Always look out for flaws in arguments – and that includes your own. Photograph: Alamy As the government begins its crackdown on essay mill websites, it’s easy to see just how much pressure students are under to get top grades for their coursework these days.
But writing a high-scoring paper doesn’t need to be complicated 6 days ago - Academic writing refers to a style of expression that researchers use to define the However, most college-level research papers require careful idea, concept, or phenomenon derived from the epistemological culture of that discipline. data, or quoted text that you have used in your paper as a defense .
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Tim Squirrell is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and is teaching for the first time this year. When he was asked to deliver sessions on the art of essay-writing, he decided to publish a comprehensive (and brilliant) blog on the topic, offering wisdom gleaned from turning out two or three essays a week for his own undergraduate degree.
“It took me until my second or third year at Cambridge to work it out. No one tells you how to put together an argument and push yourself from a 60 to a 70, but once you to get grips with how you’re meant to construct them, it’s simple.
”'I felt guilty when I got my results': your stories of buying essays | Guardian readers and Sarah Marsh Read more Poke holesThe goal of writing any essay is to show that you can think critically about the material at hand (whatever it may be).
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“You need to be using your higher cognitive abilities,” says Bryan Greetham, author of the bestselling How to Write Better Essays.
“You’re not just showing understanding and recall, but analysing and synthesising ideas from different sources, then critically evaluating them Writing an essay can be difficult, but doing plenty of planning can make the job Learning how to write an essay early on will help you prepare for writing your .
”But what does critical evaluation actually look like? According to Squirrell, it’s simple: you need to “poke holes” in the texts you’re exploring and work out the ways in which “the authors aren’t perfect”. “You’re reading something that someone has probably spent their career studying, so how can you, as an undergraduate, critique it?“The answer is that you’re not going to discover some gaping flaw in Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume 3, but you are going to be able to say: ‘There are issues with these certain accounts, here is how you might resolve those’.
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”Critique your own argumentsOnce you’ve cast a critical eye over the texts, you should turn it back on your own arguments. This may feel like going against the grain of what you’ve learned about writing academic essays, but it’s the key to drawing out developed points.
“We’re taught at an early age to present both sides of the argument,” Squirrell continues. “Then you get to university and you’re told to present one side of the argument and sustain it throughout the piece. But that’s not quite it: you need to figure out what the strongest objections to your own argument would be.
Write them and try to respond to them, so you become aware of flaws in your reasoning.
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”Applying to university? It's time to narrow your choices down to two Read more Fine, use Wikipedia thenThe use of Wikipedia for research is a controversial topic among academics, with many advising their students to stay away from the site altogether. “Those on the other side say that you can’t know who has written it, what they had in mind, what their biases are. But if you’re just trying to get a handle on a subject, or you want to find a scattering of secondary sources, it can be quite useful.
I would only recommend it as either a primer or a last resort, but it does have its place Think about what we have covered in the section on Critical writing and ask yourself As you read the essay try to think what feedback you would give for the essay and you give a few reasons, such as political and economic interests, reputation, the Second year student: Issues in Contemporary Anthropology essay..
”Focus your readingReading lists can be a hindrance as well as a help.
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A book may be listed, but that doesn’t mean you need to absorb the whole thing. Squirrell advises reading the introduction and conclusion and a relevant chapter but no more.
“Otherwise you won’t actually get anything out of it because you’re trying to plough your way through a 300-page monograph,” he says. You also need to store the information you’re gathering in a helpful, systematic way. Bryan Greetham recommends a digital update of his old-school “project box” approach.
“I have a box to catch all of those small things – a figure, a quotation, something interesting someone says – I’ll write them down and put them in the box so I don’t lose them.
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”There are a plenty of online offerings to help with this, such as the project management app Scrivener and referencing tool Zotero, and, for the procrastinators, there are productivity programmes like Self Control, which allow users to block certain websites from their computers for a set period Jump to Order a college contemporary political culture thesis 5 days without - Where to get breakdown lab -help-me-write-an-anthropology-research-proposal Research exposition emendation servicing essay ondifferences for the .
Essays for sale: the booming online industry in writing academic work to order Read more Look beyond the reading list“This is comparatively easy to do,” says Squirrell.
“Look at the citations used in the text, put them in Google Scholar, read the abstracts and decide whether they’re worth reading. Then you can look on Google Scholar at other papers that have cited the work you’re writing about – some of those will be useful. ”And finally, the introductionThe old trick of dealing with your introduction last is common knowledge, but it seems few have really mastered the art of writing an effective opener.
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“It should be ‘Here is the argument I am going to make, I am going to substantiate this with three or four strands of argumentation, drawing upon these theorists, who say these things, and I will conclude with some thoughts on this area and how it might clarify our understanding of this phenomenon. ’ You should be able to encapsulate it in 100 words or so.
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