Search for courses or information

HSB First Draft

Structuring your essay

This section looks at structuring your essay from start to finish so that it answers the question. It covers how to write introductions and conclusions and shows how they relate to the paragraphs of your essay.

The advice in Structuring your essay will be most useful if you have a rough outline of how you plan to answer the question but aren’t sure how to structure your plans into the paragraphs of the essay.

What to do:
Read through the Structuring your essay guide and complete the two related exercises. You can access these resources in any order from the links on the right if you prefer, but we recommend that you work through the whole guide completing the exercises as directed to get a good understanding of the overall topic.

Other useful resources:
  • For more guidance on the earlier stage of starting to plan your answer to the essay question, see Planning your answer.
  • For a more detailed guidance on how to write individual paragraphs see Paragraphing below.

Paragraphing

This section looks at grouping your notes and ideas into themes and then constructing paragraphs from these themes. It also covers how to express a critical argument within a paragraph.

The advice in Paragraphing will be most helpful when you have a good idea of how you plan to structure your essay and you have notes and quotes ready to start writing up a first draft.

What to do:
First read through the From notes to a paragraph guide and complete the three related exercises. Next read the Developing a critical argument guide and complete the three related exercises.

You can access these resources in any order from the links on the right if you prefer, but we recommend that you work through both guides from start to finish, completing all the exercises as directed, so that you get a really in-depth understanding of the overall topic.

Other useful resources:
  • For more general guidance on organising the answer to your essay question into paragraphs see Structuring your essay above.
  • For a more detailed look at how to write clearer sentences within your paragraphs see Very clear writing below.
  • For more background on the critical approach expected at university see Developing your critical skills guide.

Very clear writing

This section focuses on clarity in your writing, specifically gluing one sentence to the next sentence, and the next and so on.

The advice in Very clear writing will be most helpful at the point where you have structured your answer into functional paragraphs and you’re ready to work on making the sentences clearer.

What to do:
Read through the Very clear writing guide and complete the three related exercises.

You can access these resources in any order from the links on the right if you prefer, but we recommend that you work through the whole guide completing the exercises as directed to get a good understanding of the overall topic.

Other useful resources:
  • For an overview of how to organise your answer into paragraphs see Structuring your essay above.
  • For detailed guidance on expressing your ideas within individual paragraphs see Paragraphing above.
  • For general advice on the appropriate style to use in essays see theChecking your academic style guide.

School of Arts and Digital Industries

Mark Hunter highlights the types of writing expected in the School of Arts and Digital Industries and provides some helpful advice.

Watch the video of Mark Hunter who will give you some tips for writing within the School of Arts and Digital Industries.

You can also read the Writing for your subject guide that gives a summary of subject specific and general advice from all the videos.