1.3 Developing your essay-writing ability

To develop your skill in writing essays you need to address two basic questions.

  • What does a good essay look like?

  • How do you set about producing one?

We will look at the first of these questions in this chapter and the second in the next.


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1.2 What is an essay?

The different arts and humanities subjects make their own particular demands on you. You may have to do various kinds of writing – diaries, logs, project reports, case-studies – or even write creatively. In this chapter, though, we are going to concentrate on the essay because that is by far the most common form of writing in arts and humanities subjects.

The word ‘essay’ originally meant ‘an attempt’ or try at something, but now it usually means a short piece of writing on
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1.1 Why write?

Of all aspects of studying, writing is probably the most challenging. That is because when you write down an account of your ideas for other people to read you have to explain yourself particularly carefully. You can't make the mental leaps you do when you are in conversation with others or thinking about something for yourself. To make your meaning clear, using only words on a page, you have to work out exactly what you think about the subject. You come to understand it for yourself i
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should:

  • be able to discuss why writing is so important;

  • have an understanding of and be able to use critically the main criteria of good essay-writing;

  • be aware of the basic technical and stylistic considerations involved in writing.


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Introduction

When you write down an account of your ideas for other people to read, you have to explain yourself particularly carefully. You cannot make the mental leaps you do when you talk with others or think about things by yourself. This makes writing probably the most challenging aspect of studying. This unit will help you to develop the basic skills and confidence required for writing by explaining what is involved in good writing and why it is so important.

This unit is an adapted extract fr
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3.3.1 Mapmaking for the twenty-first century

In early mapmaking history, maps were compiled from travellers’ tales, sailors’ logs and other maps. Information could, therefore, come from various sources and different dates. By the nineteenth century, maps were being made by more technically and scientifically rigorous procedures. Recently, mapmaking has benefited from developments in electronic surveillance techniques and computer programming. The Ordnance Surveys are now using aerial photography coupled with detailed checking on the
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • identify some of the important characteristics of maps in relation to their value to social science;

  • recognise and give examples of how maps can influence our “view” of the world;

  • describe the relationship between data and space as represented on a map.


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7.2 Reorganizing notes

The technique of re-reading completed notes and supplementing them with comments and queries is a useful way of processing ideas. Another way of processing ideas is to reorganize notes around a set of questions or thematic headings. This is particularly useful for those notes that you will be drawing upon for planning and writing assignments. They can be reworked and key concepts and ideas can thus be applied to different types of questions and issues.

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1.2 Disentangling sounds

If you are still feeling aggrieved about the shortcomings of evolution, then you might take heart from the remarkable way in which the auditory system has evolved so as to avoid a serious potential problem. Unlike our eyes, our ears cannot be directed so as to avoid registering material that we wish to ignore; whatever sounds are present in the environment, we must inevitably be exposed to them. In a busy setting such as a party we are swamped by simultaneous sounds – people in different pa
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1.6.5 RSS

RSS (‘Really Simple Syndication’ or ‘Rich Site Summary’) newsfeeds supply headlines, links, and article summaries from various websites. By using RSS ‘feedreader’ software you can gather together a range of feeds and read them in one place: they come to you, rather than you having to go out and look for breaking news. The range of RSS feeds on offer is growing daily. There is probably a feed to cover all aspects of your life where you might need the latest information, and you may
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1.5.8 Bibliographic software

If you are considering taking your studies further you might like to consider using bibliographic software. Bibliographic software can be used to sort references, annotate them, manage quotations or create reading lists.

There are several software packages on the market. Some are listed below.

Acknowledgements

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Author details

Sue Cowley is an experienced teacher and subject co-ordinator, who has tau
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1 Teaching and behaviour

The quality of our teaching inevitably has an impact on the behaviour of our students: a student who is busy learning is far less likely to think about misbehaving. Using a range of strategies, positive approaches and rewards will have a positive impact on behaviour on a day-to-day basis. However, one of the key factors in getting sustained good behaviour is ensuring that your students are fully engaged with the work that they are doing.

There are many factors that can contribute to mis
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1.3.11 Choosing the right tool for the job

Before searching it is always a good idea to check what the source you have chosen covers to make sure it will unearth information that matches your search need (you will notice that all the resources we’ve covered in this guide have short descriptions to enable you to decide which to use). Some of the decision makers, depending on the context of your search might be:

  • Does it have full text?

  • Does it cover the right subject?


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How Can We Improve UK Drug and Alcohol Policy? [Audio]
Speaker(s): Professor David Nutt | David Nutt will reflect on his ten years’ experience on the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs until 2010, and present new analyses comparing the harms of drugs and alcohol using more sophisticated methodology. David Nutt is Edmond J Safra Professor of Neuropsychology at Imperial College London. He was chair of the ACMD until 2010 and is now chair of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs.
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Oct 19 - General Electric posts an 8.3 percent rise in quarterly profit, as solid demand in the U.S. and Asia for its electric turbines.
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Drawing with water

Simple and beautiful: the delicate art of drawing with water - making the Art for Alan's War.


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1.4 TSEs and non-human animals

Several TSEs of non-human animals were also known before the recognition of BSE and others have come to light subsequently. The most significant of the former is scrapie, a disease of sheep that has been known for over 200 years. Its symptoms include irritability, excitability, restlessness, scratching, biting, rubbing of the skin (hence its name), loss of wool, weight loss, weakness of the hindquarters and sometimes impaired vision. Some breeds are relatively resistant to the disease (e.g. S
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5 Designer babies?

A character under genetic influence where the distinction between treatment and enhancement is hard to draw is height. Treatment of short stature – with human growth hormone made in genetically manipulated bacteria – has already given rise to controversy about how short a child needs to be for treatment to count as meeting a medical need. That is, how tall is tall enough?

As we identify genes that have effects on many other human characters, from appearance to, perhaps, intelligence
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5.3.3 Ring-tailed lemurs

LoM p. 239 describes the life and habits of the ring-tailed lemur, drawing attention to what are commonly called their ‘stink-fights’ – a further example of the importance of smell in lemur society. But here the habit is prevalent in a species that is active by day and can spend as much as 40 per cent of its waking time on the ground. In fact, these animals seem equally at home on the ground and in the trees. Over time, some populations in Madagascar have become more ground-based than o
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