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How To: Assignment Planning

Create a blueprint

Before a builder begins to build a house, before he even digs the foundation, he creates a blueprint or plan.  This blueprint allows him to know exactly how he should proceed in order to build a strong and steady house.  You should approach your essay in the same way.  Before you begin writing, plan the structure of your essay - from your introduction, to the description and analysis of the topic, right through to the conclusion.

Structure your assignment

Rough outline of essay

 All essays should conform to the basic structure of:

Plan a stylish opening :

Basic opening: This essay seeks to examine excessive alcohol consumption in Ireland today.

Stylish opening: A recent EU survey highlights Ireland as the number one binge drinking nation in Europe, with 34% of Irish respondents admitting to drinking five or more drinks in every session (European Commission, 2009).

Present an essay outline :

Introduce each of the concepts which you discuss in the main body.

Write a brief summary :

Introduce the question, but do not address it at this point.

Be sure to cover how you are going to answer the question.

Define the concept:

Quote or paraphrase accepted definitions, e.g. if you are writing an essay on 'Services Marketing,' what does the phrase mean?

Put it in context of other research :

For example, describe the progression of the topic - from initial research to the most recent studies.

Analyse :

Critically answer the essay question

Remember to use research to back up your argument

Sum up the information and research supplied in the essay.

Provide a concrete answer to the question posed in the essay.

Conclude with a stylish sentence or two:

Your lecturer is about to mark your essay! Don't leave it hanging in mid-air!

Planning the main body of your essay

  • Divide it into paragraphs – one main idea per paragraph.
  • For the purpose of planning, invent temporary headings for your paragraphs, just to show at this stage how your argument will progress.
  • Try out different arrangements of your argument.
  • All the major points in your argument need to be supported by evidence. At this point you should plan where each of your notes & quotes would be best used. Note the referencing details of each one.