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Essay Plan

500-700 word essay plan worth 20% on ‘Analysing the Internet and everyday life’. Due 12/04/13

 

For this piece of assessment, you are to write a 500-700 word plan of the final essay.

Your essay plan needs to demonstrate that you have begun your research, reading and thinking for your final
essay. Your plan should include:

  • an introductory statement which outlines your proposed argument/approach to the essay (a full sentence in a dot point for each section).
  • draft of one paragraph of the body of your essay (i.e. an expansion of one of the sections)
  • list of 5 scholarly sources you have found which relate to your topic (APA style)

Your aim is to provide a concise and clear document to your tutor that you can draw upon when you draft your essay as well as provide sufficient detail for your tutor to give you feedback and advice usefully. You will be assessed on the degree of preparation that your plan indicates, the quality and relevance of your sources, your demonstrated understanding of essay requirements (e.g. argument, structure and referencing) and the clarity of your structure and argument.

This looks to be an informative assessment as it will help in the long run for my final essay due at the end of the unit. I’ve always had trouble writing convincing thesis statements, so I’ll be working on that. Plus, I need to work on paragraph structure, particularly with strong and simple topic sentences. I’m looking at analysing the way ehealth is on the rise, in particular medicine 2.0, health 2.0 and apomediation.

 
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Posted by on 03/25/2013 in NET102

 

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Exercise 21: Understanding the nature of university essays

Compare the sample essay with your previous essays

Consider previous essays that you have written and assess your performance. Compare what was expected of you in previous essays with what was expected in this essay. Discuss the skills that you need to develop or refine for upcoming essays you have to write.

I will be looking back at an essay I wrote last year for Introduction to the Humanities and assessing my performance. Looking back, I am a little embarrassed at the many mistakes I made and could have fixed before submitting my work. I am also glad that I am able to move forward and learn from my mistakes. I will also be breaking down the feedback I was given into six sections and then explain how I will implement these ideas in the future.

We were given twelve topics to choose from and I chose topic nine.

Topic 9: Critically examine and discuss two arguments and associated supporting evidence presented by critics of climate change. Of these arguments and evidence, which (if any) do you find persuasive and why?

My work was certainly cut out for me, I conducted the research and I wrote my essay out as instructed using an introduction (with thesis), the body which contained my main points and the conclusion which reinstated my argument. But I was out of my comfort zone and it showed. I read the topic question as discussing pro climate change versus con climate change and then I was to add my opinion. My main issues were effectively utilising topic sentences and proper in-text referencing.

Looking back I seem to have started my paragraphs without a clear argument in mind and they were not persuasive at all.  My referencing could have been better, I quoted an author and forgot to add them to my reference list, and my list itself did conform to Chicago Style as I kept forgetting the placement of comas and full stops. I have since downloaded a copy and refer to it when I need it. Although, I have since learned of the APA style which also confused me, so when in doubt I always ask for help.

The marking criteria included the appropriateness of sources and while I had enough texts, according to my tutor, I failed to look beyond the title to determine their relevance. In future I intend on reading the contents page, the abstract and the references used to find out if the text will be useful to my topic question.

The second criterion was quality of analysis which I did not do well in. My tutor advised that I should consider my assumptions on the topic and the texts I had chosen. This reminds me a lot about what I have been learning about my world view and now that I have some understanding of where I stand I plan on doing research which is unbiased to gain a more varied point of view on the topic.

The third criterion was effectiveness of argument. Here my tutor noted my lack of focus and therefore weak arguments in my essay. Having had problems coming up with an effective thesis, I realise that in future I plan on working harder to produce a strong thesis that is supported by solid arguments.

Clarity and conciseness was the fourth criterion. I was told that my paragraphs were weak due to lack of strong topic sentence and a strong argument. I learned from the Veitch lecture that each paragraph should contain a main supporting point and the argument should consist of the three e’s: evidence, explanation and expansion.

The fifth criterion was accuracy and completeness of referencing. Unfortunately I missed an author and my reference list needed developing. I have a print of the different style I have used however, I learn best if I ask for help, so I will always make sure which referencing style is correct and what the tutor expects.

Lastly, correct formatting was the sixth criterion, which thankfully my tutor had no problems with. However, there is always room for improvement. I have learned to be ever vigilant of contracting my words and the odd misspelling.

Reflective Comment

I decided to compare a previous essay from another unit as I did not think I would see the results of my first essay for this unit before commencing with this activity. What I did not realise was how much I have learned since submitting that first assessment. I wrote another in the unit some weeks later and it was actually better, to my intense relief.

I learned from my mistakes, I applied my new skills and was rewarded with a credit. I am still not ambitious enough to think I deserve a distinction; however, it is a goal I plan to accomplish further down the track.

I hope that I can indeed develop a skill for essay writing and I believe that constant evaluation of performance is a good way to see what I have learned and what is still out there waiting for me to discover.

 
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Posted by on 01/04/2013 in SSK12

 

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Exercise 24: Analysing an essay question

1          The essay writing process

 

Your approach to essay questions

Consider and answer the following questions.

  • What do you do first when confronted with a question or topic on which you will write an essay?

The first thing I do is panic for a little bit, then I breathe in and out and try to figure out what type of research I need to do. Some times, I simply Google a key term to see what is out there and read what ever hits I get. Then I get down to business and start looking through my readings and anything relevant in the Library.

