Legal Studies: Tips on Hsc Extended Responses

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1. Introduction
The introduction to your essay is an important paragraph. It is the first thing the reader sees. A good introduction should 1. Introduce the reader to the general topic
2. Identify the focus or purpose of the essay
3. Outline the scope, that is, the points to be covered
Your introduction (and the conclusion) just frames the essay, and should not do any of the real work of explaining, justifying or arguing which is all done by the body of the essay. When writing your introduction, first, organize your thoughts and create an outline. Once you are ready to write your introduction, keep a few simple points in mind. Be brief and to the point. An introduction is usually one paragraph. Have at least three sentences but no more than six. You want your introduction to be just that, an introduction. It should start your essay off with a bang. Grab their attention, explain what your essay will be about, and then get into the essay. You may want to try to come up with an interesting first sentence to immediately grab the reader's attention, it could be a quote. Some students define key terms in the introduction, however lengthy definitions may be better dealt with in the body of the essay. An introduction containing these features might look like this: Essay on alternate family arrangements:

In contemporary Australia there exists a wide variety of family structures. Traditionally however, the law has mainly recognised the nuclear family and has been slow to recognise other family arrangements, particularly same-sex couples. As a consequence, not all families receive equal recognition under the law. To improve justice for all people, there has been a gradual movement towards equality for all family units, regardless of their composition. 2. Body

The body of an essay is where you develop your essay. This occurs in a series of paragraphs with each paragraph logically flowing to the next. Thus:  a good use of topic sentences and
 correct paragraph structure are important.
The first sentence (topic sentence) of each paragraph introduces the paragraph and should inform the reader of the point you are making and how this paragraph relates to the question. In fact, if the reader were to scan your topic sentences, they should be able to obtain a sketch of the entire essay. This sketch should show the logical progression of the points you are making. Absence of topic sentences leaves the reader wondering what you are trying to say and why, ultimately confusing the reader. A topic sentence expresses the main idea of a paragraph. What usually follows a topic sentence are a number of supporting sentences that develop the main idea with specific details. Effective paragraphs have three important qualities

 Unity – where they focus on one main idea.
 Development – the idea is elaborated on in the paragraph.  Coherence – everything in the paragraph relates to and expands on the point you are making. In addition to a topic sentence and supporting sentences, paragraphs often have a concluding sentence. The topic sentence introduces the paragraph, and the concluding sentence summarises it. However, this concluding sentence is not essential. What is important is that the transition from one paragraph to the next is logical and flows smoothly. Suggestion

Topic sentence – introduces the main focus, subject of the paragraph, defines E
Explanation – elaborate on the main point - provide relevant factual information E
Evidence – provide case, legislation media report, quote etc E
Evaluation – make a judgement about effectiveness by refining to relevant criteria S
Sum up and lead into next paragraph
The conclusion is also an important paragraph in your essay. It is usually one paragraph in length and should reflect what you said you were going to do in your introduction. The conclusion  summarises what you've said in your essay and

 reaffirms your thesis
Do not introduce new material. Most students begin their...
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