Essay Writing Skills Explained

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Essay Writing Skills Explained Powered By Docstoc
					          Essay Writing

                 Angela Koch
              Student Learning Advisor
Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching


      1
              Please Note:

This session will cover Essay 1 and Essay 2.

Next week‟s session “Essay 2” will be a repeat
   of this session.

You will not need to come back next week.




                         2
          Agenda
 The essay writing process

  Step 1: Analysing the question
Step 2: Reading and making notes
  Step 3: Making an essay plan
    Step 4: Drafting the essay
       Step 5: Referencing
          Step 6: Editing


                  3
       What is the Point of Essay
                Writing?
   revisit/revise different elements of the
    module/course and pull them together
   extend understanding by going beyond what is
    taught in class
   present an „informed opinion‟
   work within „constraints‟
       time & word limit / commitment to view point
   learn how to present and express concepts
    and ideas in a clear and effective manner
                             4
Step 1: Analysing the question

   Check requirements (deadline, word limits)
   Deconstruct the question
   Question the question
   Make links with module syllabus, reading list
    and aims & learning outcomes
   Brainstorm ideas
       What do I know about this already?
       What do I need to find out?
   Planning your research
                           5
      Deconstructing the question
Discuss whether it is more difficult to become a „man‟
for young people today than it was for their father‟s
generation? (SA300-2007/8)

subject? :
       masculinities/ young people/ identity/ transition
key instruction verb(s)?:
       discuss
key aspect(s)?:
       become a „man‟, comparison
other significant words?:
       father‟s generation
                                   6
Discuss whether it is more difficult to become a „man‟
for young people today than it was for their father‟s
generation?
Questioning the question:
  1.   What is a „man‟? Today & 30-40 years ago? (qualities/
       characteristics)
  2.   How does a boy become a „man‟ today? (process)
  3.   How did their fathers become „men‟?
  4.   How has this changed from 1960s/1970s? Why?
  5.   What are the consequences? For the individual? For
       society?
  6.   Which young people? All of them? Any specific group?
  7.   Links to Learning Outcomes:
       a) is this a social phenomenon or problem?
       b) which key concepts are linked ? Poverty? Inequality?
       c) social policy ? Helped solve or shape this „problem‟?
                                   7
Learning outcomes (SA300)

At the end of this module you should have:

An understanding of the ways in which phenomena come to be labelled as
    social problems;

An understanding of some of the key concepts used in social policy, such
    as need, equity, inequality, poverty, exclusion and diversity;

An ability to critically evaluate the solutions to social problems that
    are suggested and adopted;

An awareness of the way in which social policy not only responds to such
    problems but actually helps to shape them;

Developed skills in presentation and debate, both verbal and written;

Developed problem solving skills and the ability to seek solutions to
    social problems and individual needs.
                                            8
       Understand Key Verbs
   Analyse
   Compare and contrast
   Discuss
   Evaluate
   Summarise
   To what extent …     and many more!


    http://www.uefap.com/writing/writfram.htm


                            9
    analyse compare contrast criticise
         evaluate relate  discuss
1        Show how two or more things are different
2        Identify essential features of a subject and separate it into
         its component parts and examine how they relate to each
         other.
3        Investigate and examine a subject by argument. Give the
         pros and cons.
4        Show similarities and connections between two or more
         things
5        Show how two or more things are similar

6        Assess the worth, importance and usefulness of
         something using evidence to support your view.
7        Write about positive and negative aspects of a topic
         stating your judgement. Substantiate this with evidence.
                                  10
     analyse compare contrast criticise
          evaluate relate  discuss
1 contrast Show how two or more things are different .
2 analyse Identify essential features of a subject and separate it into
              its component parts and examine how they relate to each
              other.
3   discuss   Investigate and examine a subject by argument. Give the
              pros and cons.
4   relate    Show similarities and connections between two or more
              things .
5   compare Show how two or more things are similar .
6   evaluate Assess the worth, importance and usefulness of
              something using evidence to support your view.
7   criticise Write about positive and negative aspects of a topic
              stating your judgement. Substantiate this with evidence.

                                      11
       Long and short questions
   Zola wrote that „poetry is everywhere, in
    everything, even more in the present and the real
    than in the past and the abstract. Each event at
    each moment has its poetic superb aspect.‟
    Explain in detail what Zola meant by this and why
    he held that view. Why did Artaud disagree? And
    how did he conceive of the „poetry‟ of theatre?
    (Drama)

   Why is international debt a burden?
    (Economics)
                             12
        Planning your research

   Which questions do I need to find answers to?
   What is my answer (likely to be)?
   What kind of evidence do I need to support my
    argument?
   What will I to need read? - definitely
                              - should
                              - maybe, if time
   Who will I speak to?
   When will I do these things?

