Essays

  • If you can't get started or get stuck...

    • Read your module handbook carefully - there will be some advice there, sometimes a lot. Check online for additional course materials.
    • Seek advice as soon as possible - see your module/seminar leader. Talk to other students.
    • Don't get miserable! Get help. You can email Upgrade to book a tutorial.

    Meanwhile, try some of the advice here.

    Getting started

    Overview 

    The 7 steps in writing an essay - on one sheet.

    Writing an essay

    This presentation (University of Leicester, UK) shows you what is involved in writing an essay from start to finish. A relaxed 13 minutes to pick up advice.

    Analysing your assignment brief

    (University of Leeds) Get your research off to a good start by ensuring your focus is exactly what it should be with this practical guide.

    Analysing your Assignment Brief Essential Questions

    (University of Leicester) Test whether you are taking the right approach to your assignment with these questions.

    Assignment survival kit

    (Staffordshire University, UK) Enter today's date and your deadline, and the kit suggests what you should be doing when. You don't have to follow it slavishly, but you can pick up a lot of specific advice along the way.

    Essay writing diagnostic

    (University of Leicester, UK) You don't have to take this too seriously, but exploring your current style of working may help you build on your strengths or prompt you to try other approaches... 

    • Essay diamond 

      This one-side summary of an essay (in diamond shape) shows how an essay fits together, with bite-size summaries of each element (from Godwin, J. 2009. Planning your essay. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)
    • Structuring essays

       (University of Bradford, UK) A one-side outline plan with boxes for you to complete to plan your essay from start to finish.
    • Essay writing

      (RMIT, Aus) It's all here. Take your time to click through this excellent site for short, clear, logical, uncluttered explanations and examples of the key elements of essay writing – structure, process and order. It includes structures for paragraphs, introductions and conclusions, language and words to use.
    • Structure: communicating argument  

      Chapter 6 of A Visual Guide to Essay Writing  takes you through all aspects of essay structure, from the overall shape, through paragraphs to how to structure different types of essay – all clear, easy to see and wittily illustrated. This resource may take a few moments to load but good things are worth waiting for!
    • Instruction words 

      Analyse, compare, contrast, define, discuss etc (University of Kent, UK) - all listed with a brief explanation of what each requires you to do to answer the question.
    • Topic analysis: predicting argument 

      Chapter 4 of A Visual Guide to Essay Writing (JCU, Aus) demonstrates through clear graphics and witty illustrations how to unpick essay questions and uncovers what you have to do to answer them.

    Writing

    • Essay structure in brief

      (Open University, UK) A reminder of the overall structure when you're writing your essay.
    • What do tutors really want?

      (Monash University, Aus) Your tutor/lecturer is the best source of advice and models for your essays. This tutorial is good for getting lecturers' perspectives in different disciplines. Pick the subject area closest to yours – and click into the detail of this extensive site (on the left). It takes a few minutes to find your way around but worth it.
    • Academic writing

      Explore the different sections of the Phrasebank (University of Manchester,UK) while you write. You shouldn't find yourself writing 'Bloggs (2010) stated...' ever again!