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Essay writing

Plan your essay

Planning is an important part of the essay writing process. We recommend that you create an essay plan before your start writing.

An essay plan will help you to:

  • define and organise your argument before tackling your first draft
  • produce a clear, coherent and well-structured essay
  • know where you want your argument to start and end
  • stick to the main points that you want to make.

Identify your main ideas

Your essays should not be a patchwork of other people's ideas or a set of facts and quotes. You need to critically analyse what you are reading and bring together the information to help you to develop your own arguments, ideas and opinions.

Try arranging ideas in the form of a mind-map, with key points arranged with supporting information branching off.

MindView software (available on most university computers) allows you to create an essay structure where you can add in pictures, files and attachments – perfect for organising evidence to support your point.

Consider the following:

  • What key points do you want to make?
  • Can you support your points with evidence such as data, facts, research conducted by experts on that topic?
  • Have you considered different viewpoints and perspectives?
  • How will you make sure that the structure is logical and coherent?