How to write an essay



    1. What is an essay?

2. Why write in this way?

2.1 Learning how to write professionally

3. Collecting the material

3.1 What are critics for?

3.2 Books and articles

3.3 Using the World Wide Web

4. Reading, making notes, having ideas

4.1 Making notes

4.2 Bibliography

5. Planning and structuring

5.1 The outline

5.2 The paragraph

6. Presentation

6.1. The list of works consulted

6.2. Styling references

6.3. Type it if at all possible

6.4. One side of the paper only

6.5. Spelling and punctuation

6.6. Handing it in

7. How to write

8. Getting it back

9. Two how-to-do-it books

10. Useful Links


Note: this document was originally written for first year students about to write their first essay on Kurt Vonnegut. I've revised it to make it more generally applicable. Since the standard that it asks for is high, it applies, certainly, to strategies for writing assessed essays in the first year and in the second year of the English course, and indeed to the third year dissertation.

The ideas that are in it are only my ideas. Other lecturers may disagree; so may you. Please read this, as anything else you read, not passively, but critically. If you find it's not useful, don't use it: go ahead and do otherwise.

Tom Davis

1. What is an essay?