Essay Writing Amanda Pocklington Student Engagement & Skills
Overview of session • What is an essay? • Planning for essay writing • Essay structure & content • Reflection • What does good essay writing look like? • Further support with your writing
What is an essay? An extended piece of writing in answer to a question or in response to a statement. It may be a structured argument or it may be an analysis of an issue or question in the field. Both draw on the literature to support the argument or offer evidence in support of the response.
Interpreting Question Instruction words What you are being asked to do: eg. Discuss, critically evaluate, assess, reflectively comment on Topic/subject What area of the subject do you need to look at: eg. Common mental health disorders, UK health policies, Boundaries/limiters Specific area to concentrate on: eg. Current, ‘a named specific disorder’, ‘a specific group of people’
Planning for Essay Writing Studies/literature Reading Interpret question Short answer Body of essay Reasons for short answer Reason 1 Reason 2 Reason 3 Checking Directed reading Connections Support/reasons for your reasons Check steps
Essay Structure Introduction Context, signposting, definitions Body Interrogation of topic, connected coherent argument with support Conclusion Your ‘answer’, implications
Your Answer, Your Reasons, Your Argument • Your essay should reflect what you ‘think’ & your reasons for this – based on: • Reading – theories, debates • Evidence – studies, epidemiological observations/data • Personal and ‘industry’ experience • Should demonstrate a clear link to the field by: • Approp reference to literature – theories, debates • Connections drawn with evidence • indications supported by ‘experience’
Critical Reflection What is the aim of this? ‘Improving the quality of health care, stimulating personal & professional growth and closing gap between theory and practice’ CEDAR paper
Critical Reflection What I did Interrogate/explore what you did, decisions made – context for discussion Why What was the basis for your actions/decisions - reasons So what Your ‘answer’, implications
What does good essay writing look like? • Work in pairs or in groups of three and discuss your answers. Be ready to feed back to the rest of the group. What is good & why ? What could be added/changed?
Useful online resources • The basics of APA style – online tutorial which explains formatting and referencing: http://www.apastyle.org/learn/tutorials/basics-tutorial.aspx • APA Guide: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ • Online resource with good advice on essay and report writing in Psychology: Haslam, S.A. & McGarty, C. (2003). Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology. London, UK & Thousand Oaks, CA: SagePublications. http://www.sagepub.co.uk/resources/haslam
Further Support with your writing • Relevant resources on ELE - Student Resources on the front page and choose Undergraduate Skills. • Essay writing, referencing skills, critical reading • Royal Literary Fellows • Sign up for an appointment in Room 237, Department of English, Queen’s Building, Telephone 01392 722450