Essay writing workshop_sept2012


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Essay writing workshop_sept2012

  1. 1. Essay Writing Isabelle Pottinger Effective Learning Adviser Information Services 451 3062
  2. 2. Definition of ‘Essay’• A short piece of prose writing on a specific topic.
  3. 3. Essay Writing• Research Topic• Plan• Draft• Review• Revise• Edit
  4. 4. Getting started• Clarify the task - seek guidance, if required.• Clarify the word length and completion date.
  5. 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. 6. Note Making with thanks to James Lamb;
  7. 7. DIFFERENT NOTE MAKING STYLESLinear notes with thanks to James Lamb;
  8. 8. DIFFERENT NOTE MAKING STYLES‘Spray Diagram’ or ‘Spider Diagram’ with thanks to James Lamb;
  9. 9. HOW TO MAKE NOTES EFFECTIVELYFinding the approach that suits you: mind mapping? with thanks to James Lamb;
  10. 10. HOW TO MAKE NOTES EFFECTIVELYGrids with thanks to James Lamb;
  11. 11. Planning the essay• Plan the whole essay before you begin to write it.
  12. 12. 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.
  13. 13. 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?
  14. 14. Planning the essay• You may need to go around this Researching- and-Planning loop more than once to collect enough relevant information.
  15. 15. Using Library Resources
  16. 16. Using Library Resources
  17. 17. HWU Library• Home page:
  18. 18. Using Library Resources
  19. 19. Study skills• Books to help with your studies• And e-books too.
  20. 20. Subject librarians• Advice, guidance and teaching on identifying, accessing and using information effectively.• Enquiry service:
  21. 21. HWU Library – Subject LibrariansCivil and Structural Engineering:• Subject librarian: Sarah Kelly• E-mail:• Tel: 0131 451 3574
  22. 22. References• Use a suitable referencing system e.g. the Harvard HWU
  23. 23. Reference style - BookThe correct reference for a book includes author, initials, year of publication, title, edition (if not first), place of publication, publisher. e.g.• Sime, J.D. (2005) Safety in the built environment, London: Spon.
  24. 24. - Journal/ Periodical• The correct reference for a periodical article includes author’s surname and initial(s), year of publication, title of article, periodical title, specific date of publication, volume and part number and pages, e.g.• Stamp, G. (1999) “Clouded vision”, Architects Journal, 177(9), 25-31.
  25. 25. - Website• The author or editor• Date of ‘publication’(in brackets)• Title (in italics or underlined)• The type of resource (in square brackets)• The URL• The date the resource was accessed (in square brackets)
  26. 26. Referencing websites• University of Bradford (1999) Making the most of presentations [online], available: [accessed 12 August 2004].
  27. 27. References• Use a suitable referencing system e.g. the Harvard HWU:
  28. 28. Essay Writing• Now let’s turn our attention to writing the essay.
  29. 29. Essay Writing• Essay has three main sections:• Introduction: 5% of length• Main body: 80% of length• Conclusion: 15% of length
  30. 30. Introduction• Tells the reader how you will answer the question• 5% of length of essay• Written last
  31. 31. Body of Essay• Answers the question• In a chain of linked paragraphs that build and present a case.
  32. 32. Each paragraph:• One big idea• Introduce• Define• Offer Argument• Offer evidence and discuss• Make final point
  33. 33. 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)?
  34. 34. 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)
  35. 35. 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
  36. 36. 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
  37. 37. Contact Details• Isabelle Pottinger• Effective Learning Adviser• Level 2, Library• Ext: 3062• E-mail: