Writing_at_University_1_the_essay.pdf

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LEARNING AND ACADEMIC SKILLS RESOURCES © Swinburne University of Technology 2015 - CRICOS Provider 00111D swinburne.edu.au/las [email protected] Page 1 twitter.com/las_centre Writing at University: The Essay 1. Different types of writing at university In your studies at Swinburne, you will be asked to produce a range of different assignment types. The main types (or ‘genres’) include: essays, reports, book/article reviews, literature reviews. The following table sets out some of the differences between these genres. In this tutorial we will focus on the essay. Genres Description Conventional Structure Research base Format and style Essay An extended task that usually requires you to present an argument in response to a question or issue Introduction Body* Conclusion References *Body – students need to develop the structure of the body, based on the particular question they are dealing with and the argument they wish to present. Based on wide-reading of books, journal articles etc. around the topic Formal academic style Personal pronouns (‘I’) sometimes permitted Paragraphing very important to indicate essay structure Subheadings may be used, but not essential Extensive use of citations Report A task that usually requires you to investigate a situation, problem etc. Often involves making recommendations for some action to be taken Executive summary Introduction Method Findings Conclusions Recommendations References The structure may vary depending on the type of report Based on background reading on the topic; also often involves collecting/ analysing primary material ( eg. interviews, data etc) Formal academic style No use of personal pronouns (‘I’) Subheadings with numbered sections essential (eg. 1, 1.1 etc.) Concise, ‘to the point’ style Some use of citations Book / article review A task that requires you to summarise the main content of an article, book, website etc, and then provide an evaluation of this content Introduction Summary of text Evaluation of text Conclusion Usually based on the close reading of a single text – but can also include reference to other related readings Formal academic style Personal pronouns (‘I’) usually permitted Paragraphing important to indicate review structure Literature review A task requiring the collecting, summarising, and evaluation of a range of texts around a particular topic Introduction Theme 1 Theme 2 Theme 3 etc. Conclusion References Based on wide and critical reading of state of the art journal articles, books etc. Formal academic style Personal pronouns (‘I’) sometimes permitted Subheadings used to structure different themes of review High use of citations Table 1: The more common genres of university study 2. Essay questions As we saw in the table above, an essay is usually based on a question. The first thing to be said about essay questions is that they do not usually have any simple and straightforward answer to them. In this way, they are not like the types of questions you will see on an exam e.g. in multiple choice or short answer questions.
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