TOP TIPS for Essay Writing Success

• Read your chosen essay topic instructions VERY carefully and make sure that you are engaging with the key components of the task
For the Topic on PAs- you need to ensure that you discuss each of the three components of the question: why we have PAs; key issues affecting them; key insights for future establishment or management.
Please also read carefully through the detailed assessment rubric for the essay task. This sets out the key criteria that will guide the marking of your essay. It is available under the Assessment 2 tab on the iLearn site.
• Remember that this assignment requires you to go beyond general description. You need to critically engage with and synthesize ideas from the academic sources you are drawing on, to build a coherent, overall argument through your discussion.
Imagine that you have been asked to summarise your overall argument in a few sentences. What is your take-home message for the reader? Have you developed a logical, cohesive overall conclusion? Remember that your conclusion needs to be relevant to the essay task.
A literature review requires you to be evaluative. You need to critically assess the ideas of different authors and engage with these in your discussion. Think carefully about what the authors of your sources are saying. Do you agree with their arguments? Why? Have they got something wrong or missed something in their argument? Could it be further refined? How does their argument relate to what you are discussing/arguing?
We want to see some of your own critical reflection coming through. Engaging with some of the key theoretical ideas we have explored in this unit, where appropriate, can also help enrich your discussion.
• You need to adopt academic writing conventions regarding essay structure, use of sources and referencing.
Structure- Use the introductory paragraph to clarify what you understand by the essay question and outline what your essay will discuss. It is often a good idea to flag your overall argument here. This allows the reader to track how this develops and can help structure your discussion. The body of your essay should follow a logical progression, building a strong case for your argument, drawing on the literature. Make sure that your paragraphs each have a logical structure and that each connects to the next. In the conclusion you need to draw your ideas together and demonstrate how you have responded to the essay question.
Sources- You will need to reference the required number of academic sources to support your discussion.
• FOR GEOP2050 students: 13-15 different scholarly sources
• FOR GEOP6050 students: 20-30 different scholarly sources
Appropriate sources include academic journal articles, book chapters and books, official reports, management plans etc. These should make up the bulk of your sources. You may use some online sources such as the websites from reputable NGOs or online news articles, but these need to be appropriate in the context of your discussion and need to be acknowledged and referenced correctly. Wikipedia is NOT an appropriate academic source!
Referencing- Harvard style is recommended for this unit.
For this assignment Harvard style of in-text citation is recommended to acknowledge your sources in the body of your essay. It is NOT sufficient to just list your sources at the end. The reader needs to be able to see where you have drawn your ideas from as they are reading your essay.
This means you need to include an in-text citation each time you are drawing on an idea or fact from a source. Appropriate citations lend credibility to your ideas and show that there is research to back up your claims, as well as making clear where particular ideas/facts/assertions have come from. Have a look at how sources are cited in your unit readings.
You can use another recognised referencing style but you need to use it consistently.
Remember that unless you are using a direct quotation, you always need to put ideas into your own words (still acknowledging your source). Unless the particular phrasing of the quote is important to your discussion, it is often better to paraphrase. Include a page reference in your in-text citation where you have used a direct quote from a source.
Avoid beginning sentences with direct quotes. You need to introduce the quotes and explain their value/significance.
Please see the detailed guide on Harvard referencing style:
The library has a range of resources to help with your referencing practice:
You may also find the following videos useful:
• Stick to the word limit
Being able to write succinctly is an important skill.
• GEOP2050- 2000 words
• GEOP6050- 2500 words
There is a 10% allowance – ie. you can write up to a maximum of 2200 words as a GEOP2050 student and 2750 words as a 6050 student . Anything beyond this will not be marked and you will be penalised for going over the word limit. Remember that while your reference list at the end is not included in the word count, your in-text citations are.
It is really helpful if you could indicate your word count at the top of your submission.
• Please proofread your essays before submission!
Make sure that your expression, grammar, spelling and punctuation are as good as possible and that your essay is formatted correctly. Reading your essay out loud while editing can be a really good way of helping you identify mistakes or areas that need further work. Ensure that you follow the style guidelines in the assessment instructions.
• Submit your essay on time
There is a penalty for late submission, so work towards submitting your essay before the deadline. Late essays attract a penalty of two (2) marks out of 100 per day after the due date. No assignment will be accepted seven (7) days (including weekends) after the original submission deadline.
Please contact your convenor as early as possible if you encounter any technical issues with submission.
☐ I have fully engaged with all of the key components of the essay question
☐ My essay has a clear structure and progresses in a logical manner
☐ I have convincingly presented a cohesive overall argument/thesis and demonstrated how I have answered the essay question
☐ I have drawn on and critically engaged with appropriate academic sources
☐ I have appropriately cited and referenced all my sources
☐ I have proofread my essay to ensure clear expression
☐ I am within the word limit
☐ I have correctly formatted my essay
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