Essay writing techniques in Higher Education

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Essay writing techniques in Higher Education

  • ©The Learning Quality Support Unit, 2013

Aims and Outcomes

  • To understand the importance of essay writing
  • Ideas generation
  • To be aware of the fundamental requirements that make up a “good” essay

Why is Writing Important?

  • Part of the assessment process
  • Communication
  • Training
  • Production of Reports
  • Publications
  • Much study time is invisible to others – this is an opportunity to show evidence of your efforts

Getting going: ideas generation

  • What are the implications of the title?
  • What ideas lie behind the title?
  • What are you being invited to explore?
  • Put your ideas on paper
  • There should be a mixture of fact/description and theory/argument
  • Create a plan


  • Engage your reader
  • Briefly introduce the topic area
    • Explain or define terminology (key terms)
  • Provide a ‘map’ to the main body:
  • Generally 10% of the word count

Main Body

Main Body tips

The Conclusion

  • Gather and paraphrase all summaries
  • Is it clear why these are key to the question/title?
  • Have you met the learning outcomes?
  • Only include material that has been mentioned in the main text.
  • The final sentence can be used for an overall summary that addresses the question.


  • Have I answered the question?
  • Have I covered main points?
  • Have I covered these in enough detail?
  • Is each main point supported by examples and argument?
  • Have I acknowledged all references and sources?

Finally, before submission!!

  • Carry out a last spell check – do not rely too much on computer spellchecker.
  • Thoroughly proof read – visit Serif WordRead 2 or use a second person if possible. Read it aloud – tape it and play back.
  • Check referencing – is it in the text and the referencing page?
  • Pages numbered?
  • Identification of owner.
  • Keep a backup copy just in case!!!!!!!!!!!!

How to avoid academic misconduct

  • Direct quotes should always be identified.
  • Try to paraphrase more than once.
  • Take full details of the source at the same time that you make notes.
  • Distinguish between direct quotes and paraphrasing in your notes.
  • Do not share your work.
  • Don’t self-plagiarise!

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