Assignment-writing angie Parkinson

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  • How to structure and organise your essays / assignments


  • Like a building, essays gain structure/and shape from elements:
  • Scaffolding: the essay plan
  • Design: your argument
  • Central Framework: main elements or parts (Intro / Body / Conclusion)
  • Bricks: paragraphs
  • Reinforcement: wording

Title / Question / Brief

  • All your answer should focus on this. Keep checking the exact wording as you write
  • your plan
  • your draft

The Plan

  • Draw up a plan before starting to write
  • Make the plan detailed.
  • Show the content of:
  • Introduction
  • Main body
  • Conclusion
  • Does it flow logically?
  • Are all main points covered?

How to plan an argument: Divide a page lengthways

  • On the left:
  • jot down important info or data (‘facts’)
  • Use arrows to connect ‘facts’ to arguments
  • On the right:
  • jot down the main arguments (for and against)

Writing persuasive argument (1)

  • Differentiate between:
  • Facts
  • can be checked against evidence
  • Opinions
  • = personal viewpoints / beliefs
  • Arguments
  • = viewpoints + evidence

Writing persuasive argument (2)

  • State your position: sum it up in one brief sentence
  • Support your point of view: with ‘reliable’ evidence
  • Consider the opposition: have they a
  • better argument? Try to show otherwise

The Introduction (10%)

  • Refer directly to the title
  • Explain how you interpret it (eg by rephrasing it)
  • What issues are you going to explore?
  • How will you deal with each issue, and in which order?
  • (After draft is written) Does the Intro still hold good?

The main body (1)

  • May be divided into 3 or 4 sub-sections
  • Develop your argument / point of view
  • Paragraph 1
  • *In first sentence
  • introduce main idea of paragraph
  • *In other sentences
  • develop the idea (details, evidence, examples, quotes)
  • Each paragraph or sub-section should centre round a main issue

The main body (2)

  • Paragraph 2 and others
  • * link new paragraph to previous paragraph
  • (using appropriate Connectives)
  • *Introduce main idea of paragraph
  • * Develop the idea (as above)
  • * Use words and phrases that highlight
  • your point and show the direction
  • of your argument.

Conclusion (10% )

  • Don’t introduce new work, quote/repeat detailed evidence.
  • Refer directly to title and aims when drafting.
  • Summarise argument/main points
  • State general conclusions, refer to evidence in body of essay; don’t allow personal bias.
  • Say why these conclusions are important/ significant
  • Suggest areas where further knowledge is required
  • Sum up argument (briefly) - link it to the title.
  • Check you have done what you promised in your Intro

Bibliography etc

  • List all books, articles, websites, materials used – in the manner required by your School / Course
  • Label all illustrations / diagrams / tables

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