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The Internet is awash with not-so-helpful essay writing advice, making it tricky for students to find the advice they need when writing essays.
Does the application of the theory reveal any particular shortcomings, or strengths?
“Compare and contrast” essays, meanwhile, are essentially a hybrid of the above – you need to take a critical approach and evaluate the literature, but your focus has to remain solidly on the theories that you have been asked to compare and contrast.
A classic piece of advice is to “tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, and tell them what you told them” – this, in essence, summarises the core introduction, main body, and conclusion structure of your essay.
Having a clear and logical structure will help ensure that your essay stays focused, and doesn’t stray from the question being answered.
most common reason behind a disappointing grade when it comes to essay writing. If you are asked to critically evaluate a particular theoretical approach, for instance, you have to gain an understanding not only of said theory, but also other common approaches. Yes, you should still acknowledge alternative approaches, and yes, you should still note some strengths and weaknesses – but the bulk of the work must emphasise the concepts practical usefulness.
Are you being asked to critically evaluate something? They must all be weighed against each other, highlighting the relative strengths and weaknesses of each theory and, importantly, you must come to a well-justified and confident conclusion. Perhaps the best approach is to find one, or a few, case studies where the theory has been used – what was the outcome of this?
Make sure to tell your reader why you are transitioning from one argument to the next, why they are in this particular order, and how each argument helps shed light on a particular aspect of what you are discussing.
Writing may be the core task, but reading is equally important.
If you are still not a hundred percent sure, it is usually a good idea to skip to the conclusion – this usually contains a detailed summary of the study, which will help determine whether you should read the article as a whole.
You don’t want to waste time reading through and endless number of articles simply to find that they aren’t actually relevant.