Writing essays


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

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Writing essays

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