                           13
         Researching the Topic
Locating and choosing source
                  (start 3-4 weeks before deadline)
Where?
  Reading list
  Library catalogue (incl. Online)
  Subject Librarians
  Bibliographies
  Internet : Google scholar
        http://scholar.google.co.uk


>> stay clear of Wikipedia
                               14
            Selecting your source
   Good variety (types and angles)
Books, Journal articles, unpublished work, conference papers,
reports, government publications, parliamentary material,
newspapers, magazines, CD-roms, DVDs, pod casts …

   Reliability
    > known author/publisher
    > biased? does it matter?
    > length of bibliography
    > enough information to write up the reference

   Relevance
    > what do I need it for?
                                 15
             Step 2: Reading

   Think before you read
   Skim text for key words
    (index, headings, captions…)
   Keep question(s) in mind while reading
   Take „relevant‟ notes only
   Record sources
        Plagiarism ! www.kent.ac.uk/uelt/ai


                             16
               Making Notes
   A few key quotations only
      (exact wording/ bibliographical details, incl.
         page number)

   In your own words
    - paraphrase, summarise
      (bibliographical details, incl. page number)

   Read critically all the collected information
   Summarise, expand, rearrange notes
   Look for connections and directions
                            17
 Step 3: Making the essay plan
Introduction (ca.5%) – the setting

Body     - number of paragraphs/ideas
         - possible line of reasoning
         - issues, ideas, examples to be
           included

Conclusion (ca.5-10%) - what is my
  answer? state your position
                       18
            Introduction

Interpretation of the question/ title
Explanation of key terms
Presentation of background and context
Links to module‟s themes/ topics
Outline of main ideas
   e.g. This essay will …


                     19
     How about this introduction?
             Assess the merits of ‘open’ adoption.

 What is adoption all about? Adoption means taking another person's
child into your own family and legally raising him or her as your own
child. It is said by investigators that the most common thing to
happen is that at the very first, adoptive parents are not sure about
what they are doing and neither are the birthparents. The adoptive
parents keep on asking themselves if it will be possible for them to
love an adopted child as much as they would love their own. It has
been proven that those doubts always disappear the very moments
the child is handed over, and then they wonder how they could have
ever been in doubt. In this essay we will explore the concept of open
adoption, its advantages and disadvantages, as well as their effects
on the birthparents and adoptive parents. Later on, we will move on
to how the child reacts when he/she gets to know the truth and when
he meets his real family. Finally, references to all information will be
mentioned in the Bibliography section.

                                   20
Paragraphing …
structures thoughts and helps the reader
Each paragraph should contain
 one clear idea/ topic sentence
e.g. Becoming a man in the 1960s was
    straightforward.
support sentences which add to the topic
    sentence by
       explaining ideas raised
       defining terms more fully
       giving supporting details (evidence)
       commenting on/ evaluate evidence
                          21
South Africa: The Role of Peace and Conflict-Resolution Organizations
            in the Struggle Against Apartheid (Taylor,2002)

The 1980s, in particular, were dark times. Under National Party (NP)
rule, South Africa was highly militarized: it was fighting wars in Angola
and Namibia, aggressively destabilizing the Frontline States, and within
its own borders systematic and violent official repression of the
resistance movement rose to unprecedented levels. By the end of 1985,
the South African Defence Force (SADF) had deployed over 32,000
troops in ninety-six of the country's townships. In July 1985, a partial
state of emergency was declared. It was lifted in March 1986, but a
nationwide state of emergency followed in June 1986 that remained in
force for four years. Between 1985 and 1988, over five thousand people
were killed in political violence in South Africa, and approximately fifty
thousand people were detained. By the end of 1988, thirty-two non
violent anti-apartheid organizations had been banned. In these years it
was little exaggeration to say that South Africa was "a terrorist state”.¹


Main idea? Supporting sentences? Evidence? Comment?
                                           22
South Africa: The Role of Peace and Conflict-Resolution Organizations
            in the Struggle Against Apartheid (Taylor,2002)

