15 Basic Principles Of Essay Writing

The following is based on an original document by Bethan Davies with revisions by John McKenna, D. Robert Ladd, and Ellen G. Bard of the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

1  Introduction

Good essay writing is a skill acquired rather than learnt. Approaches vary from person to person and will depend on one’s experience in essay writing, almost to the point where a style of writing will be as individual as a signature.

You may already be quite comfortable writing essays and if so, you will have a definite feel for what works for you. If, on the other hand, you are new at the game or don’t seem to be getting the marks you feel your efforts deserve, then we encourage you to follow the advice in Section 2 on preparation and research. The same applies to Section 3 on structure and Section 4 on style, but the contents of these sections can also serve as a basis for self-assessment—even for the experienced—before that final draft is submitted. There is a checklist at the end—use it! You should pay special attention to Section 4.3 on stylistic conventions, as there is little scope for flexibility on these matters within a particular academic discipline.

Throughout this short guide we use the term “essay” to mean any sort of academic writing assignment that you hand in for a course. In economics you will be required to produce a variety of written assignments, and only some of them will be “essays” in the sense that the term might be used in a history or literature course. Others will be concise reports of experiments or descriptions of economic or other data. However, they are all referred to herein as “essays,” and most of the principles of clarity, organization and presentation apply to them all.

2  Preparation

2.1  Time Management

Allow yourself enough time. If you work continuously on your essay right up to the deadline, there is a very high likelihood that you won’t have done yourself (or the topic) justice. So make a rough timetable. Aim to have what you subjectively feel is a “final” draft at least two days before the submission deadline. Use the remaining days to review your work at well-spaced intervals. This will help you look more objectively at your own work.

2.2  Getting Started

Я умер. Но я слышу какие-то звуки. Далекий голос… - Дэвид. Он почувствовал болезненное жжение в боку.

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