay should become.
All essays need structure. The structure may be strong and clear, or it may be unobtrusive and minimal but, in a good essay, it will be there. Again this may be strong and obvious, or it may be almost invisible, but it needs to be there.
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However, even in those essays that appear to be highly creative, unscientific, or personal, an argument of some kind is being made. It is the argument, and how you decide to present and back up your argument, that will influence your decision on how to structure your essay. The essay structure is not an end in itself, but a means to an end: the end is the quality of the argument.
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By creating a relevant structure, you make it much easier for yourself to present an effective argument. There are several generic structures that can help you start to think about your essay structure e.
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These can be useful starting points, but you will probably decide to work with a more complicated structure e. In addition to these macro-structures you will probably need to establish a micro-structure relating to the particular elements you need to focus on e. You may feel that, for your particular essay, structures like these feel too rigid.
You may wish to create a more flexible or fluid structure. An analogy could be that of symphony writing. This set out a pattern for the numbers of movements within the symphony, and for the general structure of writing within each movement. The continued popularity of their work today shows that they clearly managed to achieve plenty of interest and variety within that basic structure.
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Later composers moved away from strict symphonic form. Some retained a loose link to it while others abandoned it completely, in favour of more fluid patterns. It would be rare, however, to find a symphony that was without structure or pattern of any kind; it would probably not be satisfactory either to play or to listen to. Similarly, a structure of some kind is probably essential for every essay, however revolutionary. The process of essay planning and writing does not need to be a linear process, where each stage is done only once.
It is often an iterative process i. A possible iterative process is:. This section heading is in quotes as it is also the heading of chapter 8, pages , in Barass Hey, is it even possible? Absolutely, when you love doing academic writing help and when you respect clients you work with, letting students pay less for content quality which is much higher than at similar services goes without saying.
These are the 5 key factors to determine the price. By default, academic essays are normally complete in nearly 5 hours. But should you seek to receive academic writing help faster, the deadline will become more urgent applying a slightly higher price. The more time a writer possesses to elaborate on your paper, the better end price will be.