Some people enjoy writing essays and others don’t. However you feel about this, it’s worth considering what the purpose in writing essays actually is.
- Essays always require you to explore a particular topic or issue. So they are a way of extending your learning and understanding. Because you have to do the research for the essay independently, it means you can do this at your own pace, and in your own way, which is a great advantage. It also means that you are developing your skills in independent learning at the same time.
- In order to produce a good essay, you have to present the ideas and information in a logical and coherent way. This means you have to organise all the information you have collected. To do this, you will be developing skills in analysis, and synthesis (bringing together).
- In first year, essays generally ask you to ‘outline’, ‘explain’, ‘explore’ or ‘describe’, and then as you progress you are required to ‘discuss’ and to ‘critically evaluate’.
- Essays generally require you to present ideas or a well reasoned argument backed up by relevant evidence. This involves many skills, including comparing the ideas of different writers, and being able to evaluate different perspectives. You are not just giving your own views!
- Finally, essays are a means for you to demonstrate your understanding and how much you have learnt in a well structured format.
There is no single correct way to approach essay writing. Each person has to find what suits them best.