The 1980s, in particular, were dark times. Under National Party (NP)
rule, South Africa was highly militarized: it was fighting wars in Angola
and Namibia, aggressively destabilizing the Frontline States, and within
its own borders systematic and violent official repression of the
resistance movement rose to unprecedented levels. By the end of 1985,
the South African Defence Force (SADF) had deployed over 32,000
troops in ninety-six of the country's townships. In July 1985, a partial
state of emergency was declared. It was lifted in March 1986, but a
nationwide state of emergency followed in June 1986 that remained in
force for four years. Between 1985 and 1988, over five thousand people
were killed in political violence in South Africa, and approximately fifty
thousand people were detained. By the end of 1988, thirty-two non
violent anti-apartheid organizations had been banned. In these years it
was little exaggeration to say that South Africa was "a terrorist state”.¹

Main idea? Supporting sentences? Evidence? Comment?
                              23
             Conclusion

Links to title and introduction
Summary of main argument(s)
Presentation of overall evaluation
Your position
Suggestions or recommendations
NO NEW INFORMATION


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BREAK




  25
           Step 4: Drafting
   Start anywhere

   Write up individual paragraphs

   Revise, reconsider and rewrite what
    you have done

   Fill in any gaps and make connection
                      26
                Sign-posting
e.g. “There are 3 main characteristics …” “First, …”
    “ …, however, …” “Consequently…

   Explains what you are about to discuss.
   Links what you have said with what you are
    going to say.
   Helps your reader to follow the structure of
    your argument.

http://www.uefap.com/writing/writfram.htm

                            27
        Step 5: Referencing
   To demonstrate your learning/work
   To provide authority/credibility
   To indicate original source
   To avoid PLAGIARISM !

Has to be accurate, no over- /understatement



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           What to reference?
Texts, ideas & concepts, images, audio-visual
   material, performance media/art, statistics/data,
   lectures, student work (incl. your own), designs,
   plans, interviews/questionnaires … YOU HAVE
   USED

Primary sources (play, film, novel, historical
   document, report, etc.)

Secondary sources ( review, analysis, critique
   evaluation … of primary sources)
                           29
               Using sources
Quote: repeat exact words (written or spoken)
  as evidence, illustration, can’t possibly say it any
   better

Summarise: give shortened version of original (written
   or spoken)
  to give background information

Paraphrase: present original (written or spoken) in your
   own words
  when original idea is more important than original
   wording, to avoid direct quotes, to demonstrate your
   understanding of the issue
                               30
             How to reference?
in text
     form depends on the referencing style

    author date page number or footnotes¹ or number
    system


after text

Reference list or bibliography

http://www.kent.ac.uk/uelt/ai or department handbook
                                 31
        List of References or
           Bibliography ?
List of references: only those cited
Bibliography: all works used (even if not cited)

   At the end of an essay

   Begin each source on a new line

Exact style and Layout depends on
   recommended referencing style
                 >>> consult you handbook !
                         32
               Step 6: Editing
Leave a gap of at least one day
Proof read your essay
   - read it our aloud
   - be systematic
Check :
         Logic, coherence (Does it make sense?,
          Does it all add up?)
         Spelling/grammar/punctuation/syntax
         Academic style (impartial, evaluative,
          accurate, concise, no clichés)
         Relevance (Have I answered the
          question?)
                            33
                Editing (cont.)
Check requirements:
      Word limit (+/- 5%)
      Layout
         (the title/ margins/line spacing/ font types &
         size/page numbering/your details …)
      Cover sheet?
      Diagrams, annex, pictures …numbered, named ,
         explained in the text and referenced
      Acknowledgement of quotations, citations in text
      Bibliography and/or List of References (Harvard?
         MHRA? Chicago? APA? …)

                             34
        Academic Conventions
   Keep the personal in check (no emotive
    language) http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk
   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
                            35
     Learning from Feedback

   Pick up your assignments, please!
   Read all comments
   Ask for further clarification
   Identify areas for improvement

   Don‟t take it too personally!


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           Over to you …

Analyse these 2 essays

   Relevance (answer the question)
   Academic style
   Coherence/logic
   Overall appearance


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              Essay writing process
Step 1: Analysing the question
-Check requirements
-Check learning outcomes
-Deconstruct question                 Step 2: Reading and making
-Brainstorm ideas                     notes
                                      -focus on question
                                      -record sources
 Step 3: Making the essay
 plan
 - line of reasoning                   Step 4: Drafting the essay
 - structure                           - introduction,
                                       - paragraphs
                                       - conclusion
 Step 5: Referencing
 -matching in-text with
 referencing list                        Step 6: Editing
                                         -logic and cohesion
                                         -spelling, grammar,
                                         punctuation
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          Any Questions?

    Come and see us if you need help

          Slides will be available at
http://www.kent.ac.uk/uelt/learning/index.html



           Good luck !
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