Struggling to write your degree essay and don’t even know where to start? Here are some ideas which can be applied to pretty much any social sciences subject to help you get going with your degree essays .
First, think about the actual subject itself and the question you’re being asked. Your tutors want you to show critical argument in order to score high marks. Sometimes slightly different terms are used such as ‘discuss’, or ‘explore’ but the concepts are broadly similar – you need to consider the arguments for and against.
Be careful here, critical argument doesn’t mean “write down everything you know”. It actually means consider both sides of the problem and pick out the most relevant points and then back them up with evidence.
Normally the easiest thing to do with your degree essay writing is to break the essay down into manageable sections. This has two benefits. The first is psychological because it helps it seem manageable (so you stop procrastinating). The second is that you can research each section of the essay as a discrete “mini-topic” and from there write the whole essay in manageable sections.
It’s reasonably safe to adopt the following structure in most cases. Start with the introduction to set the scene. Then set out the key theories or ideas you’re going to discuss. Move on from there to discuss alternative or contradictory ideas, so “X says this, but Y disagrees”. Now you’ve laid out all the groundwork you can critically compare the theories with examples – this shows that you actually understand the concepts. Finally round off the work with a reasoned conclusion.
Finally, another mistake a lot of people make in degree essay writing is thinking that there is only one “right” answer. Not so – provided you have set out your argument supported it there can be a multitude of possible right answers.
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