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Essay writing @ UCLAN

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Karen Smith

on 18 July 2013

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Transcript of Essay writing @ UCLAN

Essay writing at University

Essay writing at University is quite different to any sort of writing you have done before.

Let WISER explain why.....
You will hear or read this word in the course of your studies. Possibly it doesn't mean what you think it does.....

You really need to get your head around what it does mean in order to be good at writing and get good grades.
What is it then?
Any assignment should be thought of as a form of communication between you and the person marking your work.

It needs to communicate subject knowledge in a particular way,
using argument.

does not
mean debating 2 sides of an issue, it's much more than that.
Definitions of argument
‘the sequence of interlinked claims and reasons that, between them, establish content and force of the
position for which a particular speaker is arguing’ (Toulmin, Reike & Janik, 1984:14).
‘a process of argumentation, a connected series of statements intended to establish a position and implying response to another (or more than one) position’. (Andrews 1995:3)
‘to analyse and evaluate content knowledge’ (Wu, 2006:330).
put simply....
argument is the written version of your thoughts about the subject matter in the essay title, backed up by evidence
3 steps to developing an argument
1. analyse & evaluate your knowledge of the essay topic
This means using your lecture or seminar notes as the starting point for finding further reading around the topic.
You need to keep reading until you know enough about it to begin to form an impression about the topic.
2. develop a position- take a stand
You can only have a point of view on something once you have researched and read enough about it- otherwise you run the risk of sounding ignorant.

You might have several views; that's ok, it's good to be open-minded and balanced.

3. communicate your position
3 things are vital here: logical order, linking & evidence.

Package the information you need to give in a way that will make sense to the reader. Think about instructions or recipes, they need to be in a particular order for someone else to follow. It is the same with essays.

But, because an essay is communicating a topic more complicated than baking a cake you will need to make it a nice reading experience... this means linking your ideas together so that your reader goes from one part of your argument, i.e. what you are trying to say, to the next without a sudden jump.

Finally, evidence. This is so important that it gets its own bubble!

This aspect is what sets apart university essay writing from your previous writing experiences. You can't just write what you think about a topic, you need to back your ideas up with evidence.

This might come from what other people have written in books or research reported in journal articles. It might come from an institutional website or a newspaper article.

Evidence has got to come from a reliable, good quality source.
& how it is different from anything you have written before
Whatever you read and want to include in your essay to support your argument, it must be referenced.
Produced by Karen Smith
WISER tutor
Your next assignment
Obviously there's a lot more to good essay writing than this little presentation has covered.

Please visit the rest of the WISER website to find out more.
We run workshops on other sorts of writing you may need to do at uni as well as provide more detail about how to write in an academic way.

Please see our website for more details.
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