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Essay Writing Workshop 1

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Title: Essay Writing Workshop 1


1
Essay Writing Workshop 1
  • Lawrence Cleary, Íde OSullivan
  • Regional Writing Centre

2
Plan of workshops
  • Workshops Weeks 4, 5, 6 and 7 (C1-067)
  • Tuesday 1400 1500
  • Thursday 1400 1500
  • Drop-in/One-to-one sessions
  •    Mon                    24 pm
  •    Tues       1012    24 pm
  •    Wed       1012     24 pm 5-7 pm
  •    Thurs     1012     24 pm 5-7 pm
  •    Fri          1012     
  • Writing Centre www.ul.ie/rwc

3
Workshops
  • Session 1 Understanding the essay question.
    Planning and organising your essay.
  • Session 2 Developing an effective argument.
    Structuring your essay.
  • Session 3 Citing and writing a reference page.
    Strategies to develop writing.
  • Session 4 Academic writing style. Editing and
    proofreading your essay.

4
Criteria on which assessment is based
  • What is expected?
  • That the student addresses the assignment
    question
  • Does the essay deal with the topic that was set?
  • Does the essay answer the question that was set?
  • Does it cover all the main aspects and in
    sufficient depth?
  • Is the content accurate and relevant?
  • Is everything in the essay relevant to the
    question?
  • See handout, Checklist.

5
Criteria on which assessment is based
  • What is expected? Continued
  • That the writing is appropriate to the intended
    audience.
  • That the quality is ambitious and mature.
  • That the writer has read widely.
  • That the writer is able to draw on personal
    experience.

6
Criteria on which assessment is based
  • What is expected? Continued
  • That the writing is marked by a range of
    stylistic features appropriate to a given writing
    situation (Neuleib, 1997 97).
  • That the writer has allowed time for revision,
    both globally and locally, and that the paper is
    neatly typed, well presented, and free from
    mechanical and grammatical error.

7
Key stages in the process
  • Planning
  • Drafting
  • Revision
  • Editing and Proofreading

8
The Rhetorical Situation
  • Occasion
  • Topic
  • Audience
  • Purpose
  • Writer

9
Analysing and understanding the assignment
question
  1. Analyse the components of the assignment
    question.
  2. If the assignment question is not in an
    interrogative form, convert it into a question
    you can answer (What question(s) need be answered
    in order to satisfy the requirements of this
    assignment?).
  3. Think about the assignment question in relation
    to the rhetorical situation.

10
The components of the assignment question
  • Identify the topic.
  • Ask yourself if the question is asking you to
    limit your conversation to a certain aspect of
    the topic.
  • Identify the instruction. (Most assignments
    contain an instruction word such as discuss,
    compare, analyse, or explain.)
  • Ascertain if the professor is asking you to write
    from a particular point of view.
  • Identify any assignment words that restrict, or
    expand on, your subject.

11
Analysing and understanding the assignment
question
  • Example Explain Chomskys idea of Universal
    Grammar (UG).
  • Topic Universal Grammar
  • Instruction Explain
  • Aspect Chomskys idea of
  • Restriction or expansion none
  • Viewpoint none

12
Analysing and understanding the assignment
question
  • Think of an assignment question as an invitation
    to participate in the discourse already taking
    place in the community that shares in your
    academic interests.
  • Recall that you have joined an already on-going
    conversation.
  • Think about the particular conversations already
    taking place with respect to both your topic and
    the particular aspect of your topic that you have
    been asked to write about.

13
Analysing and understanding the assignment
question
  • Keep in mind the assignment question, any
    questions you need to answer in order to answer
    the assignment question, and the instruction word
    as you plan your essay.
  • From beginning to end, the point of order is the
    initial question, claim or hypothesis.
  • Do not write down all you know about

14
Researching the essay
  • Deciding on appropriate resources for research
  • What questions do we need to answer before we can
    answer the assignment question?
  • Where is the best place to source the answers to
    those questions?
  • What do we need to know in order to answer this
    question?

15
Researching the essay Asking the question
questions
  • Example Our assignment question asks us to
    discuss a statement in R. Trasks LanguageThe
    Basics, p. 78
  • Language provides a powerful way of maintaining
    and demonstrating group membership.
  • What questions do we need to answer before we can
    answer the assignment question?

