Your reading lists will already include many of the most important writers; by checking their bibliographies and works cited in those articles, you will have access to the most up-to-date writing on the topic.Your search for relevant information for your essay will undoubtedly generate a mass of material and so it is essential that you develop concise note taking skills.When you come to analyse what you have found, take great care not to simply summarise the source material (i.e.
An essay which merely summarises other people's thoughts without analysing each opinion or finding will score very little marks.
You need to develop your own arguments and use other people's findings and opinions to support them.
For example, if your search statement was: I want to find out about the consequences, harm, risk or side effects - of giving or denying the MMR vaccination, either as a triple vaccine or as three single injections, to children You might be looking for: Once you have a clear idea of what you need to know about your topic to deal with the assignment posed, you will be able to look more closely at the individual resources available to you, such as database, to see what information they contain.
You will need to weigh up the relevance of the information you find, and develop a critical awareness of the positions represented in what you read - in some cases, authors may be explicitly expressing a particular viewpoint but in others there may be hidden bias, which can be misleading.
They use an author-date format: You can download a free guide based on these British Standards here: Free Essay Referencing Guide (right click and save file as...).
We have summarised this guide online here: Harvard Referencing Guide.On this page: It is important to assess, before anything else, what it is you are being asked to do.The directives in essay questions are often very specific and require that you deal with the question in a particular way.Most word processors have spelling and grammar checkers and so there is no excuse for poor spelling, grammar and punctuation!We have produced the following basic guides which cover some common problems that students experience with punctuation when writing essays: However, if you would like a free lesson in English grammar, try the Grammar Guide Online at Grammar Station - this even has a grammar checker so that you can verify sentences of up to 25 words instantly.A good place to start is to make a document on your computer just for source material, but divide it into the parts of your essay (for example, if you are writing a dissertation, you may wish to include sections such as introduction, background, methodology, literature review, evidence, conclusion and recommendations).Into this, copy all good sections, quotes, statistics and other useful source material that you find, making sure that you note where you found each piece of information.We have compiled this guide to essay writing skills, including structuring essays, reports and dissertations, to help you in planning and producing your essay.We hope that you find it helpful - please let us have any comments and suggestions you may have for improving this free study area.You will notice that we have split some of the chapters into more than one part to make them more manageable.Our essay writing resources provide a wealth of information on the writing process, evaluating materials, punctuation, grammar, referencing and those all important final essay checks before you hand in your work.