Essay

Details

  1. Class: Unspecified
  2. This template is published for use.
  1. Step 1: Gather all relevant assignment documents.
    Percent time spent on this step: 2%

    Instructions:

    You've made an excellent choice in using the Assignment Calculator to plan your time! Well done! To keep a copy of this schedule, click 'Print' in the top right hand corner and you can either print a copy or choose to print to PDF via the print menu. Mac and Linux users will find the option to print to PDF in the print menu on your machine. Windows users may need extra instructions, as only Windows 10 has a built-in PDF printer. Check this Digital Trends page for help with setting up a PDF printer on your Windows machine.

    The first step to a successful essay is to make sure you have all the information you need about your assignment. Your Learning Guide should be your first port of call. You may also find additional information on your unit vUWS site and in class discussions. If you need to, contact your tutor to clarify what you need to do.

    If this is a group assignment, work out who is in your group and make sure you know how to contact them.

    Useful resources:


    Drop into a campus library and ask Library staff in red or chat with an Online Librarian or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.
  2. Step 2: Understand your assignment; select and focus your topic.
    Percent time spent on this step: 7%

    Instructions:

    University assignments usually ask you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of particular topic areas related to the unit you are studying. Essay questions are often quite complex, so you will need to pay careful attention to what you are being asked to do. If you don't answer the question asked, you won't get a good mark even if you write really well. If you have to choose from a range of questions or topics, you might need to do some introductory reading (e.g. from your textbook) at this stage to help you decide.

    Use the resources linked below to help you get a good understanding of the task at hand. If you get stuck, you can also ask a Study Smart Officer at your campus library or access Study Smart Online.

    For groups: You should also allocate roles and plan meeting times now.

    Useful resources:


    Drop into a campus library and ask Library staff in red or chat with an Online Librarian or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.
  3. Step 3: Write your working thesis or preliminary research question.
    Percent time spent on this step: 8%

    Instructions:

    If your research questions have not been provided in the assignment instructions, you can try to formulate a working question or questions. You could first try creating a mind map of everything you know about the topic and focus areas you identified in step 2. You could use an online tool such as MindMup or Bubbl.us (both require Chrome, Firefox, or Safari). Include key concepts from the unit and sources from your unit reading list that might be relevant. Look at your mind map and see if there are any key areas that have gaps.

    Then ask yourself ‘what do I want to find out?’, and formulate an initial statement about how the essay question will be answered (a 'working' thesis statement). This will help guide your research (the next step) so you don't waste time looking for the wrong things.

    Once you have done your research, your ideas might have changed (this is a good thing!). You can then come back and change your question or thesis statement in light of what you have read and how your ideas have changed.

    For groups: Consider using Google Docs or another online platform to share your ideas as you research.

    Useful resources:


    Drop into a campus library and Library staff in red or chat with an Online Librarian or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.

  4. Step 4: Design research strategy. Find and evaluate evidence and sources to address your research question.
    Percent time spent on this step: 20%

    Instructions:

    Researching effectively is a skill you can learn, and there are lots of resources to help you get started. For tips on searching the Library's resources, complete the online tutorials on Successful Searching. Your future self will thank you!

    Do a quick scan of the articles you find to check if they are relevant. This will mean you don't have to spend time carefully reading something that turns out not to be relevant. Don't forget to evaluate what you find to ensure that it has scholarly APPEAL (video, 6:26).

    Useful resources:


    Drop into a campus library and ask a Librarian in red or chat with an Online Librarian or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.
  5. Step 5: Critically read and further evaluate sources.
    Percent time spent on this step: 22%

    Instructions:

    Once you have a range of scholarly sources relevant to your essay, read them carefully and take notes. Ensure you keep the citation information for each source with your notes so that you can cite your sources correctly. Take note of what points the sources agree on and what points they differ about – this is part of reading critically. Once you have done your reading, go back and look at your working thesis statement or research question (see step 3), and revise it if necessary.

