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What is an essay?

An essay is:

  • a continuous piece of writing that sets out to discuss or argue a point of view or opinion.

  • information presented formally often with the intention of defending or promoting a particular point of view.

Why are you required to write essays?

  • to demonstrate knowledge and expertise in a subject area.

  • to apply theories and models to given topics/ questions/ issues - to support the proposition you are putting forward.

  • to demonstrate your ability to synthesise various sources of information in a coherent and concise piece of writing enabling the reader to easily follow the flow of ideas.

  • to develop your ability to argue, persuade, explain, inform and/or discuss.

  • to convince the reader by the logic of the argument presented.

A Step By Step Guide to Essay Writing

Step 1 Choose your topic

If you have a choice of topics – select the one that interests you the most or that has relevance to your chosen career.
If you are allowed to create your own essay topic, choose a subject that you want to learn more about and which interests you.
Step 2 Read the instructions, relating to your assessments as set down in your Course Guide

Always check your Course Guide to ensure that you are clear about what you are required to do:

  • When is the essay due?

  • How long is it?

  • What is the format?

  • How does this topic relate to the course?

  • How does this topic relate to the current area being studied?

Step 3 Analyse the topic

Break the topic into its component parts to understand what the main elements of the task are. Essay topics can usually be divided into three sections:

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