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But Why? Tips To Help Maximize Marks On Coursework.

Coursework writing tips

Date : 06/04/2021

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Uploaded by : Bethany
Uploaded on : 06/04/2021
Subject : Biology

One of the best pieces of advice given to me by an academic tutor was the question, But why? She said to imagine someone constantly asking Why you ve written that sentence/made that statement/quoted that fact. Why is it relevant? How does this contribute to your aim or to the body of text? Whether you re writing a scri pt for a presentation, research article, an essay or even a dissertation, it s helpful to not only state What, but Why. For example, the following statement gives a short glimpse into an example of clinical pathology:

Aortic dissection is a severe life-threatening illness.

Aside from the fact this statement would need referencing (depending upon your Institution s requirements and academic level), this statement alone doesn t really provide any context. Yes, we know this condition is dangerous the statement tells us so. But without context, there isn t much else to go on. If we were to change direction and start exploring the pathophysiology of disease, we wouldn t completely address why aortic dissection is so serious. Developing the above example provides some context:

Aortic dissection is a severe life-threatening illness immediate mortality occurs in 40% of patients, with the remaining survivors enduring a 1% morality rate per hour from onset if left untreated (Criado, 2011).

This expands the example, but itself needs more expansion. Think about the questions you would ask when reading this statement. We ve quoted a statistic to elaborate upon the fact, and this shows the extent of the severity of disease. Yet I would want the following questions to be answered:

What causes the mortality? (This may be explained in the rest of the question, but the link needs to be made clear)

What determines the difference between immediate mortality and late-onset mortality? (Pathology-focused explanation)

What patients are affected? Is there anything that distinguishes those who are affected immediately or who survive the initial aortic dissection (patient-focused explanation)

A plan for this answer could be as follows:

Outline the anatomy/physiology of the healthy aorta, to compare with aortic dissection

Outline the pathophysiology of aortic dissection

Establish patient demographics and risk factors, linking with the pathophysiology (e.g. elderly hypertensive patients may possess elevated risk of dissection due to high blood pressure which induces increased haemodynamic stress to the aortic endothelium and tunica intima)

Classifications of Aortic dissection and links to mortality rates

Obviously, it is best to know the level of depth that it required for the explanation writing about the anatomy of the heart for GCSE Biology wouldn t require a complex analysis of aortic dissection. Know the level you re aiming for, but always bear in mind, Why am I writing this? How will my audience perceive it, and do the sentences flow nicely? Even in science writing, you are creating a (non-fiction) story that should be engaging and comprehensive to demonstrate a thorough level of understanding.

I hope this article has helped give you some hints and motivation, and I wish you the best of luck in your studies, whatever your subject!


Criado, J. (2011). Aortic Dissection A 250-Year Perspective. Texas Heart Institute Journal, 38(6), pp.694 - 700.

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