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UN304 Developing Academic Practice

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					      Essay Writing
(Module: Critical Studies/HND Photography Year 2)

                     UELT
               Advantage Initiative


          Reshmi D-Flanders



                                                    1
Aim of the workshop

     To introduce you to Essay writing skill

The objectives
                 Will be able to:

        • To analyse an essay question
 • To plan and prepare for an essay/assignment
      • To structure an essay in the light of
              essay/assignment brief


                                                 2
                 Agenda

   Understanding essay question preparation
   Research & planning your assignment
   Understanding essay structure
   Understanding case study
   Considering academic conventions


                                               3
            Preparation :
        Analysing the question
In pairs, look at the essay title and decide :

To what extent did the British public participate in the
political process during the 1980s?

   What are you asked to do?
                                              discuss
   How could you structure the essay?


                                                           4
       Analysing the question
   What is the subject?
   What are the key verb(s)?
   What are the key instruction verbs?
   What are the key aspect(s)?
   Any other other significant words?
   Questioning the question

                                          5
                     Answers
subject? What is the question about - in broad terms.?

key verb(s)? What is the key instruction - what does the
examiner expect you to write?

key aspect(s)? Identify which aspects of the main topic
need to be addressed.

other significant words? Any other significant words -
anything else that needs to be taken into consideration in
planning the answer.

                                                             6
               Apply to this Examples
To what extent did the British public participate in the political process during the
                                      1980s?


• subject? :                                • British public/ political
                                              process
• key verb(s)?:                             • participate /did


• key instruction verbs:                    • (implicit) discuss


• key aspect(s)?:                           • during 1980s


• other significant words?:                 • to what extent


                                                                                    7
      Questioning the Question
To what extent did the British public participate in the
political process during the 1980s?
    Who/what is the British public?
    Who can participate?
    What is meant by political process?
    How can one participate in a political process?
    What politics, political events & processes were there during the
     1980s?
     - party in power, national & global events

    > Brainstorm ideas
•    Helps to explore the topic.
•    Helps to uncover ideas.
•    Shows what you already know.
•    Should feel like a creative, enjoyable activity.

                                                                         8
    Understand Key Instruction Verbs
    Analyse
    Compare and contrast
    Describe
    Discuss
    Evaluate
    Examine
    Explore
    Summarise
    To what extent …     and many more!
                                           9
            Spot the difference?
                  What is the difference?

   Describe the main features of alternative medicine.

   Evaluate the main features of alternative medicine.

   Analyse the main features of alternative medicine.

   How would you analyse the main features of alternative
    medicine?


                                                             10
            Activity: (15 mins)
          Analysing the question
                         Now
        – Analyse your own essay question
    Use a feminist/psychoanalytical approach to
           analyse 2 images of your choice

                    Images for analysis
•     www.alexishunter.co.uk/radical_feminist_art_p...
•     http://www.tiltshiftphotography.net/

                                                    11
                     Example of a Research Plan
   To what extent did the British public participate in the political process
                             during the 1980s?


WHAT            WHY              WHERE                  WHEN         CHECK
Find out what Keyword in Q Google                       Today
went on                    Notes
during 1980s               Encyclopaedia
Read:          On reading        Library                By Friday
Specific texts list + from       (one week loan)
               informal
               literature
               review
Ask family      Councillor in    Over phone             Weekend
friend          late 1980s


                                                                                12
               Activity (15 mins)
                   Research Plan
             Your Essay Question here:


WHAT   WHY         WHERE            WHEN   CHECK




                      Handout                      13
   Evaluating a (re)source

• Reliability
> known author/publisher
> biased? does it matter?
> length of bibliography

• Relevance
> What do I need it for?     14
   Evaluating on-line material
•How?                     •Warning !

 Author                  -Keep in proportion
Institution?             -Don’t get lost in cyberspace
 Purpose                 -Keep references
                          -Beware ‘Wiki’!!
 Audience
 How accurate/current?
Peer reviewed?
 Easy to navigate?



