Sunday, May 25, 2008

Essay form

Some people have asked for some feedback on their essays.

I plan to get your assessments back to you in the next couple of days, but as the majority of the essays that I've seen have the same types of weaknesses, I thought that I would let you know what to watch out for.

An academic essay (or paragraph for that matter) has a specific structure that you should adhere to. Basically introduction, body, conclusion. Most of you are following this to some degree, but there are some things you can do to improve the structure of your essay.
The introduction should generally introduce the subject of the essay, and all of the main topics that you discuss in the body of your essay without going into too much depth.
  • In general not enough linkage is being made to the topics discussed in the essay.
  • In some cases, people are putting material into their introduction that would fit better within the body of the essay.

The conclusion should express the general gist of what you've been saying , and should relate to all of the key points that you've made in the body of your essay.
  • Again in general people are not linking their conclusion strongly enough to the body of the essay.
This type of structure is not the way in which most of us think naturally. For this reason it's a good idea to start with a brain-storming session to gather information, then to decide what the best structure for your information is.
  • Many people seem to have just started writing at the top and finished at the bottom
  • Others have taken the bullet points on the assessment task as the order of their essay.
Once you've written your essay, you're not finished. You should go over the essay a couple of times at least to polish your language.
  • Can you make the points in your essay any clearer?
  • Can you improve the flow of your essay?
  • Can you strengthen the linkages between introduction and body, conclusion and body?

    (these all become easier with practice)

APA Referencing

Most people could do with some extra focus on their referencing. APA referencing form is very specific. The only way to learn how to do it correctly is to refer to a quick-reference guide every time you do it. By the end of the course you may feel that you are able to reference some types of material without a guide, but you will likely need to refer to your guide when the source is not a common type of source. I still refer to my quick-reference guide on a regular basis.

Remember - to reference correctly you must make a reference list & must also use also "in-body" referencing. You will need to refer to your guide when you reference in-body as well as in your reference list, as the method of in-body referencing varies depending on the type of source.

Some nice work

All in all, I'm enjoying reading your work. There has been quite a bit of self-discovery going on in the class. :-)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Week starting 5 May 2008

Your group research project on the topic related to The Story of Stuff is due by Sunday of this week. I'm looking forward to seeing what you've come up with here.