Books Help Write Essays

As the government begins its crackdown on essay mill websites, it’s easy to see just how much pressure students are under to get top grades for their coursework these days. But writing a high-scoring paper doesn’t need to be complicated. We spoke to experts to get some simple techniques that will raise your writing game.

Tim Squirrell is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and is teaching for the first time this year. When he was asked to deliver sessions on the art of essay-writing, he decided to publish a comprehensive (and brilliant) blog on the topic, offering wisdom gleaned from turning out two or three essays a week for his own undergraduate degree.

“There is a knack to it,” he says. “It took me until my second or third year at Cambridge to work it out. No one tells you how to put together an argument and push yourself from a 60 to a 70, but once you to get grips with how you’re meant to construct them, it’s simple.”

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Poke holes

The goal of writing any essay is to show that you can think critically about the material at hand (whatever it may be). This means going beyond regurgitating what you’ve read; if you’re just repeating other people’s arguments, you’re never going to trouble the upper end of the marking scale.

“You need to be using your higher cognitive abilities,” says Bryan Greetham, author of the bestselling How to Write Better Essays. “You’re not just showing understanding and recall, but analysing and synthesising ideas from different sources, then critically evaluating them. That’s where the marks lie.”

But what does critical evaluation actually look like? According to Squirrell, it’s simple: you need to “poke holes” in the texts you’re exploring and work out the ways in which “the authors aren’t perfect”.

“That can be an intimidating idea,” he says. “You’re reading something that someone has probably spent their career studying, so how can you, as an undergraduate, critique it?

“The answer is that you’re not going to discover some gaping flaw in Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume 3, but you are going to be able to say: ‘There are issues with these certain accounts, here is how you might resolve those’. That’s the difference between a 60-something essay and a 70-something essay.”

Critique your own arguments

Once you’ve cast a critical eye over the texts, you should turn it back on your own arguments. This may feel like going against the grain of what you’ve learned about writing academic essays, but it’s the key to drawing out developed points.

“We’re taught at an early age to present both sides of the argument,” Squirrell continues. “Then you get to university and you’re told to present one side of the argument and sustain it throughout the piece. But that’s not quite it: you need to figure out what the strongest objections to your own argument would be. Write them and try to respond to them, so you become aware of flaws in your reasoning. Every argument has its limits and if you can try and explore those, the markers will often reward that.”

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Fine, use Wikipedia then

The use of Wikipedia for research is a controversial topic among academics, with many advising their students to stay away from the site altogether.

“I genuinely disagree,” says Squirrell. “Those on the other side say that you can’t know who has written it, what they had in mind, what their biases are. But if you’re just trying to get a handle on a subject, or you want to find a scattering of secondary sources, it can be quite useful. I would only recommend it as either a primer or a last resort, but it does have its place.”

Focus your reading

Reading lists can be a hindrance as well as a help. They should be your first port of call for guidance, but they aren’t to-do lists. A book may be listed, but that doesn’t mean you need to absorb the whole thing.

Squirrell advises reading the introduction and conclusion and a relevant chapter but no more. “Otherwise you won’t actually get anything out of it because you’re trying to plough your way through a 300-page monograph,” he says.

You also need to store the information you’re gathering in a helpful, systematic way. Bryan Greetham recommends a digital update of his old-school “project box” approach.

“I have a box to catch all of those small things – a figure, a quotation, something interesting someone says – I’ll write them down and put them in the box so I don’t lose them. Then when I come to write, I have all of my material.”

There are a plenty of online offerings to help with this, such as the project management app Scrivener and referencing tool Zotero, and, for the procrastinators, there are productivity programmes like Self Control, which allow users to block certain websites from their computers for a set period.

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Look beyond the reading list

“This is comparatively easy to do,” says Squirrell. “Look at the citations used in the text, put them in Google Scholar, read the abstracts and decide whether they’re worth reading. Then you can look on Google Scholar at other papers that have cited the work you’re writing about – some of those will be useful. But quality matters more than quantity.”

And finally, the introduction

The old trick of dealing with your introduction last is common knowledge, but it seems few have really mastered the art of writing an effective opener.

“Introductions are the easiest things in the world to get right and nobody does it properly,” Squirrel says. “It should be ‘Here is the argument I am going to make, I am going to substantiate this with three or four strands of argumentation, drawing upon these theorists, who say these things, and I will conclude with some thoughts on this area and how it might clarify our understanding of this phenomenon.’ You should be able to encapsulate it in 100 words or so. That’s literally it.”

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Buy an Essay: Citing A Book in MLA Style - Follow General Rules

Citations are an important part of any writing assignment. Whether you're writing an essay, research paper or term paper, you will be using previously written material as a reference and that makes it necessary for you to add proper citations. It is important to remember that citations are not needed for direct quotes alone. Even if you are paraphrasing from a source, you need to credit it with proper citations or you could end up losing valuable marks. You might even be penalized for plagiarism. In order to avoid any undesirable circumstances, it is important that you add citations.

MLA Citation Style

One of the most popular formats used for citing academic papers is the MLA style. It establishes a proper format that needs to be followed in order to acknowledge sources that have been used for reference in a paper. All the references in the content of the essay, research paper, term paper, etc., appear on an alphabetical order. The list is given at the paper's end, on the Bibliography page.

In the MLA citation style, writer adds references to the sources in the paper to ensure that these can be easily identified and referred back to when needed. This enables readers to find the sources easily. The references should be kept as short and simple as possible. Here are some useful tips:

  • Provide only the information that is needed in order to identify the source. The author's last name and a page reference is usually sufficient.
  • Place the reference as close as possible to the source. The brackets in terms of the reference should come where one would naturally insert a pause (usually at the end of the sentence).
  • The information should be complete without being repetitive, both inside and outside the parenthesis. If the author's name has been included in the sentence, it does not have to be included again within the parenthesis.
  • The punctuation should come after the bracket with the information has been closed.
  • Online and electronic sources are cited just like newspaper, magazine or journal-type sources in the MLA style.

MLA Style List of Works Cited

Unlike the APA format where the citations are in-text, the MLA format requires citations to be included at the end of the paper, in the Bibliography section. With this list, readers can easily identify and retrieve each and every source that has been used in the writing of the essay, term paper or research paper.

  • Entries should be in alphabetical order. Author's last name should come first, followed by the page numbers. In cases where the author's name is not available, the title of the work should be included.
  • Capitalize the first word as well as all the important words of the title as well as subtitles.
  • Shorten the name of the publisher to make sure that it is understandable without being too long.
  • When more than one city or area has been listed for a publisher, use the first city or area's name.
  • When multiple authors and publishers are listed, include all with a semicolon (;) to separate names.
  • Don't use special character to replace word (using '&' instead of 'and').

If Confused, Buy an Essay

Writing citations in MLA style is not a very difficult task, but needless to say, it requires a lot of practice to understand how this works. If you feel that you're too pressed for time and will not be able to cite correctly in the MLA style, you can always turn to a professional essay writing service and buy an essay. These services consist of experienced experts who are well versed in all styles of writing and citations.

If you upcoming submission requires MLA style citations and you are not sure that you would be able to manage that, simply find a trustworthy and reasonably priced writing service, share your specifications and buy an essay that has been custom written to suit all your requirements.

There are a lot of writing services that aim at ensuring that students do not suffer bad grades on their essay submissions. A quick Internet search will give you a comprehensive list of service providers that you can approach. Trust a reasonably priced service provider with a good track record and you can rest assured that you will be able to buy an essay that will fetch you the good grades you deserve.

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