16
Researching the essay Asking the question
questions
  • Example Our assignment question asks us to
    discuss a statement in R. Trasks LanguageThe
    Basics, p. 78
  • Language provides a powerful way of maintaining
    and demonstrating group membership.
  • The assignment question might be rephrased as
    What is the strength of this statement in
    Trask?
  • What do we need to know in order to answer this
    question?
  • Hint Keep in mind the instruction word.

17
Researching the essay Asking the question
questions
  • Possible Answers
  • What does Trask mean by language? by group
    membership?
  • How does Trask back up this claim that language
    helps to maintain and demonstrate this group
    membership? In other words, what detailed
    supportive information, such as facts and
    examples, does he use to argue his case?
  • Does Trask hint at any arguments against his
    claim?
  • What are some of the arguments against his claim?
  • This sounds like sociolinguistics. Who else have
    I read that has spoken on this issue?

18
Researching the essay Finding the answers
  • Where would I look for the answer to the first
    three questions?
  • Context Finding Trasks reference
  • The source of the quote Find the reference on
    the University of Limericks Library catalogue.
  • Where would I find the answer to the fourth
    question?
  • Try a keyword search
  • Search Speech communities
  • Search Socio-linguistics
  • Search language and identity

19
Researching the essay
  • Try a database search
  • Choose a database from the library database
    search page
  • What other sources are available to you?
  • Primary sources
  • Secondary sources
  • UL Library Quick-start Tutorials

20
Reading and note-taking
  • Reading in detail
  • Reading critically
  • Selecting and note-taking
  • Distinguish between your words and the words of
    the author
  • Paraphrasing, summarising, and synthesising
  • Documenting Sources
  • Record the authors name, the title of the book,
    chapter, article, etc., the date of publication,
    the place of publication, and the page(s) on
    which the borrowed information is found.

21
Reporting the work of others
  • Making use of the ideas of other people is one
    of the most important aspects of academic writing
    because
  • it shows awareness of other peoples work
  • it shows that you can use their ideas and
    findings
  • it shows you have read and understood the
    material you are reading
  • it shows where your contribution fits in
  • it supports the points you are making.
  • (Gillet, 2005)

22
Planning and organising your essay
  • Keep in mind the assignment question, any
    questions you need to answer in order to answer
    the assignment question, and the instruction word
    as you plan your essay.
  • From beginning to end, the point of order is the
    initial question, claim or hypothesis.
  • Do not write down all you know about
  • The essay must have a clear structure - it should
    not be a Magical Mystery Tour!

23
Planning and organising your essay
  • Instruction words in the assignment question
    often indicate the method of development which
    will influence or even determine how you
    organize your paper (Ebest et al., 1997 13).
  • If your instructions were to compare or contrast,
    or to show the cause or effect of something, then
    your method of development is set, and how you
    organise your paper is largely determined by
    those methods of organisation normally used to
    illuminate or explain something .

24
Planning and organising your essay
  • Analysis, classification, definition,
    exemplification, narration, process essays, and
    discussions, for instance, would require
    different kinds of organisational strategies
    appropriate to the particular task at hand.
  • Narration or processes might be organised around
    a chronological organisation pattern.
  • Descriptions might be either chronologically or
    spatially ordered, depending on the nature of
    that being described.

25
Planning and organising your essay
  • The instruction word will indicate that a thesis
    is either called for, or not called for. For
    instance, instructions that ask you to summarise
    or outline something are not normally interpreted
    as calling for a thesis statement.
  • The method of development and organisation will
    suggest where the thesis will appear in your
    essay.

26
Drafting the essay Essay structure
  • When drafting your plan, always keep in mind
    that an essay always has to contain the following
    elements
  • Title Page
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion
  • References

27
Working out a timesheet Source McMillan, K. and
Meyers, J. (2007) How to Write Essays and
Assignments, HarlowPrentice Hall.
Aspect of the task Time allocated When I plan to do this
Analysing the task
Doing preliminary reading
Planning the response to the task
Doing supplementary reading
Writing the first draft
Reviewing the first draft
Editing/ proof-reading the final copy
Printing/ writing out the final copy
Time margin for the unexpected
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