Introduction

– Your introduction introduces your argument. At a minimum, it must state clearly what your argument is, and how your will structure your argument in the paper. 

– Somewhere in your opening introductory para you should have the words ‘I argue’.. or ‘this paper argues’… that clearly states your argument. Using words like explain, explore or analyse don’t clearly identify what your argument is. (These verbs are more useful when it comes to describing what you are doing in each section of the paper). 

– Your introduction should be about 8-12% of the word length. If it is longer than that, it is too long and you are taking away valuable words for the analysis in the body of the essay. 

– The purpose of an introduction is to explain what the problem/ issue or question it is that you are seeking to answer, and why this is significant and/ or interesting. It also sets out how you will structure the argument in the rest of the essay. You should have a few sentences that spell out ‘first, this essay argues this…, then it looks at …. Finally, it addresses…’. 

– Any other information that goes into the introduction (other than a statement of the argument and how you will set out the essay), should only provide background about a ‘problem’ or ‘issue’ which your paper seeks to address through argument. No more. That is, it serves to highlight or describe a problem or issue which you go on to answer or address in argument. 

 

Generally throughout the essay

– Think carefully about how you are going to structure your argument in steps so that you can support what you said you will argue overall. These steps should be your sections and in law they can have headings. Make sure that the order of the sections is logical, and supports the argument you wish to make. 

– Only argue what you can support with evidence. Evidence can come from other texts, facts, or your logic and reasoning. 

– One idea per paragraph. The first sentence (‘topic sentence’) can set out what you are going to argue in that para, and then the rest of the para is the evidence that you bring to support it. This is where you bring footnote, and support each fact or claim you make with a reference. 

– It is very unusual to have a para of one or even two sentences. It is also unusual to have more than 10 sentences in a para. 

– Think carefully about what arguments you make, and what you can support with evidence. Don’t ‘overreach’ and general assertions about facts about the word. An example of an overreaching statement might be: ‘Gender inequality is everywhere’!

– Think about what you have argued and find the best possible evidence. If you have argued that the legislation was intended to do something, the best evidence is the explanatory memorandum or the second reading speech, over journal articles and certainly blog posts!

– Don’t write ‘some scholars say’… Instead specify which scholars say what…. Don’t write ‘scholars frequently say’ unless you can provide evidence not only of the scholars, but multiple scholars saying that!

– Do research and make sure you have a good range of reputable resources to back you up. Don’t rely on just the course material. As a tip, I would say as a minimum 10 quality sources per 1,500 words. 

– Do check the originality report before submitting and make sure that you have attributed all work properly and that your language isn’t too similar to any other source. 

– Read your work aloud to yourself to make sure that it all the sentences make sense. 

– It’s a good idea in longer essays to include transition sentences from one section to another. These should link what you have argued before with what will be argued in this section. 

– Sentences are typically 25 words or so. Only go longer if there is a good reason, and/ or if there are stylistic reasons why that is necessary. 

Conclusion

Don’t raise anything new in your conclusion. It is unlikely to have citations. 

Summarise your argument and why it is important. 

 

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