Writing Politics Assignments
Tips and how to write politics assignments
Date : 13/02/2015
It is expected that you will develop critical and analytical skills as you progress through your degree. Whatever the title of your assignment, it will be necessary for you to use these skills. Generally your lecturers will not be looking for ready-made solutions but rather your own search for insights. You will need to be selective and support your analysis with evidence from the findings of empirical work and the knowledge you have from your own experience. There needs to be evidence of reflection and reasoning rather than lengthy descri ption.
Read the essay title very carefully and make sure you address the issue. If you do not understand, seek clarification from a tutor.
Discuss the topic with colleagues, but be cautious when listening to advice from other students as this can sometimes cause confusion. If the title includes a quotation, it is advisable to consult the original source and consider the context. If you have been given assessment criteria, read them very carefully before and after you write in order to include appropriate material and to check that you have covered everything relevant.
Read around the topic and consult as wide a variety of perspectives within the literature as you consider appropriate. Take advice on this from reading lists, course handouts and tutorial suggestions. Begin to identify the line you intend to argue and start planning. There are many ways to plan but the first steps need to be flexible so flow diagrams and lists of key words and ideas may help. However, remember to keep to the deadline for submission.
Manage your time so that the effort you put in reflects the `weighting` of the mark to be awarded. Now read more selectively and intensively. Remember to note the references carefully using a reliable system and as you take notes keep the assignment title firmly in mind.
At this stage you will need to modify your original plan to take account of new material. After consulting the literature, you will need to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the various perspectives. As you write, remember to support your claims by giving evidence and reasons rather than unsupported personal opinion or prejudice.
All your writing should have a structure. Essays need a beginning, a middle and an end with clear links between them. Your essay should have the following: . Introduction which sets out your understanding and interpretation of the title. The introduction can also identify the key issues and the rationale for selecting them. . Main body of text which should include some exposition of the existing evidence relating to the issues focused on in the introduction, an examination or review of the relevant literature and some discussion of current thinking and practice. A line of argument should be developed which takes account of differing viewpoints, interpreting and evaluating them. . Conclusion which does not necessarily offer any definite conclusions but rounds up the arguments and presents tentative resolutions. New material is not introduced here. . Bibliographic references which should follow the conventions outlined later. . Appendix or Appendices may be included and could contain illustrative samples, transcri pts, tables etc. Such data should only appear in the appendices if they are referred to in the text. Additional pages will not gain merit unless they are clearly relevant. Appendices should be individually titled and lettered. It is very important that you proof-read your work. . Check that you have addressed the issues you were asked to address and fulfilled the assessment criteria. . Check spellings by the spell-checker if you have used a word-processor but also by re-reading as the spell checker does not find them all - as the following poem proves! Eye have a spelling chequer, it came with my Pea Sea.
It plainly marques for my revue, mistakes Aye can knot sea.
I´ve run this poem threw it, eye am shore your pleas too no.
It´s letter perfect inn its weigh, my chequer tolled me sew.
The motto of this storey, is very plane two sea.
Don´t forget too ewes you´re brain as well as your´re Pea See. . Make sure you have listed all your references and they are accurate and consistent. . Check for punctuation, paragraphing, grammar and typographical errors. . Is your work coherent, comprehensible and consistent? . Is your work the correct length? It is a required part of the discipline of advanced study to keep within the specified limits. In some assessments penalties are applied for going outside the limit. Cut and Paste Do not cut and paste text from original sources, not even into draft or working versions of your assignments. It is very bad academic practice and leads down the route to plagiarism (intentional or unintentional, which is also penalised).
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