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Essay Writing MCC Library Central

Study Skills Series At college you will be required to write essays and assignments for each module, unit or option. Writing these assignments is an opportunity to deepen your understanding of a subject and show you are able to research a topic and organise your thoughts. Your spelling and vocabulary will also improve. You will need to express your research and thoughts in a logical coherent manner and then arrive at a conclusion which follows the evidence and arguments you have put forward. To do this well requires you to think through the topic and spend time considering your essay structure and outline. Before you start to write your assignment, it would be a good idea to write an outline of your assignment which includes the main points which you should be discussing. Analyse the question and think about the main themes and what you need to research Discuss it with other students or a friend or even your tutor if you need more explanation Check the library catalogue for any further reading required Think of the structure: an essay requires an introduction, a body and a conclusion Think about what to include Keep a diary of what you’ve done and how long it took and also to plan ahead so you know when things need to be done. Keeping a diary can also help with reflective practice. This will ultimately save you time and help you to organise your ideas and help to divide your word count between different sections. The sections required for a good essay are an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The introduction is just that; lead your reader into the subject by identifying major issues and some indication of how you intend to deal with the material (i.e. evidence, arguments etc.) in the main body. The main body of the text identifies the message of your essay. Each of the main topics will require a separate paragraph and some points may need several paragraphs. You will probably have to limit yourself to about five topics. Finally, the conclusion draws together the main points of your argument as you summarise them. Do not introduce new information at this stage. You should however look ahead to implications for the future and make recommendations based on your conclusions.

1. Where to start Brainstorm/Mind map initial ideas on to a computer and then you can organise these ideas into headings with the main points underneath. You could also use post-it notes to brainstorm your main ideas and then arrange them in a logical order. Look at your ideas and decide what to include. Limit them and then concentrate on those ideas.

http://library.midchesh.ac.uk http://pcbooker.midchesh.ac.uk http://librarycentralmcc.blogspot.co.uk/

Any queries please contact: library@midchesh.ac.uk 01606 720646 winsfordlibrary@midchesh.ac.uk 01606 720652


Essay Writing MCC Library Central

Study Skills Series From your selected ideas, make a list of information you need to collect. Read around the topics you have selected, the library is a great place to start this (http://library.midchesh.ac.uk). Don’t forget that journals are a good source of up to date research and material, again available in the library or online at http://bit.ly/infotrac. Writing essays always requires reading or research and your reading will be more carefully directed if you have narrowed down the topics you need to cover. You will then get the information you need for your answer. Keep a record of the sources of your material at this stage whilst you have them to hand so that you can include it in your bibliography or references. There are some tools (Refworks, Endnote and various free online tools) that can be used to help you with this and these are shown in the study skills section of the Library Central Moodle pages. The major points in your argument will need to be supported by evidence. One purpose of the essay is the show that you have read around the subject widely and have considered the opinions of others.

2. Make a Start Use your notes and put them into a logical order. You may find it easier to start at the end! This may sound strange but once you know what you want to say in your conclusion and where your argument has to lead, you will be better able to shape the rest of the essay. Another approach is to start writing on one particular topic area with which you feel confident. The main thing is to get started with the writing. The purpose of the first draft is to test the developing structure and framework for your essay. Make sure you have enough time free to get it all down and write up all the sections for the main body and ensure that it substantiates your conclusion. Now you can do the beginning. Write the introduction to guide the reader through the rest of the essay. Leave it then for a day or two. When you return, re-read the question, then your draft and check that what you are writing is actually answering the question. Then start your second draft. The purpose of the second draft is to improve the presentation and comprehension. Do your editing on paper and check that the word length is about right. Don’t be afraid to cut it into sections and shuffle it around to get an improved sequence and if it doesn’t seem convincing, consider putting its arguments in a different order. You should also start to tidy up the grammar and style at this stage.

http://library.midchesh.ac.uk http://pcbooker.midchesh.ac.uk http://librarycentralmcc.blogspot.co.uk/

Any queries please contact: library@midchesh.ac.uk 01606 720646 winsfordlibrary@midchesh.ac.uk 01606 720652


Essay Writing MCC Library Central

Study Skills Series Again leave it a day or two or give a copy to a friend for comment. It doesn’t matter if your friend is familiar with the subject, you will still get useful feedback.

3. When you’re finished Before you submit your piece of work, you should rigorously edit it. At this point you should be checking the smaller details like names, spelling and grammar. You should also check that it reads well. If you feel you’re having problems checking the grammar, punctuation or spelling, it might be a good idea to talk to someone in Student Support as soon as possible as these skills take time to develop. Also make sure that you’ve referenced other peoples work correctly. Also you should present your work in a good page layout and taking care with presentation will greatly add to the overall impression. Make sure the text is neat and legible. Doublespace your paragraphs and leave wide margins to ‘frame’ what you have written and also to allow for additional notes to be written in the margins. Make sure you keep a copy for yourself. You will develop your own strategies and find short-cuts as the process becomes more familiar to you. Take on board any feedback your tutor gives you. If you are not sure what a comment refers to then ask. Happy writing…..

http://library.midchesh.ac.uk http://pcbooker.midchesh.ac.uk http://librarycentralmcc.blogspot.co.uk/

Any queries please contact: library@midchesh.ac.uk 01606 720646 winsfordlibrary@midchesh.ac.uk 01606 720652

Essay writing  

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