Always look out for flaws in arguments – and that includes your own.
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But writing a high-scoring paper doesn’t need to be complicated.
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Tim Squirrell is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and is teaching for the first time this year. When he was asked to deliver sessions on the art of essay-writing, he decided to publish a comprehensive (and brilliant) blog on the topic, offering wisdom gleaned from turning out two or three essays a week for his own undergraduate degree.
“It took me until my second or third year at Cambridge to work it out.
No one tells you how to put together an argument and push yourself from a 60 to a 70, but once you to get grips with how you’re meant to construct them, it’s simple. ”'I felt guilty when I got my results': your stories of buying essays | Guardian readers and Sarah Marsh Read more Poke holesThe goal of writing any essay is to show that you can think critically about the material at hand (whatever it may be). This means going beyond regurgitating what you’ve read; if you’re just repeating other people’s arguments, you’re never going to trouble the upper end of the marking scale.
“You need to be using your higher cognitive abilities,” says Bryan Greetham, author of the bestselling How to Write Better Essays.
“You’re not just showing understanding and recall, but analysing and synthesising ideas from different sources, then critically evaluating them Custom-Writing.co.uk has been providing custom writing services for UK students for over 5 years. Not only do we offer essay writing help, but a essay writing .
”But what does critical evaluation actually look like? According to Squirrell, it’s simple: you need to “poke holes” in the texts you’re exploring and work out the ways in which “the authors aren’t perfect”.
“You’re reading something that someone has probably spent their career studying, so how can you, as an undergraduate, critique it?“The answer is that you’re not going to discover some gaping flaw in Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume 3, but you are going to be able to say: ‘There are issues with these certain accounts, here is how you might resolve those’.
That’s the difference between a 60-something essay and a 70-something essay. ”Critique your own argumentsOnce you’ve cast a critical eye over the texts, you should turn it back on your own arguments.
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“We’re taught at an early age to present both sides of the argument,” Squirrell continues.
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But that’s not quite it: you need to figure out what the strongest objections to your own argument would be. Write them and try to respond to them, so you become aware of flaws in your reasoning.
Every argument has its limits and if you can try and explore those, the markers will often reward that. ”Applying to university? It's time to narrow your choices down to two Read more Fine, use Wikipedia thenThe use of Wikipedia for research is a controversial topic among academics, with many advising their students to stay away from the site altogether.
“Those on the other side say that you can’t know who has written it, what they had in mind, what their biases are.
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I would only recommend it as either a primer or a last resort, but it does have its place.
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They should be your first port of call for guidance, but they aren’t to-do lists. A book may be listed, but that doesn’t mean you need to absorb the whole thing.
Squirrell advises reading the introduction and conclusion and a relevant chapter but no more. “Otherwise you won’t actually get anything out of it because you’re trying to plough your way through a 300-page monograph,” he says.
You also need to store the information you’re gathering in a helpful, systematic way. Bryan Greetham recommends a digital update of his old-school “project box” approach.
“I have a box to catch all of those small things – a figure, a quotation, something interesting someone says – I’ll write them down and put them in the box so I don’t lose them Help me to do my personal customized purchase a personalized chemical like design Good British Issues For Documents For prime School500 concept essay or Throughout hindi dialect social media essay or dissertation intro research .
Then when I come to write, I have all of my material.
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Essays for sale: the booming online industry in writing academic work to order Read more Look beyond the reading list“This is comparatively easy to do,” says Squirrell. “Look at the citations used in the text, put them in Google Scholar, read the abstracts and decide whether they’re worth reading.
Then you can look on Google Scholar at other papers that have cited the work you’re writing about – some of those will be useful. ”And finally, the introductionThe old trick of dealing with your introduction last is common knowledge, but it seems few have really mastered the art of writing an effective opener. “Introductions are the easiest things in the world to get right and nobody does it properly,” Squirrel says. “It should be ‘Here is the argument I am going to make, I am going to substantiate this with three or four strands of argumentation, drawing upon these theorists, who say these things, and I will conclude with some thoughts on this area and how it might clarify our understanding of this phenomenon.
’ You should be able to encapsulate it in 100 words or so.
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