Undergraduate students should aim to understand what is a good essay and how to write a good essay. Study Coach is online, meaning that our email service is open 24/7 so simply send us an email and connect with us; alternatively, give us a call during office hours or send a text and we will respond. The question of how to write an essay introduction is often asked, we will attempt in this academic blog to give students some guidance on how to write an essay.
How to Write an Essay — The Title
Every essay title contains an actual or implied question. In order to do well, students must ensure that the whole of the essay is focused on the essay title and students must ensure that all aspects of the essay question asked is addressed. It is worthwhile consulting with a Study Skills Handbook to help reinforce why it is important to pay close attention to the essay title. Take a look at sub-headings in books to identify content on how to write an essay.
How to Write an Essay Introduction
In the essay introduction you need to explain what the essay is going to do. Universities will usually provide a word count guide for first year students to help with planning the essay. For example, the guide might say: ‘introduction, approximate 300 words’. Do remember this is a guide, you can write under or over 300 words. The introduction should explain the aim of the assignment, by including a brief explanation of the essay subject and you should outline the contents you intend to cover. The introductory paragraph should explain how you interpret the question, and students should identify issues that they intend to explore in the body of the essay. The introduction should therefore provide a brief outline of how you will deal with each issue identified from analysing the essay title/question and say in which order you will present the issues. The aim is to briefly discuss what the research is about, say why it is important or significant?
If you have been asked to state your proposal or hypotheses, then do so, ensure that it is brief, say what you’re going to show or hope to support. Try not to use the term ‘prove’ if you are dealing with theoretical ideas.
How to Write a good Essay
Analysing the title is important to how to write a good essay, however the essay title is worded you will find that all assignment titles contain a central question which has to be answered. The student’s main task is to apply what you know to the particular problem. Do note that it is not to show how much you know, meaning it is not about writing everything you know about the topic, however brilliant your piece of writing is, if it does not answer the question you may get no marks at all. Students are marked partly on how well they select and organise information to meet the requirements of the title or problem, in order to write a good essay, students therefore need to keep focused on the question asked.
Keeping the focus on set questions is also important when preparing and sitting exams. During exams use the title or question to guide you to recall relevant information and to write a good essay answer or short answer.
Essay Writing — Focus on the Title
Keep the focus on the title, put the title where you can see it easily and keep checking the exact wording as you research and write, through constantly reminding yourself of the exact wording of the title it will help to keep you on track in view of the assessment criteria. It is easy to forget the focus of the title and drift off on a tangent, particularly if you have other assignments to submit and other workload.
Time management is important when writing essays, it is therefore essential to make time to ensure you understand what is required for essay writing. It is advisable when starting to plan an essay to read the title around three times, you could underline or highlight words which indicates the approach to take. You can also underline words which guides you on how to select the subject matter of the assignment, write out the title to help you make sense of it, note how many sections are there to it, and when writing the title rephrase it into your own words. Consider what is the assignment really looking for? What are the central questions to be found in the main question and what topical questions (if any) does it refer to? Essay writing can be a lonely journey, if you have a study buddy or family member who can spare you some time then discuss the question with them. Study Coach UK encourage all students to get in touch prior to the drafting of an essay, we are here to help guide you. Students should consider how the essay title link to what they have read or heard in lectures and students should consider what else the essay question is asking/what they need to find out?
How to Write a Discursive Essay
Start by making notes as you read and start to mentally raise questions in view of the essay title. For example, you could ask yourself why the university have chosen to set the particular essay question, there might be a public or academic controversy inferred in the question, waiting for you to explore. If the essay question ask that you should consider the topic from a local, national and global perspective, then you should do so. Each level is likely to unearth its own dynamics and at the same time be linked. Your job is to gather relevant and sufficient evidence for each perspective and to raise a discussion, this will require you to use critical thinking skills to produce discursive arguments. If you find yourself basically reiterating what the research says then you are being descriptive and this could lead to issues of plagiarism, irrespective of you referencing the source. To write a good essay, students need to rely less on researchers words and instead critically analyse research findings, weighing-up research data and considering the merits of arguments, relevance of methodology used, assumptions made, debatable points, and expressing why the points are debatable will all help to lead to a discursive essay.
For many adult learners’ English is not their mother tongue, this can pose difficulties for students in understanding new theoretical concepts and drafting assignments. Morel Benard at Study Coach is experienced working with adult learners, and is able to help, give her a call and have a chat. Morel’s academic credentials are as follows: MSc Educational Leadership (University of Leicester); MA Criminology (Middlesex University); LLB Honours Law (University of East London); BSc Honours Psychology (Open University); PGCE (University of Greenwich); Internal Quality Assurer (IQA).
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