Writing essays

The essay is the most common type of assignment in many subjects, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. Writing an essay enables you to explore a topic in detail and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding in a piece of analytic writing.

A good essay demonstrates an ability to:

  • understand the question
  • select appropriate reading sources
  • develop a central idea, sustaining the argument from beginning to end
  • use evidence and examples to support your arguments
  • analyse, synthesise and critically evaluate material from different sources
  • explain issues, theories and debates
  • use sources appropriately in the text and construct a list of references
  • write clearly, accurately and effectively, using a good range of grammatical structures and vocabulary
  • write in an academic style