(b) The body of the essay. Intelligent use of paragraphing is crucial to the success of an essay. Often, it is best to organise the paragraphs so that each makes and defends a point or premise essential the argument of the essay. (by 'premise' is meant a point which is part of and essential to the argument of the essay.) It must be entirely clear how your points fit into the argument: essays which meander around the topic leaving the marker to join the dots to comprise. It is a good idea to use 'topic sentences' to signal the subject and make explicit the point of each paragraph. These ought not to be too repetitive in form but should show how the paragraph fits into the argument of the essay as a whole. The following topic sentences (here marked in red for clarity) would, essay for example, be appropriate as a way of introducing paragraphs that comprised a series of 'tests' in a 'to-what-extent' essay that called for an assessment of the effects of the Black death on the. It is also possible to assess the extent of the catastrophe by looking at the level of demand for land in the major urban centres.
Writing the first Draft. Having revised you argument (and plan it's time to write your essay. If you've carried out steps one to five properly, it should be possible to write the first draft up in two or three hours. (a) Writing an Introduction. An introduction dream should show how you intend to answer the question, by (1) indicating the line of argument you intend to take, by (2) giving an overview of the organisation of what follows, and by (3) indicating the sort of material or evidence you will. It is an effective strategy, especially when writing a short essay, to begin with a bold, attention-grabbing, first sentence which shows the marker that you know what you are doing: that is, answer the question as briefly as possible with your first sentence. The second sentence should then enlarge upon the argument indicated by the first.
Does the argument need to be re-constructed from scratch? If so, how can I recycle the information i've already begun to collect? Much will depend upon how confident you now feel about your argument. Follow your instincts: if the argument feels wrong, look for a better one. It is better to start again than to write an essay that lacks conviction. If complete reconstruction is unavoidable, go back to '5. Drawing up a plan'.
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It should comprise a list of the points which each paragraph will attempt to demonstrate, and rough notes on plan supporting examples. It may be useful to begin by thinking again what type of question you have chosen and by looking the natural way of answering. In order to draw up a plan you will need to evaluate its merits: What points will I need to make in order to sustain this argument? Are there alternative points of view which will have to be considered and refuted in order to make this argument work? Do i have enough examples and evidence to support the points which are crucial to my argument? Do i need to know more about the examples I'm planning to use?
Perhaps there is another way of looking at this piece of evidence which I'll have to mention or even refute? Directed Research, having decided on the line of argument you intend to use, and identified areas where you need more material, search the reading list and bibliographies of the texts you've been using for books and articles which will help you to solve these problems. Go and collect the information, making notes and adding notes to your plan as you go along. Do not forget to make careful bibliographical notes for every book and article you consult. You will need this information when it comes to footnoting your essay. Revising your Argument, inevitably, the previous stage will turn up things you hadn't thought of and books with better things to say about the topic. Ask yourself: can your argument be saved with a few adjustments?
The conclusion would then require a summation of the various 'sub-conclusions'. It needs to be stressed that none of these types of question calls for a narrative approach. You will never be asked to produce a narrative of what happened. In rare circumstances, a few sentences of narrative may form part of the evidence cited in support of a point, but the essay as a whole should be organised according to a logical structure in which each paragraph functions as a premise in the argument. The analytical and expository voice will always prove more effective than the narrative mode of writing. Preliminary reading, the aim of your initial reading should be to identify an argument which answers the question - one which you find plausible and can carry through with conviction.
For this purpose, it will be useful to read at least two or three items, including a recent book covering the general area in which the topic falls. Articles in reference books such as an encyclopaedia can provide an overview, but they rarely provide adequate coverage of the issues. Citing such works will undermine the credibility of your essay. Do not forget to make notes as you. Making notes helps you to summarise arguments and ideas, to select points relevant to your essay, to clarify and adjust your understanding of the essay question and of the topic it bears upon. But your main priority should be to discover an argument. Drawing up a plan. Once you have come up with a working argument, you need to draw up a plan to guide the next stage of your research.
