Essay Writing How to plan, structure and write papers and essays
Essays should be word-processed, double-spaced and checked for spelling and grammar.
The essay should address itself directly to the question set and show evidence that it has been planned with an introduction and a logical presentation of ideas leading to a conclusion.
All work must be your own and be properly referenced using the Harvard system of referencing.
Always proof read your work before submitting.
You should always be aware of what the assessment criteria are for each project.
This includes written work, especially essays and dissertations.
Always check in the handbook.
Outcome : students will be expected to show evidence of creativity, inventiveness and aesthetic sensitivity in realising the brief.
Technical Competence : students will be expected to demonstrate a competence in the technical skills required for and relevant to their assessed work.
Critical Understanding : students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical issues and debates raised in both the practical and theoretical modules, make clear the range of theoretical positions in their work and provide evidence of depth of study.
Organisation : students will be expected to demonstrate effective time and resource management, work effectively as a member of a team in a professional setting and meet all deadlines.
Reading and Research
You need to show evidence of the appropriate level of reading and research.
This is evidenced through your bibliography and citation in the text.
Be selective in how you use the reading list - you don’t have to read every book from page to page.
You must use Harvard system to cite works in the text.
The following applies to all essays, evaluations and portfolio work:
Make sure that you include a bibliography of any sources used (see the library leaflet on HARVARD conventions for the layout of bibliographies and references)
Include references to the sources of all quotations, facts, statistics and matters of opinion which are not your own, at the point where they occur in the presentation
The library leaflet explains how to make references. These sources should be listed at the end in the bibliography. This is very important , and should be followed carefully to avoid any possible suspicion that you are submitting work that is not entirely your own
Downloaded sections from Internet sites, text cut and pasted from CD-ROMs, or extracts from printed books, should never be used in academic contexts without full and explicit referencing to the source. Avoid using the Internet as the main source of your research, unless it is clearly a peer-reviewed academic source.
Use Of Websites
Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information
‘ Wiki’ is a Hawaiian word for "fast” and a ‘backronym’ for "What I Know Is"
Websites can be used as long as they are a reliable source, and that usually means peer reviewed on line journals
Blogs will not be accepted as research
Bailey, D. 1992 Improvisation, Its Nature and Practice in Music . London: The British Library National Sound Archive
Bailey writes that ‘Freely improvised music’ (Bailey, 1992, p83) ‘…suffers from…the confused identity which its resistance to labelling indicates.’
‘ Improvisation enjoys the curious distinction of being both the most widely practised of all musical activities and the least acknowledged and understood.’ (Bailey, 1992, pix)
Submitting someone else’s work for assessment as though it were your own.
May result in penalties ranging from a reprimand, to cancellation of marks, to disqualification from study.
If in doubt, check with a tutor. Or you can run it through the plagiarism software in the library.
Correct referencing of source material, which you use in assessments is not just good practice, but also is a protection against allegations of the unfair practice of plagiarism.
Students are often expected to read widely in texts, journals or websites in preparation for assessments, but not to create a piece of work which is composed significantly of others’ words (even if referenced).
Your own ability to think, reflect, analyse, and synthesise needs to be assessed, not just your ability to select sources. You will be credited for your research and use of sources.
Planning and Structure
‘ Clarity and focus of argument and critical analysis’
Plan ahead - choose your area or question and read the question carefully.
Make notes as you read around the subject, clearing marking quotations and page numbers for future use.
Find a system that works for you - card index, note taking etc.
You are being asked to analyse a subject area and draw your own conclusions from that analysis, using appropriate sources.
Planning and Structure
Identify the main areas of the question and write a précis of your argument.
Your work should contain an introduction, a discussion of your findings including an analysis of the issues you have identified as being relevant, and a conclusion
The body of your essay should contain a number of clearly defined areas of discussion - it makes it easier for you to organise your thoughts and easier for the reader to understand what you’re talking about
You must ensure that your arguments are clearly set out and that the points you make are easily understandable
Read your work aloud – does it make sense?
Pythagoras’ experiments led to the short-lived but profoundly influential Pythagorean Brotherhood who sought to unite ‘religion and science, mathematics and music, medicine and cosmology, body, mind and spirit in an inspired and luminous synthesis’.
How can we use Pythagoras’ ideas today to further our understanding of music?
Carry out some research and put together a 500 – 700 word paper discussing some possible contemporary interpretations of these ancient theories.
What is the question asking?
What were Pythagoras’ key ideas about music?
Musica Mundana / Humana / Instrumentalis
‘ Music of the Spheres’
What is the contemporary research into human/cosmological music? Examples?