Essays have three parts:
Reading information about your essay assignment helps you identify:
Check your study guide for assessment information (including assessment criteria to understand how your work will be graded).
Look for the important words that tell you what to write about, as well as the way your lecturer expects you to write.
To organise content for your essay, it’s useful to relate broad ideas and concepts to more specific types/parts. You can then identify the topic of each paragraph in your essay.
Start by making an ideas map.
You can then easily organise content into clear paragraphs.
The start of each paragraph (the topic sentence) should clearly tell the reader which idea you are focusing on because the reader can ‘see’ your ideas map, and understand how you have organised your essay.
Check with your lecturer about what their instruction words mean (as lecturers sometimes have different expectations.)
Journals are collections of articles which focus on particular topics. These articles are published periodically, such as four times a year. One common purpose of an article is to report on new research. For your essays, journal articles can provide you with up-to-date content on topics you have to write or talk about. To efficiently read journal articles, you need to:
Information on the first page of the article will often help you decide if you should read further.
Abstracts are particularly good for quickly deciding if the content matches what you need for your essay. They are usually organised into distinctive parts that provide an overview of the whole article.
It is not always necessary to read the whole article. Two common shortcuts are:
Journal articles commonly have distinctive parts (eg, Abstract, Literature Review, Discussion…). Each part has a clear function, which helps you to find specific information. (You may not need to read the whole thing.)
There are different note taking options to keep track of your reading for essays:
To answer assignment questions, you often need to group content from your readings into broad categories - often called themes. This helps you identify reoccurring topics across different readings.
Showing your lecturer that you can identify themes in your essay is important because:
Paraphrasing means that you:
Referencing is a standardised way of acknowledging in your writing where you found any words, ideas, etc that are from other people’s work.
Your work will have a mix of your own ideas and other people’s. If the ideas are not yours, you must either paraphrase and/or quote (called an in-text citation).