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Writing essays Professor Rhona Smith Former visiting professor at Beijing University
What are essays? • Many of the modules on this programme use essays/ research reports/ papers as assessment. • These are individual pieces of work – you do all the research and writing yourself. If you are permitted to work as a group, you will be told. • Essays let you show off your knowledge by presenting it in a clear and ordered way.
How are essays marked? • Your teacher will clearly explain in advance what the criteria for assessment are. • These will be used for marking your essay. • The teacher cannot give you marks for something which is not listed as a criteria. • The teacher cannot take marks off for missing something which is not listed as a criteria.
Assessment criteria • The assessment allows you to demonstrate you have met the objectives of the module – these objectives are listed in the syllabus and available on moodle. • The objectives may be broken down by the teacher listing separate criteria for marking. • Examples may include: clear evidence of independent research; logical structure; good level of analysis; good referencing; demonstrates understanding of international human rights.
Essays and real life • In many workplaces, you will be asked to prepare or write reports. The style may be different from your essay at university, but the skills are the same. • When studying at Beida, you will have to read many books, academic articles, cases and other writings. The people who wrote them probably started off writing short essays. Even a doctorate is really just a long essay!