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This essay will examine five spheres which cast light on the extent of Jewish influence in high medieval France: namely, their role in the commercial life of the towns, the role of Jewish banking in the agrarian economy, their influence on Christian intellectual life. The essay would need a conclusion in which you pulled together the results of your test cases: It has been seen that world the jews exerted a profound influence on the intellectual life of the universities but almost none on that of the established monastic orders. &apos"-and-discuss' questions require you to identify the issue at stake and to produce a reasoned response. You may respond, for example, by agreeing with the"tion in which case you will need to explain why agreement is the best response, why it would be wrong to disagree. You should consider the merits of a variety of responses. If possible you should always examine the book or article from which the"tion has been taken in order to discover what its author meant by it, to discover how the author has understood the issues. 'compare-and-contrast' questions demand the identification of similarities and differences. One method of tackling such an essay would be to distinguish five or six areas of similarity and contrast, and to devote a section of the essay to each area - a section in which you would assess the degree of similarity and reach.
You must show why your assessment is the best by considering its merits vis-à-vis alternative evaluations. It might be useful to define and defend the criteria on which your judgement depends. That is, to explain why they are the best criteria for judging the historical phenomenon at issue. 'What-role-did-X-play-in-y' questions imply a functionalist approach - that is, they require that you identify the function of writeline some phenomenon, group or institution within some specific system. Thus, the subject of the question is the 'y' rather than the 'x' element. That is, the question requires a discussion of the system as a whole and the consideration of alternative explanations of how 'x' worked within. 'to-what-extent' questions involve a judgement of measure. One way of answering the question would be set up a series of 'tests as it were, that can be investigated in turn.
is almost invariably one of the issues under discussion among the historians who are most deeply engaged with the problem, but in general for each historical question there will be a body of evidence which is recognised. This body of evidence will typically comprise what the primary sources tell us about the events and phenomena under discussion. A good answer will need to harmonise with all of this evidence, or explain why particular items have been dismissed as having no bearing on the problem. It follows from all of this that there certainly are wrong answers — that is, answers which fall outside the field of possible solutions or which fail to take account of received evidence — even though there is no 'absolutely right' answer. Analysing the question, essential steps: select a question; identify the subject of the question; what are you being asked to do - that is, what kind of information will you need to answer the question, and how will you have to treat it? Circling the key words in the question is sometimes a helpful first step in working out exactly what you need. It is useful to note that there is usually a natural way of structuring your answer: that is, a way of organising an answer which follows naturally from the format of the question and which will put the fewest obstacles in the way of the. 'Assess 'evaluate' and 'define-the-significance-of' questions require judgements supported by reasons, explanation and evidence.
Essays test understanding shakespeare by asking you to select and re-organise relevant material in order to produce your own answer to the set question. An undergraduate essay need not be particularly innovative in its approach and insights, but it must be the product of the student's own dialogue with the subject. Essays which do not answer the question can only be regarded as demonstrating some knowledge of the topic, they cannot be said to show understanding of the topic. Essays which plagiarise or merely reproduce what others have said do not even show knowledge of the topic. Plagiarism is thus not merely a matter of theft, it involves an entirely unacceptable subversion of the learning process. Is there a right and a wrong answer? History essays are less about finding the correct answer to the set question than they are about demonstrating that you understand the issues which it raises (and the texts which discuss these issues). With most historical problems (certainly the most interesting ones) it is seldom possible to arrive at a definitive answer.
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Some suggestions for the reviews time-conscious Student. The following outline is intended as to provide one example of how to write an essay. Treat it as food for thought, as providing a set of suggestions some of which you might incorporate into your own method for writing essays. Why do historians set essays? It is useful to begin by considering why essay-writing has long been the method of choice for assessment in history. The chief reason is that no other method provides as effective a means of testing a student's comprehension of a topic. We want you to show us that not only have you acquired a knowledge of the topic but also that you fully understand the topic and the issues raised.