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. It is the most common focus for study consultations among students using Learning Development. Other useful guides: What is critical reading? What is critical writing? Thought mapping; Referencing and bibliographies; Avoiding plagiarism; The art of editing. A collection of Question lists is available via the Learning Development website. These lists suggest questions to ask of your writing when you are reviewing it.
To produce a high quality essay you need to demonstrate your ability:
To understand the precise task set by the title;
To identify, appropriate material to read;
To understand and evaluate that material;
To select the most relevant material to refer to in your essay;
To construct an effective argument;
and to arrive at a well-supported conclusion. The need to use such a wide range of academic skills is probably the main reason why the essay format is so popular with tutors as an assignment. The word limit adds to the challenge by requiring that all of these skills be demonstrated within a relatively small number of words. Producing incisive and clear written work within a word limit is an important skill in itself, which will be useful in many aspects of life beyond university.