Key topics from my intense reading of study skills materials on critical thinking and essay planning and writing (OCA, Palgrave Study Skills, and an assignment planner from Kent University):
- Plan properly my reading and writing time
- Go through a structured essay plan for assignment works (Fig. 1):
1. Understanding the question (academic key words!), brainstorming ideas and develop a working thesis, and drafting initial outline plan
2. Collect information through research, reading, and visual exploration
3. Organising my information (relevant, accurate,
4. Write draft, and review and check
5. Write final draft
– Title: the question
– Introduction: re-iteration of the question and laying out what the essay will cover (around 1/10)
– Developing my argument: several paragraphs, each for main theme of argument (argument, evidence, example, quotations), using alternative strategies when needed
– Conclusion: summing up question and answers together (around 1/10)
– References, Bibliography
- Critical Writing:
– With a clear line of reasoning in my argumentation and in academic style (use of style guide, spell checks etc.)
– Linking ideas together by using linking words and signposting (Cottrell, 2013, p.301)
– Providing evidence to illustrate my argumentation
So just to put it in practice. I does overwhelm so I am humble and try to improve for my next assignment. Practice will certainly be the best teacher – besides my tutor.
- Academic Integrity. University of Kent (2012) Assignment Survival Kit: ASK, [online], Available from: https://www.kent.ac.uk/ai/ask/index.php [Accessed 29 March 2017].
- Cottrell, S. (2011) Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument, Palgrave Study Skills, 2nd ed. London, UK; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Cottrell, S. (2013) The Study Skills Handbook, Palgrave Study Skills, 4th ed. London, UK; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Greetham, B. (2013) How to write better essays, Palgrave Study Skills, 3rd ed. London, UK; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Open College of the Arts (2012) Academic Referencing [online], Available from: http://www.oca-student.com/resource-type/academic-referencing].
- Open College of the Arts (2016) Academic Essay Writing. Available from: ttp://www.oca-student.com/sites/default/files/oca-content/key-resources/res-files/sdg_academic_essay_writing_170316_0.pdf