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|· Have you answered the question? Be specific. Say exactly what your conclusion will be.|
|· Have you explained how your argument is going to develop in the main part of the essay? What are the main steps you will go through?|
|· Have you explained exactly what you will say at each of your main steps?|
|· Is there any ambiguity in the question? Is there too much to cover? If so, explain what you will be focusing on and why.|
Defining your terms
|· Does each paragraph help you support of your answer to the question?|
|· Are the links between each paragraph clear? Have you provided ‘signposts’ which make clear its role in your argument? Good links and signposts could include:
· ‘Another important question to consider is…’
· ‘The account of [e.g. hegemony] offered above helps us to understand that…’
· ‘While the previous section focused on [e.g. realist understandings of war] further insights can be gained from considering [e.g. the post-colonial perspective] …’
|· Does the arrangement of the paragraphs correspond to the plan you outlined in your introduction?|
|· Is each paragraph roughly the same size? Does each correspond roughly to one topic or sub-topic?|
|· By the end of the main body have you provided a clear explanation of your position/answer to the question?|
|· Does your argument include critical analysis of key sources and theories?|
|· Does your conclusion provide a clear summary of your argument?
· Are equally clear statements of your position contained in your Introduction and the Main Body of the essay? If not, go back and insert them.
|· Does your conclusion introduce any new ideas, concepts or examples that are not explained in the main body of the essay? If it does, go back and explain them.|
|· Are all your sources relevant and of good quality?
· As a starting point, use relevant key readings and link them to the subject of your essay.
· Next, use the module reading list to find further sources.
· Are there any important sources mentioned by the authors you have identified so far? If so, take a look at some of these.
· Find other sources using the Library website or Google Scholar
· News sites etc. might be useful for evidencing a point you are making but should not be used for analysis.
|· Have you avoided unsuitable sources?
· Wikipedia is not appropriate for an academic essay!
· Avoid blogs, unless they contain material by reputable researchers (even in this case there will usually be articles you can read instead).
· Never use essay help websites.
· Never use the student essays on E-IR.info. These are clearly identified on the website.
|· Are you using a good range of sources?
· Relying too heavily on one or two sources is problematic. There is no magic number, but it is hard to write a good essay with fewer than five good quality sources (and this is a bare minimum).
Referencing and bibliography