How to write a business research proposal

Purpose Writing a business research proposal is a useful exercise, which can help students develop critical thinking skills and enhance their career opportunities. The proposal is the first attempt to tackle the issue interesting to the writer and/or the business community. The business research proposal serves as a mean to introduce the concern and as … Read more

Dissertation referencing

You need to reference all of your sources for your dissertation properly. Before we talk about referencing, let’s talk plagiarism. To “plagiarise”, according to the dictionary, means 1. to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own 2. to use (another’s production) without crediting the source 3. to commit literary theft … Read more

How to write a review essay

A review essay examines a piece of writing, a film or some other form of art, but it differs from a literary essay in a couple of key ways. A review essay is evaluative. That means that its purpose is to tell the reader whether the work is good or not and whether the work … Read more

How to write a response essay

Purpose Response essays are typically assigned as a precursor to a evaluative essay or to a critique. These papers are typically written in response to a short literary passage, an editorial, a speech, or an artistic work. The response essay is useful because it gives students the opportunity to express their opinions in a professional manner but … Read more

How to write a research proposal

A guide to writing effective research proposals This article explains how to write a research proposal, including the purpose of the proposal, what to include, the structure and common problems that are encountered by students as they research or write their proposal. Purpose of the research proposal A research proposal may have several purposes, including to receive … Read more

How to write a literary essay

In a literary essay, a writer analyzes some aspect of a piece of literature. Topic Literature is made up of elements such as character, symbolism, theme, language and structure. The best way to approach a literary analysis is to choose an element of the story, poem or novel to focus on and think about what … Read more

How to write a deductive essay

Purpose The purpose of the deductive essay is to guide students in the process of using deductive reasoning. In Western countries, deductive reasoning is the most commonly used method to arrive at a valid conclusion. Deductive reasoning uses facts to draw a conclusion. For example, a simple deductive argument might be “Only depressive students exhibit the following … Read more

How to write an exploratory essay

Purpose The exploratory essay is designed to research a topic, and to present that research. This paper does not draw conclusions or make recommendations. Because the exploratory essay asks students to gather information about a topic without synthesizing the sources in a sophisticated manner, such as the traditional argumentative paper, instructors often assign this paper as … Read more

How to write an extended essay

What is the extended essay? The extended essay is an independent research project on a topic chosen by the student working in collaboration with their supervisor. The extended essay puts forward a well-reasoned argument in relation to a research question. This essay is a formally presented scholarly paper that should not exceed 4000 words (approximately … Read more

How to write a report

What is a report? In writing, a report is a document that is both systematic and defines or analyzes the subject matter. Systematic is relative to the content, which should be written in such a way that the data is presented in the correct order, making the document very readable. A report can be an … Read more

Breaking down the essay question

As well as understanding what type of essay you are being asked to write, sometimes, looking at the wording of the question helps you to understand more about the content of the essay that is expected.  These are terms commonly used in essay questions:

Account for

Your tutor is asking you to explain or  clarify an issue, or give reasons for something.

Analyse

Your tutor will expect you to resolve the essay question into component parts, examining the issues critically and minutely.  It is likely you are being asked to write an analytical essay.

Assess

For this type of essay, you are being asked to determine the value of or weigh up a particular piece of evidence, statement or fact.

Compare

When asked to compare, you are required to look for similarities and differences between issues, perhaps reaching some conclusions about which is preferable.  See compare and contrast essays.

Contrast

Your tutor here wants you to set different perspectives in opposition in order to bring out the differences.  See compare and contrast essays.

Criticise

In a critical essay, you are being asked to make judgments (backed by the discussion of the evidence or reasoning involved).  See critical essays.

Define

As you might expect, here you are expected to state the exact meaning of a word or phrase. In some cases it may be necessary or desirable to examine different possible meanings or often used definitions.  See definition essay.

Describe

When asked to describe, you are expected to give a detailed or graphic account of a particular issue.  See descriptive essay.

Discuss

If your tutor asks you to discuss an issue, you are expected to explain the issue, then give two or more sides of the issue and any implications

Evaluate

If asked to evaluate, you are expected to make an appraisal of the worth or validity or effectiveness of perhaps an issue, statement or piece of evidence in the light of its truth or usefulness (similar to assess).

Explain

When required to explain something, you need to make the meaning of it plain, interpret what is set out for you and account for it, i.e. give reasons why something is the case.

How far..?

Some essay questions begin ‘How far…?’.  These require that you determine to what extent something is true.  Usually this requires looking at evidence or arguments for or against, and weighing them up.

Illustrate

If your tutor asks you to illustrate something, you need to make the particular issue or point clear and explicit. It is a good idea to use carefully chosen examples.

Interpret

When required to interpret a particular statement, fact or issue, you need to explain the meaning of it, make everything clear and explicit, and usually giving a judgment or opinion on the issue in question.

Justify

When asked to justify something, you need to show adequate grounds for decisions or conclusions, and to answer the main objection likely to be made about them.

Outline

Students are often required to outline a particular issue.  This type of essay requires you to give the main features or general principles of the subject, omitting minor details and emphasising structure and argument (similar to summarise).

State…

This type of essay simply requires you to present a particular issue or fact in a brief, clear form.

Summarise…

An essay requiring you to summarise something needs to give a concise, clear explanation or account of the issue in hand, presenting the main factors and omitting any minor details and examples (similar to outline).