    For groups: consider using an online collaboration platform such as Google Docs so you can continue working on your research collaboratively even when you’re not together in person.

    Useful resources:


    Drop into a campus library and ask Library staff in red or chat with an Online Librarian or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.
  6. Step 6: Develop overall essay structure. Draft segments of essay. Organise sources.
    Percent time spent on this step: 5%

    Instructions:

    Using your revised thesis statement, develop a structure for your essay. What will be your main points? What evidence will you use to support those points? Which point should come first, and which should come last? Write a topic sentence for each main point and use them to start drafting your paragraphs.

    Useful resources:

    • Study Smart Writing page – for all your writing support needs
    • Essay structure (PDF, 193 KB) and Essay tone (PDF, 193 KB) – to set you on the right track for a successful essay
    • Paragraph structure (PDF, 85 KB) – handy tips to help you write better paragraphs

    Drop into a campus library and ask Library staff in red or chat with an Online Librarian or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.
  7. Step 7: Write first draft.
    Percent time spent on this step: 20%

    Instructions:

    Draft one paragraph for each main point, with an explanation and evidence for the point you are making. Then write your introduction and conclusion. Ensure that you cite the ideas you have used from your sources and include each source in your reference list. Use the referencing style specified in your Learning Guide.

    For groups: When writing together, offer constructive feedback to each other. Make sure you think of ways to encourage each other as well as suggesting ways to improve.

    Useful resources:


    Drop into a campus library and ask Library staff in red or chat with an Online Librarian or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.
  8. Step 8: Revise & rewrite – focus on content. Submit draft to Turnitin for Originality Report.
    Percent time spent on this step: 10%

    Instructions:

    Read back over your essay and check your content, editing where necessary. Does your argument make sense? Have you explained everything enough? Do your ideas flow logically?

    When you’re ready, submit your draft to Turnitin (check your Learning Guide to see if your unit allows this). The Originality Report will help you see where you need to paraphrase more carefully to integrate the ideas from your sources into your own argument.

    You could also see a Study Smart Officer or submit your draft to Study Smart Online (allow 24-48 hours) for feedback. Access this service via the Study Smart Zone link in your unit vUWS site.

    Compare your assignment against the instructions and the marking rubric: Have you completed all aspects of the task? Have you completed them to the level you are aiming for according to the marking rubric?

    Useful resources:


    Drop into a campus library and ask Library staff in red or chat with an Online Librarian or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.
  9. Step 9: Polish and put paper in final form.
    Percent time spent on this step: 5%

    Instructions:

    Review the Originality Report (video, 2:46) and/or feedback from a Study Smart Officer or via Study Smart Onlineediting where necessary. You may need to rewrite some sections and correct any grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors (use the spelling and grammar checker in your word processor as a start). If possible, ask a trusted friend to proofread for you. Then make any final corrections that are needed.

    For groups: Ensure that you know how you are supposed to submit your group assignment (do you all submit it? Or does just one person submit it?) and are clear about who is responsible for doing so.

    Useful resources:


    Drop into a campus library and ask Library staff in red or chat with an Online Librarian or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.
  10. Step 10: Submit your final essay.
    Percent time spent on this step: 1%

    Instructions:

    Save your final version and you’re ready to submit! You should already be familiar with the submission requirements – take a moment to check whether you need to submit to Turnitin via a link in your unit vUWS site, or perhaps via another method. Do you need to provide a printed copy? If you need an updated Turnitin Originality Report, allow for the 24 hour delay on this, although the digital receipt will confirm submission straight away.

    Once you’ve submitted your essay, celebrate and reward yourself for getting it done!

    When you receive your marked assignment, don’t forget to read the feedback and reflect on how you can use it to improve next time.

    For groups: Debrief the assignment process as a group (see page 4 in the Track, progress, success PDF). Make sure you have a group celebration as well!

    Useful resources:


    Drop into a campus library and ask Library staff in red or chat with an Online Librarian or drop in to see a Study Smart Officer at your campus.