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Factsheet:

How to write an academic essay

Resource summary

This factsheet was revised in October 2015.

What is an academic essay?

An academic essay is a piece of writing in a formal style which answers the question or statement posed in the essay title. The essay will be based on your research and, possibly, your own experience. You’ll need to reflect on your findings and present your ideas in an analytical or critical style.

The essay marker will be looking for your ability to read around a topic, evaluate what you’ve read, and present a coherent argument. You’ll be expected to be make connections between the different ideas and practices relevant to the subject, and to add your own views and conclusions within the context of the question. For example, if the question relates to recruitment and asks you to evaluate current methods of recruitment practice and the methods used by your own organisation, it would be expected that you had read a number of articles, texts, journals and course materials, as well as considering discussions during your face-to-face course sessions, and be able to compare and contrast the views and practices you discover.

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  • What is an academic essay?
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