Plan and write homework

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This article is for helping students to plan and write on homework whether it is an essay or assignment.  Begin by carefully examining the concepts and key words in the question. Pay particular attention to the difference between the words which are using commonly. First we have to analyse the question.  Once the topic has been clarified, you should break it down into its component parts. This enables you to decide what material is relevant to the topic. Suppose, for example, that you chose the following question: `Is a two party system necessary for the existence of representative democracy?’ An appropriate answer would focus on these components: ∙ the nature of representative democracy; ∙ the role of political parties in representative democracy; ∙ the characteristics of a two party system; weakened by, a two party system; a conclusion setting out your evaluation of these points and their general contribution to the topic. You thus have the basis for the next step: outlining your essay.

After analyzing the question, the components should be organized to form an essay outline (or plan). The outline helps to ensure that your essay has a coherent, logical structure. It also facilitates the preparation of your essay by guiding your reading, note‐taking and writing. Outlines also enable to assign relative weighting to the various components of your answer by differentiating which points are peripheral, and which is central. They will thus assist your research effort.  Outlines, however, are not set in concrete. Be open to revising your outline as your research progresses, but always check that the new outline continues to address directly the essay topic.  As you begin to consider the question in detail, you can usefully jot down all the ideas that occur to you on a piece of paper and maybe rough out a sort of skeleton answer. In the first place this may be easier to do starting with a circle in the middle of the page and extending lines out as ideas occur to you.

If you find a more formal approach like a list works better for you, then use that method. Once you have lots of points jotted down, in the order they occurred to you, then you can move to the next stage which is where you tentatively put numbers by the points.  There will be more than one possible way and you are seeking the one that seems best fitted to you. These numbers will become the different paragraphs or sections of the essay when you write it up. Often you will be given a clear indication of the limits of an essay. Going a long way above or under a word limit will usually result in you being penalized.

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This article was published on 2012/03/19