True or False? Introductions should constitute about 10% of an essay

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True or False?
1. Introductions should constitute about 10% of an essay.

2. Punctuation is a nice addition but not essential.

3. Evidence is helpful but not really necessary.

4. Brainstorming with another student is a form of cheating.

5. At all stages of writing an essay, you should consider your reader.

6. Asking someone else to read your essay and comment on its clarity and the development of its arguments is a form of cheating.

7. The best way to avoid issues of plagiarism is to quote extensively and properly reference the sources.

8. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence.

9. A conclusion should introduce new material if it clinches the argument.

10. Personal opinions are valued in essays.

11. While writing, it is a good idea to keep asking yourself, “Is this evidence / argument / line of thought relevant?”

12. An essay should answer the question, the whole question and nothing but the question.

Indicate all the statements with which you agree.

1. The introduction should

a. rouse interest
b. introduce an element of mystery/suspense
c. provide a glimpse of the conclusions
d. summarize issues raised by the question
e. define all the terms used in the essay
2. The main body should
a. constitute the major part of the essay
b. contain a limited number of main themes
c. support arguments with the writer's experience
d. contain well-developed arguments
e. rely on the reader to make connections to the topic
3. The conclusion should
a. gather together the threads in the main body to present a comprehensive picture of the issues
b. clearly and simply repeat the arguments of the body
c. add something to the argument
d. report a judgement based on reasoning and evidence
e. hint at future developments or questions

True/ False

  1. T- Introductions often make up about 10% of the entire essay though there is no hard and fast rule.

  2. F- Punctuation does matter. Correct punctuation helps the reader to accurately interpret what you want to say.

  3. F- An academic essay always requires evidence to support what you are saying.

  4. F- Brainstorming with others does not constitute cheating. It is an excellent way of stimulating thought and encourages critical thinking. Hearing the views of others can help you to gain a wider appreciation of issues involved, take a more balanced standpoint and encourage you to question and “firm up” your own ideas.

  5. T- Your reader is the equivalent of your customer who has to be pleased!

  6. F- Asking for feedback on the clarity and development of your arguments is not a form of cheating. You are the person who will consider the comments made and act according to your own judgement based on what has been said. If someone were to make changes for you that would be a different matter entirely…

  7. T and F- It is correct that all sources should always be referenced properly, in accordance with the conventions of your department. However, quotations should be used sparingly, when an author makes a point in a particularly stylish or concise manner.

  8. T- A topic sentence is the main point made in a paragraph, which is then expanded upon. It is often the first or second sentence in the paragraph.

  9. F- A conclusion should not introduce new material. If an additional argument seems to be important it should be inserted in the main body of the essay, not the conclusion.

  10. T- Your informed opinions are valued but they must be backed up with sound evidence.

  11. T- All that you write should be relevant to the question being answered. It is all too easy to drift off at a tangent so it can be very helpful to keep asking yourself about the relevance of what you are writing.

12. T- You need to answer the question, the whole question (not just sections of it) and nothing but the question (see 11 above).

  1. Introduction

  1. Yes- You should always try to rouse interest so that the reader wants to continue reading.

  2. NO mystery or suspense in an academic essay, please! If you are writing a novel that is another matter…

  3. No- An introduction should indicate where the arguments in your essay are leading, giving a sense of direction but not where you will arrive in the conclusion.

  4. Yes- The introduction may well briefly summarize some, but not necessarily all the issues raised by the question.

  5. It may well be helpful to define terms or at least some of them but it is not always necessary. Bear in mind your reader and whether it is helpful for him / her to be made aware of your understanding of the terms or to have them explained for his / her benefit.

  1. Main Body

  1. Yes- The main body, as the name suggests, forms the major part of your essay.

  2. Yes- It should contain a number of main themes but it may also contain some minor ones as well. It depends on the essay question.

  3. The writer’s own experience may or may not be relevant to the essay question being answered. In many academic essays it will not be as evidence is expected from authoritative, academic sources. In others, you may specifically be asked to draw upon your own experience. Again, it depends on the essay question!

  4. Yes- Well developed arguments are expected.

  5. NO- The reader should not be left in doubt about connections to the topic. You need to be explicit and think of the needs of the reader.

  1. Conclusion

  1. Yes.

  2. Yes and no! You should always be clear and you may need to repeat aspects of the arguments. However, you should be drawing together the essential threads of the arguments, not simply repeating them.

  3. You should not be adding new material at this stage. (See (a) above.) Your conclusion should, though, strengthen the arguments already made.

  4. Yes- Judgements in essays should always be based on sound reasoning and valid evidence.

  5. It may well be appropriate for future developments / research questions to be briefly mentioned. It depends on the essay question.

If you have any queries about essay writing or any other study skill, why not look at the Study Advice Service website:

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