Barass p80 makes the simple but valid statement, that:. The tutors reading and marking your essays deserve your consideration. They will be reading and marking many, many student essays. If you make your argument hard to follow, so that they need to re-read a paragraph or more to try to make sense of what you have written, you will cause irritation, and make their job slower.
Realistically, it is possible that they may even decide not to make that effort. Your tutors will not necessarily be looking for the perfect, revolutionary, unique, special essay; they would be very happy to read a reasonably well-planned, well-argued and well-written essay. They will not want to pull your essay to pieces. They would much rather enjoy reading it, and be satisfied by the thread of your argument. In the words of a tutor:. A powerful introduction is invaluable. It can engage your readers, and can give them confidence that you have thought carefully about the title, and about how you are going to address it.
A useful generic structure is to:. It may be possible to use only one paragraph for your introduction, but it may fall more easily into two or more. You will need to adapt and extend this basic structure to fit with your own discipline and the precise task set. Here is an example of an introduction for an essay entitled:. Although the introduction appears at the beginning of your essay, you may prefer to write it towards the end of the drafting process:.
Questions to ask of your introduction and conclusion may be useful. The middle part of the essay must fulfil the promises made in your introduction , and must support your final conclusions. Failure to meet either or both of these requirements will irritate your reader, and will demonstrate a lack of self-critique and of editing. The central part of your essay is where the structure needs to do its work, however explicit or implicit your chosen structure may be. The structure you choose needs to be one that will be most helpful to you in addressing the essay title.
The content of this central part will probably contain: ideas; explanations; evidence; relevant referencing; and relevant examples. It will be characterised by:. Questions to ask of your essay content may be useful. A powerful conclusion is a valuable tool. The aim is to leave your reader feeling that you have done a good job.
A generic structure that you may find useful is:. The study guide What is critical writing? With critical writing, you are doing work with the evidence you are using, by adding a level of examination and evaluation. Questions to ask about your level of critical writing may be useful. Another useful tool to support critical writing is the paragraph! Aim to present one idea per paragraph. Within the paragraph you could:. Finally, you need to take a break from your essay so that you can return to it with fresh eyes for the final editing.
Use effective paragraph structure to explain and support your thesis statement.
They are absolutely crucial because it is only at this stage that the student can see that the argument hangs together, has a sequence and is well-expressed. Editing is both difficult and important. Yes, editing is important, but no it does not need to be difficult. Also, criticising your writing tends to be easier than creating it in the first place.
The study guide: The art of editing and the sheet: Questions to ask when editing may be useful. A tutor can learn a worrying amount about the quality of your essay simply from how it looks on the page. The lengths of paragraphs; the lengths of sentences; the neatness of the reference list; the balance of length between different sections; all offer insight into the kind of essay they are about to read.
Shorter words are often preferable to longer words, unless there is some specific vocabulary that you need to include to demonstrate your skill. Short to middle length sentences are almost always preferable to longer ones. And over-long paragraphs tend to demonstrate that you are not clear about the specific points you are making.
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Of course, these are general points, and there may be some occasions, or some subject areas, where long paragraphs are appropriate. Accurate grammar and spelling are important. Consistently poor grammar or spelling can give the impression of lack of care, and lack of clarity of thought. Careless use of commas can actually change the meaning of a sentence.
And inaccurate spelling and poor grammar can make for very irritating reading for the person marking it. This practice is now widely accepted where it makes good sense. It is however possible that some tutors may still prefer not to see it. The title is the most important guidance you have. The task ahead is nothing more and nothing less than is stated in the title. When in doubt about any aspect of your reading for the essay, or about your writing, the first step is to go back and consult the essay title. This can be surprisingly helpful. It informs directly: the choice of reading; the structure you choose for the essay; which material to include and exclude; what to do with the material you use; and how to introduce and conclude.
A relevant and useful structure to support the presentation of your response to the title is vital. Expect to undertake an iterative process of planning, reading, drafting, reviewing, planning, reading, re-drafting, and editing. Barass R, Students must write: a guide to better writing in coursework and examinations. London: Methuen. Buckingham: Open University Press. Stott R, The essay writing process.
Chapter 3 pp In Making your case: a practical guide to essay writing. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. Email: studyhelp if you are a University of Leicester student please use your University email address Keep in touch via:. Personal tools Web Editor Log in. Search Site only in current section. Advanced Search…. Search Site. For a printer-friendly PDF version of this guide, click here.
Examine and compare the nature and development of the tragic figures of Macbeth and Dr Faustus in their respective plays. Are the key concepts or ideas contentious or open to interpretation? Will the key concepts need to be defined and explained? Indicate what you will cover and a brief overview of the structure of your essay.
Throughout the introduction: points made should be supported by evidence clear links should be made to the question. Note: Introductions may not cover all of these elements, and they may not be covered in this order. In this activity, you will review and evaluate introductions you have written, identifying areas for improvement.
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Which of the features do they use? Are any elements missing? How might you improve them? Functions of an introduction It can establish the overall topic and explain the relevance and significance of the essay question to that topic It can briefly explain the background and context and define the scope of the discussion It can highlight key concepts or ideas It can signpost the broad organisational structure of the essay. For the following tasks, you will be using an example introduction from one of the following three faculties. Select a faculty to use an introduction from a corresponding subject.
In this activity, you will look at examples of introductions, identifying key features and their purpose. Sociology: Examine some of the factors that influence procrastination in individuals, exploring and evaluating their impact. Identify an area s for future research, justifying your choice. Procrastination is a complex concept which manifests itself in different types of behaviour yet is experienced by individuals universally. The influences on procrastination are multi-faceted, which makes their study incredibly challenging.
