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My first assignments at uni..

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
And I'm really struggling to get to grips with the style in which essays are written. At GCSE and a lesser extent at A-Level, essays were written as our take on the given topic, whether it be the style at which "Of Mice And Men" is written, or "Plato's World Of The Forms Theory"...

At uni, the essays are just basically, us writing down the works of others...I do not get the purpose of this? Surely everyone is going to have very similar (in content, not style) essays if we're all using the same library materials (I know not EVERYONE will access the same materials as me!).

It just seems we are just re-writing, in lesser words, what an author has written in a thick text book - which I am struggling to get my head round. Why just re-iterate what someone has already written?

Hmm, once I get my head round this issue, I can wait to get cracking with some work.

At the minute, I'll get back to refrencing like a bad boy ;):D


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I would assume (I'm an engineer) that your essay should be a summary of your knowledge and understanding of the subject of the essay. Pulling together various sources, which may support each other, contradict each other, or cover different areas of the topic.

    They are your opportunity to condense ideas, look at those of other authors, discuss them critically and add your own thoughts to them. If you're simply sumarising other peoples work then you're not doing it right.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah it does depend largely on what subject you are doing, but I know in both Psychology and Philosophy essays at degree level they wanted us to explore the issue but then come down strongly on one side as it were and provide a lot of evidence as to why we come down on that side (arguments, counter-arguments and responses in philosophy, lots of studies supporting our point of view in psychology). So it isn't like at GCSE and A-level when you basically do a summary of the topic and both sides of the argument.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I did my first written assignment for several years the other week thanks to my new course, I read the sources first, looked at the question it was asking it and made up my mind before, then with this I went through the essay using various references to support what I was saying or say where an idea came from. (i.e. the principles of scientific management)

    Haven't got it back yet but I thought it was ok. It's still your own work but to make sure it's valid as such and not just unsubstantiated opinion you have to reference others, preferably those who've been peer reviewed if you get me. It does feel sometimes like it's just quote quote quote especially at the beginning where you're defining everything cos the marker doesn't understand the term 'management' :p (although again, you could argue there's many interpretations of what management is).

    But I was told by one of my lecturers that the transition is quite stark at first, A levels are certainly more like a stream of thought whereas degree level work you need to be very critical of what you've written. Can't remember the quote but it's like engineering. The sign of a well engineered product is not when you can't add any more, but when you can't take anything else away. So that's what it's about. Arguing your point, justifying it, pointing out any criticisms with your point, then concluding why your point is right, with the least amount of waffle possible. Which is why references are good because rather than explaining why something is something, you can just say (Pugh 1996). :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for the responses guys, am feeling a bit more 'sorted' about these assignments now. Just got to get stuck in them now..
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