Writing Better University Essays/Summary page

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Summary Page[edit]

This page is a one-page summary of the whole book. A good essay is characterized by following a structured approach of essay writing.

Audience[edit]

When writing an essay, you should always think about the audience: who do you write for. The audience is often imaginary, but you should never assume that your readers will be very familiar with the special concepts you use. Aim for somebody in your general subject but specializes on a completely different area.

Structure[edit]

The key to a successful essay is planning the structure: what you’re going to say in what order. There is more than one way to approach every question. Following the following advice will always be a reasonable approach.

1. Delimiting the Question[edit]

As a first step you’ll state how you understand the question. By doing so, you give your reader a sense of where the essay is going. You also demonstrate that you’re going to answer the question. An important point is to be explicit what goes into the essay and what stays out. A short outline is often helpful.

2. Defining Key Terms[edit]

Rather than assuming familiarity with the key concepts, always give a brief definition. Not only will your readers know what you talk about, but you also can demonstrate that you know what aspects are the most important ones.

3. Main Part[edit]

Having outlined what you’re going to write, clarified the key concepts, it’s time to deliver. Essays with a clear structure, following a certain logic are the most successful ones. Don’t hesitate to state how different bits link, or why a certain paragraph is relevant. Include illustrations to bring the argument to life.

4. Discussion[edit]

After exploring the different aspects in your previous section, it’s time to take a critical stance. Are some aspects more convincing, are others plain wrong? This is the place to bring in your own views and prepare the conclusion.

5. Conclusion[edit]

You have nearly reached the end. In your final section, summarize the main points of your essay, reminding the reader how you got to where you ended up. Refer to the essay question, showing that you have answered the question you were set.

References[edit]

Always include full references to all the material cited and quoted.

Next: Glossary