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This Study Guide addresses the topic of essay writing.The essay is used as a form of assessment in many academic disciplines, and is used in both coursework and exams. Thought mapping; Referencing and bibliographies; Avoiding plagiarism; The art of editing.It can be a way of making a lot of progress quite quickly. In these early stages of your thinking you may not be sure which of your ideas you want to follow up and which you will be discarding.
By creating a relevant structure, you make it much easier for yourself to present an effective argument.
There are several generic structures that can help you start to think about your essay structure e.g.: In addition to these macro-structures you will probably need to establish a micro-structure relating to the particular elements you need to focus on e.g.: evidence / policy / theory / practice / case studies / examples / debates.
Editing your writing as you develop your ideas is a positive not a negative process: the more you cross out, re-write, and re-order, the better your essay should become. The structure may be strong and clear, or it may be unobtrusive and minimal but, in a good essay, it will be there.
Underpinning the structure will be the ‘argument’ your essay is making.
It is therefore useful to go into the writing process expecting to make revisions.
The first words you write do not have to be part of the final version.
Again this may be strong and obvious, or it may be almost invisible, but it needs to be there.
In different subject areas, and with different styles of writing, the term ‘argument’ may seem more or less relevant.
The most important starting point is to listen carefully to what the essay title is telling you.
You need to read every single word of it, and to squeeze out as much guidance you can from the title.