July 04, 2013

A3 – Academic Writing – Follow–up

Follow-up to WSPA Academic Writing – A3 from Sean's blog

A3 Academic Writing Follow up 1

Workshop Tutor: Dr Laura Davies

Date: May 10th 2013

On completing my Labour law assignment I managed to achieve a 2.1 with the same mark as previously at 65. However, due to a change in the finalist exam timetable making them earlier I had less time to concentrate on my assignment and had to move on to revision. The planning techniques from the workshop especially helped me apply a structured approach to writing so that I could finish my essay as early as possible. My essay had a much more focused introduction and conclusion by avoiding the ‘story-telling’ technique which begins with a ‘you’ll-have-to-read-on-to-find-out’ criminal thriller style of writing.

In taking a strong position and developing it from the outset, I felt much more engaged with the essay and it read more fluently. Analytical additions on quotations also forced me to strengthen my critical analysis skills while tackling the essay. However, while I was much more engaged during the opening and closing of my essay and it was well-structured, I think that some of the main body lacked the same flare and relevance. In part this has to do with my approach to drafting the main body which involves formulating random paragraphs within the essay and then reorganising them later. I am not sure if this is the best approach to drafting, but I do not want to forget a sentence or part of a paragraph once I think of it – perhaps I have much to learn about planning more effectively. This option will not be available to me during my exams, so I will have to work on my planning technique and essay structuring through practice papers in order to address any weaknesses.

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Hi Sean,

    Good to hear from you. Well done for completing the assignment and moving on to revision. A wise move. The changes you’ve made sound positive, but I hear what you are saying about the middle sections. It would be my advice that writing paragraphs and then moving them about is not ideal – it interrupts the `flow’ as well as the impact of any argument that you are developing. I’d suggest that you spend longer working out what you will say in each paragraph and how you will transition from one to the next – you could identify a theme/idea/reference[s] for each paragraph and then before you start actually writing, play around with the paragraphs to see which order would work best. This way you will be able to think more objectively, without becoming too attached to specific sentences or phrasings. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a document open in parallel to the main one, in which you can note down ideas/sentences/even possible paragraphs, without actually disrupting the main draft as it develops.


    09 Jul 2013, 16:26

  2. Sean McShane

    Thank you for this advice and I will be sure to carry it through not only to the Masters I will start in September but also for the paralegal work I hope to secure. I can see that I have more work to do in order to become an effective essay planner since this is something I often rush through and unsurprisingly leaves me scratching my head at various points during my essay writing as well as ruining the general flow of the piece.

    12 Jul 2013, 13:26

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