Writing an Essay
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Writing an Essay

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Made for use in the Study Skills program delivered by library staff at Central College Nottingham.

Made for use in the Study Skills program delivered by library staff at Central College Nottingham.

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  • Ideally, you would finish your essay in plenty of time and then read it ‘fresh’ a few days before the deadline. This enables you to see what you actually wrote, not what you intended to write. – no, I never managed to do that either!

Transcript

  • 1. Essay Writing
  • 2. Essay structureAn essay should follow this basic structure: Introduction (1 paragraph, 2 at most) Main Body (as many paragraphs as you need to cover your points properly) Conclusion (1 paragraph, bringing together your points – do not introduce new information!)
  • 3. Essay structureIn other words… What I’m going to say Saying it What I saidFor this reason, your introduction and conclusion are likely to bebetter if they are written after the main body of your essay is drafted.
  • 4. The main body of your essayWrite in paragraphs (related groups of sentences; eachparagraph should only usually focus on one main idea) This could include • A topic sentence States the main fact • Supporting sentence Explains and develops the point you are making • Evidence & support for Evidence from your what you have written reading (quotes, citations) • Analysis Analyse and interpret the evidence. Comment on its significance and impact
  • 5. Topic sentenceSample paragraph Supporting sentence Evidence & support AnalysisThe central theme of Orwell’s 1984 could be argued to besurveillance of the individual by the state. This theme permeatesthe novel, and has become the pop-cultural meaning of theterm ‘Orwellian’. From the opening sequence, where Winston isroused by a vid-screen, which goes on to order him to engagemore in his morning exercises (Orwell 1948, pp.3-7), it is clearthat ‘Big Brother’ is watching. However, it could be argued thatthis communication is more jarring for a contemporary readerthan the author’s contemporaneous one: lack of understandingregarding the nature of the broadcast medium of television ledmany households to cover the screen when they weren’t You can repeat the ‘evidencewatching so that they could not be seen (Deary 1995). and support’ and ‘analysis’ stages several times per paragraph
  • 6. The introduction• Introduce the aims and the topic areas of the essay• Provide a summary of your essay with reference to the essay question• Define any terms in the question which may not be commonly understoodThis essay will discuss the relationship between modern culture of surveillance and the vision ofthe future given by George Orwell’s 1984, exploring the similarities and discrepancies betweenthem. Surveillance can be defined as the “collection and processing of personal data, whetheridentifiable or not, for the purposes of influencing or managing *the individual+” (Dict. Policing2012). This essay will look at both the collection and the processing of data, as well asconsidering the nature of this data and the uses, benevolent or totalitarian, for which it is put touse. It will also endeavour to explore the consequences of surveillance. As our society and thatof 1984 appear to be at different stages in the evolution of surveillance, direct comparison willnot be possible; however, the author will attempt to draw some conclusions around this area.
  • 7. The conclusionThis is simply a summing up of the essay• Re-state the answer to the question• Summarise the main points of your essay• Highlight the key ideas which you think your essay covers• Don’t introduce new information or ideas• You may want to include a final confident sentence with possible suggestions for future research • This shows that you have critically engaged with the topic and can recognise areas which you did not have time and space to cover
  • 8. Essay style• Use the 3rd-person style: never use ‘I’ in an essay unless specifically told to.• Formal language : avoid contractions and colloquial language • ‘did not’, not ‘didn’t’; ‘television’ not ‘TV’ or ‘telly’• Write in proper sentences – word-processing software can assist you with this.• Don’t use bullet points in an essay • You can sometimes structure bullets into a flowing list by using colons and semi-colons; however, each bullet usually needs to be a separate sentence.
  • 9. Essay style• Use clear language to communicate your points • Avoid obfuscation (obscure language used instead of simple terms)• Re-write your work at least once, to make it flow better • First-drafts often become ‘garbled’ as you pull ideas together – you may know what it means, but the marker may not!• Make sure you are not just describing something. For good marks you need to discuss, explain and analyse ideas.
  • 10. Hints and tips• Keep within the word count. • If you tend to write too much, reduce the number of individual points. If you don’t write enough, try to expand the points.• You should be able to read out your work without struggling for breath (unless you smoke 40 a day…) • If you can’t, you probably need more clause breaks (commas and semi/colons; turning one long sentence into two or more shorter ones).• Ask a friend or relative to read over your work. Print out your work and read your essay out loud to pick up mistakes.
  • 11. 3rd person Formal languageRewriting a first-draft Proper sentences Clear language Discuss/explain/analyseThe central theme of Orwell’s 1984 could be argued to besurveillance of the individual by the state. This theme permeatesthe novel, and has become the pop-cultural meaning of theterm ‘Orwellian’. From the opening sequence, where Winston isroused by a vid-screen, which goes on to order him to engagemore in his morning exercises (Orwell 1948, pp.3-7), it is clearthat ‘Big Brother’ is watching. However, I reckon this is more of aWTF moment for modern readers than for a 1940s audience -some peoples covered the screen when they weren’t watchingso that the TV people could not see them (Deary). The level ofsurveillance is also shown when their in the country to hidefrom the authority [cit]; even in a rural idyll, it seems, BigBrother can see, hear and punish dissent.