It can be a way of making a lot of progress quite quickly. In these early stages of your thinking you may not be sure which of your ideas you want to follow up and which you will be discarding.
It is the argument, and how you decide to present and back up your argument, that will influence your decision on how to structure your essay.Again this may be strong and obvious, or it may be almost invisible, but it needs to be there.In different subject areas, and with different styles of writing, the term ‘argument’ may seem more or less relevant.To produce a high quality essay you need to demonstrate your ability: The need to use such a wide range of academic skills is probably the main reason why the essay format is so popular with tutors as an assignment.The word limit adds to the challenge by requiring that all of these skills be demonstrated within a relatively small number of words.As a tutor has said (Creme and Lea, 1997 p41): ‘When my students ask me about essay writing, there are three main pieces of advice that I give them. The Mini Guide: Essay terms explained, and Questions to ask about interpreting essay titles may be useful.To start you off, and to minimise the likelihood of writer’s block, a useful exercise is to do a ‘brainstorm’ of all your ideas in connection with the essay title. It can be much less stressful to throw all your thoughts down on paper, before you start trying to find answers to these questions.You can use the writing process to help you think through, clarify and develop your early ideas about how you might respond to the title that has been set: ‘you may not know what you think until you have written it down’ (Creme & Lea, 1997 p115).As with teaching, it is often not until you try to communicate an argument and its evidence that you find where the gaps are in your knowledge or argument.By creating a relevant structure, you make it much easier for yourself to present an effective argument.There are several generic structures that can help you start to think about your essay structure e.g.: In addition to these macro-structures you will probably need to establish a micro-structure relating to the particular elements you need to focus on e.g.: evidence / policy / theory / practice / case studies / examples / debates.