How to Write an Essey

How to write an essay plan

The ability to write a good essay begins with careful and efficient planning. This means that the preparation and research of an essay are as important, if not more so, than the actual writing.

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Looking at your essay question

Conducting research and finding references

Planning your essay's structure

Planning your bibliography

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Looking at your essay question

The first thing to do when planning an essay is to look carefully at the question. This may sound obvious but more students fail because they misread the question than for most other reasons, so it is essential that you read through and identify precisely what the question is asking. A good way of doing this is to look for key words in the question such as ‘compare, ‘contrast’, ‘analyse’, ‘discuss’ etc., as these words tell you the approach you need to take when constructing the essay and will help you to formulate your response to the question.

Conducting your research and finding references...

The next thing to do is to decide how to conduct your research. You will need to look at the key texts for the subject you are going to discuss and jot down references from each piece to use as quotes to support the points you make in your essay. It is a good idea to look at the references and bibliographies of these texts as they will give you more ideas about how to extend your own research. Remember that all referencing, in your in-text quotes and your reference list and/or bibliography, must be in the referencing style required by your school, college or university. These are very different but employ two basic styles:
•Parenthetical in-text quotes identified by a reference list
•Footnotes and bibliography.

You need to find out precisely which style is adopted by your...