Researchers are now producing a body of work dedicated to procrastination; including meta-analyses such as those by Varvaricheva and Smith Influences on procrastination can be considered in two categories, factors with external, environmental, sources and factors with internal sources due to individual differences. However, these external and environmental categories are not completely independent of one another and this essay will seek to explore the complexities of this interdependence. This essay will discuss how different factors influence individual procrastination, by first examining how gender, age and personality affect the procrastination trait under internal factors, before discussing the external factors; how task aversiveness, deadlines and the internet affect procrastination behavioural outcomes.
This will be followed by a brief exploration of how the two interact. Finally there a number of gaps in the literature, which suggest avenues for future research. Click on the Next arrow to match each section of this introduction with a description of its purpose. Signposts the broad organisational structure of the essay.
Narrows the topic and explains its relevance or significance to current debates. Defines the scope of the discussion. Establishes the topic and explains its broad significance. Defines key concepts.
How to Structure an Essay: Writing in Context
Click to highlight the places where the introduction below links closely to the question. Have another go. You can remove the highlighting on sections by clicking on them again. What does the introduction use evidence for? Define key concepts Establish the topic and explain its relevance or significance. Click to highlight the places where the introduction below supports points with evidence. Nursing: Drawing on your own experiences and understanding gained from the module readings, discuss and evaluate the values, attributes and behaviours of a good nurse.
Student nurses are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the need for these key skills even at the interview stage and then gain the experiences to develop certain fundamental attributes, values and behaviours in order to advance through the stages of nursing.
This assignment will highlight a variety of values, attributes and behaviours a good nurse should have, focusing on courage in particular. This will be demonstrated using observations from practice, appropriate theorists such as Sellman , Lachman and philosophers including Aristotle and Ross Explains the context to the discussion, with reference to the workplace. Defines the scope of the discussion by narrowing it. Defines relevant key concepts or ideas. Define relevant key concepts or ideas Signpost the broad organisational structure of the essay, making a clear link to the question.
Archaeology: Explain some of the ways in which Star Carr has been re-interpreted since the initial discovery in the s. Briefly evaluate how the results of recent excavations further dramatically affect our understanding of this site. First excavated by Grahame Clark in , there was a further invasive investigation in and , again in , and An impressive haul of artefacts have been excavated over the years, including bone and antler tools, barbed points, flint tools and microliths, and enigmatic red deer frontlets Milner et al. This discussion will explore the ways in which the site has been variously re-interpreted during this time period, and consider how more recent study of the site has prompted new perspectives.
Explains the background to the discussion and its significance. Establishes the topic. Explains the scope of the topic and highlights key interpretations. Establish the topic, explains the background and significance Explains the significance of the topic Highlights key interpretations. This section will: Explain the different elements a typical paragraph can include. Provide example s , evidence or data to support the point you are making. Evidence should be relevant, from an authoritative source, and appropriately referenced. In this section you will consider the different functions a conclusion can fulfil, look at examples of conclusions, and identify key features and their purpose.
A conclusion can fulfil the functions below. These often move from a narrow focus on the outcomes of the discussion to a broad view of the topic's relevance to the wider context. This might involve restating the scope of the discussion and clarifying if there any limitations of your discussion or of the evidence provided This may include synthesising the key arguments and weighing up the evidence.
Having weighed up the evidence, come to a judgement about the strength of the arguments. Make recommendations or indicate the direction for further study, if applicable. Note: Conclusions may not cover all of these elements, and they may not be covered in this order. Where relevant, points made should be supported by evidence Clear links should be made to the question Do not make new points in the conclusion.
In this activity, you will look at an example conclusion, identifying key features and their purpose. In this task, you will be using an example conclusion from one of the following three faculties. Select a faculty to use a conclusion from a corresponding subject. In conclusion procrastination is a complex psychological phenomenon that is influenced by a number of factors, both internal and external. However it has a hugely multifaceted nature and the factors that influence it are not truly independent of one another.
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Character traits and the environmental impact on behaviour are interrelated; for example similar procrastination outcomes may arise from a highly conscientious individual in a distracting environment and an individual low in conscientiousness in a non-distracting setting. This means that future studies need to be very considered in their approach to separating, or controlling for, these factors.
These further studies are important and urgently needed as the impact of procrastination on society is far-reaching. For instance: individuals delay contributing to a pension, meaning that old age may bring poverty for many; couples put off entering into formal contracts with each other, potentially increasing disputes over child custody and inheritance; and indeed women delay starting a family and increasing age leads to decreased fertility, thus leading to higher societal costs of providing assisted fertilisation. Furthermore one could expand the scope to include the effects on children of being born to older parents such as risks of inherited genetic defects.
These are themselves wide fields of study and are mentioned merely to illustrate the importance of further research.
Essay Structure |
Until the nature of influences on procrastination is fully understood, our development of approaches to reduce procrastination is likely to be hindered. Click on the Next arrow to match each section of the conclusion with a description of its purpose. Synthesises the key arguments and weighs up the evidence.
Indicates limitations. Restates the scope of the discussion. Indicates the direction and significance for further study. Summary of the main point in relation to the question. As discussed in this assignment, courage is likewise an important attribute for a good nurse to possess and could be the difference between good and bad practice. It is significantly important that nurses speak up about bad practice to minimize potential harm to patients.
However nurses do not need to raise concerns in order to be courageous, as nurses must act courageously every day. Although students find it difficult to challenge more senior nursing professionals, they could also benefit from learning the acronym to help them as they progress through their career. For nursing students, courage could be seen as a learning development of the ability to confront their fear of personal emotional consequences from participating in what they believe to be the right action.
On the whole a range of values, attributes and behaviours are needed in order to be a good nurse, including being caring, honest, compassionate, reliable and professional.
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