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The most important starting point is to listen carefully to what the essay title is telling you.
Editing your writing as you develop your ideas is a positive not a negative process: the more you cross out, re-write, and re-order, the better your essay should become. The structure may be strong and clear, or it may be unobtrusive and minimal but, in a good essay, it will be there.
Underpinning the structure will be the ‘argument’ your essay is making.
It can be a way of making a lot of progress quite quickly. In these early stages of your thinking you may not be sure which of your ideas you want to follow up and which you will be discarding.
It can be stressful and very difficult trying to work out solely in your mind how to tackle an essay title; asking yourself questions such as: What structure should I use? So, don’t feel you have to make that decision in your head before you write anything.
This Study Guide addresses the topic of essay writing.
The essay is used as a form of assessment in many academic disciplines, and is used in both coursework and exams. Thought mapping; Referencing and bibliographies; Avoiding plagiarism; The art of editing.
Again this may be strong and obvious, or it may be almost invisible, but it needs to be there.
In different subject areas, and with different styles of writing, the term ‘argument’ may seem more or less relevant.
It is the most common focus for study consultations among students using Learning Development. A collection of Question lists is available via the Learning Development website.
These lists suggest questions to ask of your writing when you are reviewing it.