Advice for writing an essay.
Keep it clean and simple
Ask the lecturer for their preferred layout
- Line spacing. It is common to use 1.5 as this allows for the lecturer to make notes and keeps it clear. However, some prefer normal 1 or rather spacious 2.
- Stapled or put in a clear pocket?
- What details need to be on header? Should you use a cover page instead?
- What is the word count? How strict is this?
Plan in advance you basic layout. Your initial research, lecture notes, or course structure should help here.
Intro – 10-20%
Main Body – 60-80% (60% will probably be too small)
Conclusion - 10-20%
I tended to use 10 – 80 – 10
What is the discussion, introduce what will be discussed.
What potential issues are there? Try to make it interesting. This may be difficult as the subject may be boring.
Main body plan-
What is an organisational policy?
How did it develop?
Should policy be discussed?
Offer an example of how policy has been used
Wrap up the essay
Highlight important points discussed
Do not ask more questions or raise any new points in a conclusion. Very bad practice.
There is a recognized format for displaying your sources – use it.
Use a good range of resources-
Reliable websites not commercial sites unless necessary.
If you find a journal resource online is it in hard copy in the library. Go find it and quote from there. Mix it up. Do not over reply on the internet. That is lazy, unless your lecturer agrees it is best practice.
Remember - You are not reinventing the wheel; you are discussing how it was invented and commenting on it.
Never, ever plagiarize. Use quotes, summarize an authors work and give references. You may get away with rewording something as your own, but be careful as this is dangerous practice.
Never write in the first person unless told to do so. Never put I think, or I believe. It is not about your thoughts. You are not an expert in the field and your opinion counts for nothing (well, not much anyway)
Never be too positive or negative unless you have proof or a quote to support it. For example-
An employer should never be seen to discuss organisational policy…….
An employer should always discuss organisational policy….
It is too strong to say never or always. Try writing- It may be argued that an employer should always discuss organisational policy…..
If quoting a positive statement try- Harris (2008) suggests that an employer should always discuss organisational policy … or use a direct quote.