                                                          15
      Maximising Effectiveness
•   Have a time plan and stick to it!
•   Use reliable online resources:
•   http://www.britannica.com
•   http://www.oxfordreference.com.chain.kent.ac.uk
•   http://www.direct.gov.uk
•   Library catalogue
•   Ask tutor, module convenor, subject librarian,
    other experts for guidance

                                                  16
    Planning the assignment
After research ,
• physically organise notes
  - editing (relevant)
  - ordering from simple > complex          using

                       general > specific   diagram

                       obvious > hidden     notes

ascendancy/fluency! Sort essay parts
• Tricks for getting started
• Sort essay parts
                                                 17
   Tricks for getting started
You can combine several of these
• Wheel diagram
• Talking
• Question banks (when, where, what, why)
• Brainstorming
• Lists
• Free association

                                        18
Outline plan: Essay Structure
   Title
   Introduction
   Paragraph (topic sentence/main point
    evidence, example, evaluation 250
    words)
   More paragraphs
   Conclusion
   References/bibliography
                                       19
                  Genre
Organising the essay

• Descriptive
• Evaluative/Analytical
• Argumentative


http://www.uefap.com/writing/writfram.htm
                                            20
                Paragraph structure
•   Paragraphing
•   [RD1]The conventional model of parliament was not designed like presidentialism; it was
    rather an historical evolution. Conventional parliament meant supreme powers were at the
    centre, the legislature controlling the executive branch. However according to Storm, over
    the second half of the nineteenth century power has been delegated from parliament to the
    front bench. The reason for cabinet dominance is the confidence relationships and Prime
    Minister dissolution of power. Storm believes the best way to understand this ‘alternative’
    view to parliamentarism is through the process of delegation and accountability.[RD2] He
    proposes two definitions: ideal-typical to help classify parliamentarism. The ideal definition
    will help us distinguish parliamentary systems from others, and typical will help us
    understand implications for popular rule and governance. Storm uses the typical definition
    to understand parliamentarism as a mechanism of delrgation and accountability. This new
    system focuses on dependences between parliament and the executive branch. Stephen
    and Skatch (1993) define parliamentarism as a system of mutual dependence and
    presidentialism as a system of mutual independence.[RD3] To clarify this view further
    Storm uses a theoretical tool of agency theory and outlines the chain of delegation and
    compares parliamentarism with presidentialism.
•   [RD4]
•   Storm outlines delegation as; those authorized to make political decisions designate
    others to make decisions in their name and place. And continues say that delegation in
    common in all sorts of social situations which he terms ‘agency theory’. For example;
    when buying a house you (principle) appoint ………
•   [RD5]



                                                                                               21
    Paragraph structure contd.

•   [RD1] 1 Topic sentence
•    [RD2]2 Supporting sentences
•    [RD3]3 Evidence and 4 Evaluation
•    [RD4]5 Link – chain of delegation
•    [RD5]Start of new paragraph


                                         22
                                  Advantages                 Disadvantages

Case study                        Useful in illustrating a
                                  point
                                                             May not represent
                                                             what happens in
                                                             general
                                  Investigation into small   Must be careful when
Characteristics                   details, can throw new     drawing up general
• Detailed analysis of a single   light upon how             rules from a/number of
                                  something works            case study/s
  example of an issue
                                  Based on real life         They are time
• Is factual                      therefore, show            consuming, therefore
• Relate to a theoretical         complexities that may      only a few can be
                                  not emerge under           undertaken
  framework and show how it       controlled conditions
  relates or contradicts theory
                                  Can be used to test out
• May be used to analyse a        a theory
  problem and to make             Helpful in advancing
  recommendations                 the theoretical
                                  framework

Cottrell, 2008: 272-3             Can open up new lines
                                  of enquiry, and how
                                  work practice can be
                                  adapted
                                  Draw out examples of
                                  good or bad practice in
                                  workplace                                           23
             Writing a case study
• Introduction
• Background
• The body of the report
   –   Background information
   –   Research methods used
   –   Statement of problem
   –   Early action or intervention
   –   Current action or intervention
   –   Client responses to above
   –   Other people’s responses
   –   Overall evaluation of action or intervention
   –   Outstanding problems
   –   Causes of problems
   –   Possible solutions
   –   Evaluation of solutions
• Conclusions
• Recommendations                                     Cottrell, 2008: 273

                                                                            24
    Department’s requirements
   line-spacing
   font
   type
   referencing system
   appropriate number of references
   use of first person
   page numbering
   location/position of title
   cover sheet
   assessment criteria
                                       25
     Academic Conventions
 Keep the personal in check/ Rely on evidence
  over feeling
 Do not confuse evidence, assumption and
  opinion.
 Watch your personal pronouns and gendered
  pronouns
 Check your discipline-specific conventions.
 Avoid ‘chatty’ language e.g. loads of
 Have a clear understanding of technical terms.
 Be critical of what you read.
 Reference your sources                           26
     Essay Writing


Any questions or comments?




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