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Essay and Report Writing. Learning Outcomes After completing this course, students will be able to: Analyse essay questions effectively. Identify how.

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Presentation on theme: "Essay and Report Writing. Learning Outcomes After completing this course, students will be able to: Analyse essay questions effectively. Identify how."— Presentation transcript:

1 Essay and Report Writing

2 Learning Outcomes After completing this course, students will be able to: Analyse essay questions effectively. Identify how to organise essay paragraphs and structure an essay. Construct essay introductions and conclusions. Identify the differences between essays and reports. Organise a report correctly.

3 The Question Your first task is to fully understand the question being asked. Make sure you actually answer this, rather than just writing everything you know on the topic or answering a question you would have liked to have been asked! You need to focus your research around this question, so take a few minutes and identify the keywords and command word in the question.

4 Keywords The keywords are the important words in your question. For example: ‘Discuss how a tutor can motivate their students’ The keywords are ‘ Tutor ’ ‘ Motivate ’ and ‘ Students ’

5 Command Words Your essay question will probably begin with a command word, such as ‘analyse’ or ‘discuss’. It is essential that you understand what this word means – use a dictionary if you don’t. As you write your essay, keep referring back to the question and check you are doing what the command word asked you to do. Explain Discuss Evaluate Justify Describe Compare

6 Analyse Take something apart and look at the concepts and ideas under discussion in depth.

7 Compare and Contrast Show how two things are similar and dissimilar and indicate the consequence of the differences.

8 Evaluate Weigh up the arguments surrounding an issue, using your own opinions and the opinions given in the work of others.

9 Describe Give a detailed account of something.

10 Justify Make a case by providing a body of evidence to support your ideas and points of view. Consider opinions which may run contrary to your own before stating your conclusion.

11 Outline Provide the main features of something.

12 Tone When writing an academic essay, it is important that you use the correct tone and language. There are a few things you should avoid doing in an essay…

13 Things to avoid 1) Informal Language Your essay should be written in formal English. There should be no colloquial language, or language written as someone would speak, or use in a text message. Don’t use words like ‘okay', 'maybe’ or ‘sort of’ Write out numbers – ‘Four’ rather than 4 Don’t abbreviate words – ‘did not’ rather than ‘didn’t’

14 Things to avoid 2) Using clichés Avoid using clichés in your work. Examples of clichés include: ‘stuck out like a sore thumb’ ‘think outside the box’ ‘avoid it like the plague’

15 Things to avoid 3) Long Quotes Don’t use too many long quotes. Try and paraphrase the ideas and words of other people and put them into your own words, rather than copying big chunks of text. Remember that even when you put the ideas of someone else into your own words that this still needs to be referenced!

16 Things to avoid 4) Unnecessary words Don’t use too many unnecessary words. Use straightforward language and communicate succinctly. Go through a paragraph that you have written and cross out any words, phrases or sentences that may be unnecessary. Read it again to see if you have lost anything essential to the meaning. If you have not, then delete it permanently.

17 Things to avoid 5) Writing in First Person Academic writing should be written in third person, eliminating the personal use of ‘I’ Instead of ‘In this essay, I am going to discuss’ say ‘This essay will discuss’ Instead of ‘I think’ say ‘It can be argued’ Instead of ‘I noted from Petty’s research’ say ‘It can be noted from Petty’s research’

18 Introductions An essay introduction should form about 10 percent of the total word count for your essay. You should engage immediately with the question, to show you understand what is being asked.

19 Introductions It is a good idea to briefly explain the topic you are going to discuss, and how you are going to address it in your essay. Your introduction should be like a map – identifying the surrounding context and the route the essay will take to answer the question.

20 Questions to ask of your introduction 1.Have I shown that I understand the task that has been set? 2.Have I given an outline of the way I plan to respond to the title? 3.Is my introduction a true indication of what the reader is about to read? If you can answer YES to all these – you should have an effective introduction. ? ? ? ?

21 You don’t necessarily have to write your introduction first! Sometimes it is easier to go back and write this last, once you have written the main body of the essay, and know the points you have made. TIP!

22 Paragraphs Each new point or argument made to answer your essay question should be put in a new paragraph. Each point made should be expanded upon and supported with evidence, examples and relevant quotations.

23 Paragraphs Each paragraph should begin with a ‘ topic sentence ’ which introduces the point the paragraph is going to cover. Example paragraph of an essay which discusses the arguments for and against abortion. One of the main debates surrounding abortion is the point at which the unborn child has rights. There are a variety of different opinions on the stage at which a foetus has the right to live. These range from conception, the first sign of brain activity or when the foetus could survive outside the womb. There is no agreed moment in medicine or philosophy of the point at which a foetus should have the same rights as an adult human being (BBC, 2012). Introduces topic of an argument against abortion The rest of the paragraph then expands on the point made in the topic sentence, using other sources to back up the point being made.

24 Paragraphs You should be able to sum up the content of each paragraph in a few words. When you think you have finished your essay, you could go through your essay, and next to each paragraph, write down the main point covered. Doing this allows you to check the topics flow smoothly and there is no unnecessary repetition.

25 Conclusions An essay conclusion should form about 10 percent of the total word count for your essay.

26 Conclusions There should be no new material in an essay conclusion, just a brief summary of the points which have already been made. Ensure you refer back to the question, to show you have answered it effectively.

27 Conclusions Three questions to ask to check you have written an effective conclusion. 1.Have I referred back to the title of the essay? 2.Is my conclusion genuinely well-supported by the evidence and argument that I have presented throughout the essay? 3.Have I made sure that I have not introduced a new argument at this stage which hasn’t been previously mentioned in the essay? ? ? ? ?

28 Reports There are several differences between reports and essays. Reports are often used to give the results of research, and the content tends to be more informative and factual. Reports have a more formal structure than essays Reports include headings and sub-headings. Reports often include bullet points, tables or graphs.

29 Academic Tone You still must use an appropriate tone when writing a report, avoiding the same issues as you would with an essay. Do not use informal language or clichés. Do not use unnecessary words. Do not write in first person.

30 Report Headings Not all reports contain the same headings, but these are some of the most commonly used: Abstract - A short summary of the whole research, including context, methods, results and conclusions. Introduction - Overview of context. Compares, contrasts and analyses findings of other similar or relevant research. Method - Step-by-step description of how the research was conducted.

31 Report Headings Results - Factual data and description of findings with no explanations. Discussion - Critical evaluation of results and methodology. Link back to other research, models and theories. Conclusion - Final summing up of findings of report with no new material.

32 Contents Pages You will also number the pages of your report and use a contents page to detail the headings included and which pages these can be found on.

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