As the government begins its crackdown on essay mill websites, it’s easy to see just how much pressure students are under to get top grades for their coursework these days. But writing a high-scoring paper doesn’t need to be complicated. We spoke to experts to get some simple techniques that will raise your writing game.
Tim Squirrell is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and is teaching for the first time this year. When he was asked to deliver sessions on the art of essay-writing, he decided to publish a comprehensive (and brilliant) blog on the topic, offering wisdom gleaned from turning out two or three essays a week for his own undergraduate degree.
“There is a knack to it,” he says. “It took me until my second or third year at Cambridge to work it out. No one tells you how to put together an argument and push yourself from a 60 to a 70, but once you to get grips with how you’re meant to construct them, it’s simple.”
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The goal of writing any essay is to show that you can think critically about the material at hand (whatever it may be). This means going beyond regurgitating what you’ve read; if you’re just repeating other people’s arguments, you’re never going to trouble the upper end of the marking scale.
“You need to be using your higher cognitive abilities,” says Bryan Greetham, author of the bestselling How to Write Better Essays. “You’re not just showing understanding and recall, but analysing and synthesising ideas from different sources, then critically evaluating them. That’s where the marks lie.”
But what does critical evaluation actually look like? According to Squirrell, it’s simple: you need to “poke holes” in the texts you’re exploring and work out the ways in which “the authors aren’t perfect”.
“That can be an intimidating idea,” he says. “You’re reading something that someone has probably spent their career studying, so how can you, as an undergraduate, critique it?
“The answer is that you’re not going to discover some gaping flaw in Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume 3, but you are going to be able to say: ‘There are issues with these certain accounts, here is how you might resolve those’. That’s the difference between a 60-something essay and a 70-something essay.”
Critique your own arguments
Once you’ve cast a critical eye over the texts, you should turn it back on your own arguments. This may feel like going against the grain of what you’ve learned about writing academic essays, but it’s the key to drawing out developed points.
“We’re taught at an early age to present both sides of the argument,” Squirrell continues. “Then you get to university and you’re told to present one side of the argument and sustain it throughout the piece. But that’s not quite it: you need to figure out what the strongest objections to your own argument would be. Write them and try to respond to them, so you become aware of flaws in your reasoning. Every argument has its limits and if you can try and explore those, the markers will often reward that.”
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Fine, use Wikipedia then
The use of Wikipedia for research is a controversial topic among academics, with many advising their students to stay away from the site altogether.
“I genuinely disagree,” says Squirrell. “Those on the other side say that you can’t know who has written it, what they had in mind, what their biases are. But if you’re just trying to get a handle on a subject, or you want to find a scattering of secondary sources, it can be quite useful. I would only recommend it as either a primer or a last resort, but it does have its place.”
Focus your reading
Reading lists can be a hindrance as well as a help. They should be your first port of call for guidance, but they aren’t to-do lists. A book may be listed, but that doesn’t mean you need to absorb the whole thing.
Squirrell advises reading the introduction and conclusion and a relevant chapter but no more. “Otherwise you won’t actually get anything out of it because you’re trying to plough your way through a 300-page monograph,” he says.
You also need to store the information you’re gathering in a helpful, systematic way. Bryan Greetham recommends a digital update of his old-school “project box” approach.
“I have a box to catch all of those small things – a figure, a quotation, something interesting someone says – I’ll write them down and put them in the box so I don’t lose them. Then when I come to write, I have all of my material.”
There are a plenty of online offerings to help with this, such as the project management app Scrivener and referencing tool Zotero, and, for the procrastinators, there are productivity programmes like Self Control, which allow users to block certain websites from their computers for a set period.
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Look beyond the reading list
“This is comparatively easy to do,” says Squirrell. “Look at the citations used in the text, put them in Google Scholar, read the abstracts and decide whether they’re worth reading. Then you can look on Google Scholar at other papers that have cited the work you’re writing about – some of those will be useful. But quality matters more than quantity.”
And finally, the introduction
The old trick of dealing with your introduction last is common knowledge, but it seems few have really mastered the art of writing an effective opener.
“Introductions are the easiest things in the world to get right and nobody does it properly,” Squirrel says. “It should be ‘Here is the argument I am going to make, I am going to substantiate this with three or four strands of argumentation, drawing upon these theorists, who say these things, and I will conclude with some thoughts on this area and how it might clarify our understanding of this phenomenon.’ You should be able to encapsulate it in 100 words or so. That’s literally it.”
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Indian Politics and Politicians
Indian Politics refers to the activities of the political parties associated with the governance and administration of India at every level, viz. national, state, district and panchayat level.
A Politician is person who is professionally involved in politics. Usually, he has good influence over the general people.
It is often said that politics is the art and technique of government. Every idea has an intention, similarly political idea also has the intention for implementation, but many people see this with negative mindset. It includes the activities to stay in power or to influence the government policies. It also includes the law-making policies and procedure.
Introduction to Indian Politics
Mahatma Gandhi stated about the place of ethics in politics. He told that politics without ethics and principles were not desirable. The principles are the moral principles. According to his philosophy political, life should be governed by truth, morality and self-purification. Gandhiji’s politics were bound up with truth and non-violence. He also prescribed that country should concern with the morals of her leaders. Devotion to truth was drawn by him to half corruption. He had no intention to indulge the religious matter. He interpreted that religious matter is a death-trap because it kills the soul.
He also expressed that “For me there is no politics without religion, not the religion of the superstitions or the blind religion that hates and fights, but the universal religion of toleration”.
Roles and responsibilities of Politicians
The role of the Politicians is to deal with national issues and drive the country in full gear. They should aim at improving the economic, financial, military strength of the country.
Economic development of all the sections of the society should be the aim of politicians. They should come forward in support of public-welfare schemes such as food for all, house for all, education for all, etc.
It is the duty of the Politicians to check corruption, nepotism, crisis in politics and ethnic problems. They should work to bring communal harmony.
They should exercise wisdom in every work of national politics. They should practice ethical culture. The political parties should try to build confidence of political wisdom by their good work.
People expect good qualities in a politician. They expect them to be trustworthy.
They should come forward to check and stop unlawful activities.
People go to vote but they have unpopular leaders of popular parties. Only symbols are elected not politicians. This scenario shows that, often, people are being disappointed by our political leaders. They may devalue the public-moral and erode the very essence of democracy.
Money also plays a dominant role in the Indian politics, especially during election. Vote is purchased by the party men. Ambitions, influential people impact on every country’s political set up.
Finally, it can be admitted to all that politicians should be free from vitiated politics.
They should have a constructive view in respect of welfare of mass.
They would always try to eradicate the corruption from the national life by root and branch and at the same time they can reach to their honest goal by hearkening to the inconveniences of the public.
Society can find emancipation of deep-rooted troubles of their own by following their constructive uttering’s.
Category: Essays, Paragraphs and ArticlesTagged With: Politics