All entries for Wednesday 26 February 2014
February 26, 2014
Closely linked to my First Action point, my Second Action Point was to critically evaluate old work and help improve my ability to critically evaluate in future work.
Having read my CAS and QRS essays I have noticed that I need to leave more time to go through my work after I have done it. I have noticed that the majority of my work has been overloaded with content and long sentences. Thus, I have also noticed that some passages of my essays could easily have been edited out had I given myself enough time to do so.
With my CAS essay on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, although I got a good mark for it, I feel that my argument waned slightly due to the essay's multiple parts. My tutor's criticisms pointed to the lack of detail in some areas as opposed to others. This in turn made the essay less fluid and more disjointed.
Similarly my Quantitative Research essay on Slave Trade numbers in the 18th century was just too long. Because of the numerous questions I posed about the slave trends at the beggining of the essay, my research became tangential and disjointed. I would have been better off focussing more on certain aspects of the slave trade rather than trying to incorporate them all. That said it was a very hard essay which was hard to tackle in the first place.
In contrast, when re-reading my articles I have written for The Boar Newspaper I have noticed fewer mistakes. Although they are much shorter and are usually topical debates rather than succinct questions, I have noticed that they are usually better organised and more concise. This is perhaps because I am writing to an audience and not to academics, which is a lot easier. However, I probably set aside more time to re-read my articles than I have to my essays, which is something which I try to improve with my next essay.
I am currently doing a TSM essay and I hope to learn from the mistakes I have outlined in the first Two Action Points.
My first action point was to improve my understanding of essay questions.
Of course this action point is perhaps one of the hardest areas to gauge improvement and thus it is perhaps an issue that will reveal itself in the long term rather than in a few weeks. That said, I have noticed a few things from looking over old essay questions.
The feedback from my 5,000 word history essay from last term, entitled "What influenced Britain to abolish the Slave Trade in 1807" said that I had argued my points well but that the essay in general had not been that well organised.
Looking back, I believe my question was far too broad and complex. As it was, the question could have been written from numerous angles, three or four of which I tried to incorporate into my essay. Having read through it again, I try to cram in far too many points in the essay which in turn made it feel like it was rushed. In the future I will need to emphasise a particular area in my question's field.
Particularly at Master's level, formulating a concise question is essential in order to achieve a precise structure and conclusion. My essay from last term is my only traditional essay question I have done at Warwick University so far and so it is the only essay I can really look back on. Other works such as my articles for the Boar are more topical conversations rather than questions. However, I am currently doing a question for my Theory Skills and Methods in History module which is due at the end of this term and which my tutor is helping me formulate.