Below are some useful tips to consider when you are writing your essays. Use this sheet as a reference and check your essay against it before you hand it in
1. Keep subjectivity to a minimum
Always support your points with referenced evidence. Avoid use of the words ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘you’. Write in the third person.
2. Beware of blanket statements
It is not good enough to make generalisations such as ‘it is a well known fact that…’ and ‘research has shown that…’ in an academic piece. You must always the present evidence!
3. Font size
Use 12 points and Times Roman or Ariel. Use double line spacing.
4. Essays should be in continuous prose
Avoid sub-headings and bullet points (lists). These are descriptive – you must discuss your points!
The essay should have a definite introduction and conclusion of about one paragraph each with the main body paragraphs in between. See the Essay Structure Visual Guide for more information
Make one major point per paragraph in the main body (the section in between the introduction). When you change topic (you move on to another point) start a new paragraph too
7. Supporting evidence from varied sources
Aim to present a balanced argument, indicating your awareness of at least two aspects of the issue. A definite opinion or ‘verdict’ can sometimes (though not always) be delivered, but you must always show that you have adopted a critical approach. Avoid a ‘cut and paste’ essay (i.e. one that merely copies chunks of information without the essay author saying anything themselves) by paraphrasing your source information and including your own evaluation of that information. In other words you make the points by stating the point, including referenced evidence and examples from referenced sources and by evaluating that evidence
The essay should customarily have some quotations. Use them sparingly and only when they really illustrate a point well.