  • What questions do you ask about the essay question or topic?

I ask myself if I understand the question. Do I understand what it is being asked of me? If I do, then I go on to do my research. If not, then I first take the question apart, finding the meaning behind the words, looking up key terms on dictionaries and my readings and if I still don’t get it, ask for clarification from my tutor or fellow students.

  • How do you usually go about analysing an essay question or topic?

I take the question apart. I set aside the key terms and look at the directive words. I take note of what it is that I need to do, whether it is to argue, explain or discuss, once I know what to do, I can go ahead and sort through my research so I can flesh out a clear message in my essay.

Your approach to essay writing

Reflect on and discuss the following question.

When developing and writing an essay do you usually examine the question or topic, research it, draw up a plan, write a draft, write final copy and then submit it as shown in the linear model?

I have written several essays in my previous units, all of which begin with an idea and a sense of direction. I must admit, in the past, I have typed the first draft straight into a word document and just made sure my grammar and spelling was correct as I went along. Having all the information I needed at my disposal, I simply worked until I finished and then submitted that draft.

I realise now that I should just write a draft, proof read it, make any corrections and then type it and submit it. This way, I can strengthen my arguments with better ideas I may have missed previously.

 

Activity 3 24.3

Analysing an essay question

 

Topic: Using the concept of a ‘world view’, identify some of the beliefs and attitudes, particularly to education and learning, that you bring to your learning now.

Reflect critically on how your world view has been shaped by factors such as your gender, age or community.

In your answer refer to Hobson (1996) and Samovar and Porter (2004) from the SSK12 Reader, and Chapter 1 in A Guide to Learning Independently (Marshall and Rowland, 2006, 1-18).

 

Content questions

1                 What is the question about? List the key terms and ideas and their meaning.

I am being asked to look at the concept of ‘world view’ and its meaning. Once I understand that concept, I am to recognise what I believe in, what shapes me, and how this affects my studies.

I have also been asked to ‘reflect critically’ on what makes me, me with regards to my environment, and I have been given some reading to do.

What assumptions seem to underlie the question?

I assume that the question refers primarily to my beliefs and how these have shaped me into whom and what I am today and how this either helps my learning or impairs it. I think that I am being asked about my background and if this plays a role in how I learn.

2                 What do you already know about the question?

I already know what I believe in, even if I’m not certain what my ‘world view’ is. I have always been strong in my faith, and I understand that I am part of a community which may hold sway over the way I live my life.

3                 What are the possible main points of the question?

Perhaps I could define the idea of world view, this may be my introduction. Another point could be the beliefs and attitudes I bring to my studies. Further, I could describe what factors shape my world view and reflect on these. I could conclude with what I have learned during this process and how it can help my studies down the road, to complete this degree.

What key words will you use for library search?

I would use world view; beliefs and attitudes; education and learning; gender, age or community.

Argument questions

4                 What might your thesis (or conclusion) be?

  • What interests you most about the topic?

I am compelled by the idea that I may be influenced in my way of thinking by my environment and my beliefs. I have never really questioned why I think the way I do and I hope that I may learn something about myself. I am also looking forward to learning more about the idea of ‘world view’.

  • What aspects of the topic do you want to explore?

I would like to explore why I learn certain way. I find that, just now, really thinking about my learning processes, I tend to dismiss certain concepts because they are in direct contradiction to what I believe, for example, evolution, or Darwin’s theory of natural selection. I wonder if there are many other concepts I refuse to learn about simply because they go against my faith.

  • What seems most important about the question?

What I think is important in my mind is that I understand what ‘world view’ means and how it has shaped me and my way of learning.

Given your responses to the above, what is a possible thesis?

Does my world view affect my learning in any way? Does it in fact hinder or help me in my method of studying and applying new concepts?

Questions on approach

5                 How might you structure an answer to the question?

List the directive words and their meaning

–        Identify: to establish or indicate who or what (someone or something) is.

–        Reflect: to think, ponder, or meditate

How many parts are there to the question?

Two parts, one to identify and two, to reflect.

How will you structure your information?

I will have an introduction and a conclusion of roughly 100 words each, two main points with about 200 words each, plus their supporting arguments with the remainder of the word count.

6                 How will you acknowledge and examine your subjectivity?

To what extent will you include personal opinions? How will you acknowledge these?

This essay is about my beliefs and attitudes, so it will be very personal indeed. I will be speaking in the first person as I am now, and will continue to use formal language.

7                 How much breadth or depth can this essay have?

As I only have a thousand words to work with, I plan on having two main points that I can write in depth about identifying and reflecting on my world view. And because this essay is essentially about me, there’s not that much research I have to add in support to my arguments, just what I believe in and what sways me with regards to learning the way I do.

 

Reflective comment

This week’s activity has been the best one yet. I feel like I am really pushing on and the essay is coming along in my mind and on paper. I know that the essay is compiling information on me, however, I still need guidance and the readings and activities such as these are a great assist! During this exercise I was able to hash out what I want to put into my essay and how to distribute the information. All I have to do now is write out the first draft and see if it makes sense.

When I first read the topic question, I didn’t know where to begin and I became anxious but with the help of this activity I feel I am able to analyse the question, break it down and together with the advice my tutor has supplied via Blackboard, I now can begin to hopefully write an essay worth reading.

 
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Posted by on 12/17/2012 in SSK12

 

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