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Writing essays


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An adaptation of how to write essays for students of English in a public university in Colombia.

An adaptation of how to write essays for students of English in a public university in Colombia.

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  • 1. Essay Writing
    • Isabelle Pottinger
    • Effective Learning Advisor/
    • Academic Counsellor
    • Effective Learning Service
    Careers Advisory Service  451 3391  [email_address]
  • 2. Definition of ‘Essay’
    • A short piece of prose writing on a specific topic.
  • 3. Essay Writing
    • Research Topic
    • Plan
    • Draft
    • Review
    • Revise
    • Edit
  • 4. Getting started
    • Clarify the task - seek guidance, if required.
    • Clarify the word length and completion date.
  • 5. Researching the Topic
    • Make a start on the background reading required.
    • Consider taking bullet point notes of technical content to reduce the risk of plagiarism.
    • Record full references for all the books/ journals/ websites etc. that you use.
  • 6. Planning the essay
    • Plan the whole essay before you begin to write it.
  • 7. Planning the essay
    • Start to arrange your thoughts and ideas in a logical, sensible order that answers the question.
    • Order and re-order your bullet point notes to match this essay plan.
  • 8. Planning the essay
    • Ask yourself:
      • How and where within your essay might you use the information you have so far collected?
      • Are there still gaps in information?
      • Is further research necessary?
  • 9. Planning the essay
    • You may need to go around this Researching-and-Planning loop more than once to collect enough relevant information.
  • 10. Using Internet Resources
    • On the blog you will find other websites where you can support your ideas and begin to construct a frame of your essay.
  • 11. Essay Writing
    • Now let’s turn our attention to writing the essay.
  • 12. Essay Writing
    • Essay has three main sections:
    • Introduction: 5% of length
    • Main body: 80% of length
    • Conclusion: 15% of length
  • 13. Introduction
    • Tells the reader how you will answer the question
    • 5% of length of essay
  • 14. Body of Essay
    • Answers the question
    • In a chain of linked paragraphs that build and present a case.
  • 15. Each paragraph:
    • One big idea
    • Introduce
    • Define
    • Offer Argument
    • Offer evidence and discuss
    • Make final point
  • 16. Your writing should answer:
    • What is this paragraph about?
    • What exactly is that?
    • What is your argument on this (in relation to the question)?
    • What is your evidence? What does it mean?
    • What is the final point (in relation to the question)?
  • 17. Linking and signposting
    • Use link words and phrases
      • However; nevertheless; not only…but also
    • Signposting
      • In short; as we have seen; to summarise
    • Paragraphs are part of the signposting
    • Vary sentence length (max 40 words)
  • 18. Conclusion = 15% length
    • Re-state arguments
    • Re-state points
    • Show that you have answered the whole question
    • Could make recommendation
    • NB: No new evidence introduced
  • 19. Take-home message
    • Allow adequate time to research and write the essay
    • Follow the guidelines given
    • Write in own words
    • Acknowledge all sources of information
    • Check that you have answered the question