essay title : For Adam Smith, work is a source of ‘toil and trouble’. Discuss the roots and the long career of this influential idea. ESSAY WRITING International Political Economy of Production Core elements in academic writing Empirical data / findings Analysis Concepts Perspectives STRUCTURE IN ACADEMIC WRITING ◦ A “standard structure” for an 4,000 word academic essay – that can also be applied/adapted to your MA thesis 1. INTRODUCTION 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 3. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 4. METHODOLOGY 5. ANALYSIS/DISCUSSION 6. CONCLUSION 7. BIBLIOGRAPHY ◦ A good structure follows a basic three-tiered rule of thumb: 1. Tell the reader what you’re going to do 2. Do what you have said your’re going to do – in the order that you said you would 3. Tell the reader what you’ve done. 1. Introduction ◦ Present the topic of research/discussion • Tell the reader why it is relevant and why it is important in relation to a specific academic field • Present the specific context of your research/discussion • Tell the reader how you’re going to approach the topic of your research question and why you have chosen this approach (instead of other approaches) • Give the reader an overview of the different parts of your essay – no surprises after the intro! ◦ A good intro is short and to the point! 2. Literature review ◦ The purpose of this chapter is to show that you are aware of where your own piece of research fits into the overall context of research in your field ◦ The literature review should: ◦ describe the current state of research in your defined area: consider competing approaches not just the one that you’d like to adopt! ◦ consider whether there are any closely related areas that you also need to refer to ◦ identify a gap where you argue that further research is needed; and ◦ explain how you plan to attend to that particular research gap / what approach you are going to adopt ◦ This can lead logically into a clear statement of the research question(s) or problem(s) you will be addressing. 3-5. Theory, methodology & analysis/discussion chapters ◦ Theoretical chapter should address the underlying theoretical issues linked to your research question. By discussing competing perspectives you define the theoretical perspective that is going to guide/inform the analysis/discussion of the theme at hand ◦ Methodology chapter: straightforward description of how you conducted the research. You will need to be clear and precise in how you describe your sources, data and methodology ◦ Empirical analysis and discussion: this/these chapter(s) is/are really the centre of your dissertation ◦ You should present your own argument about a specific theme/topic/body of empirical data in the light of the theoretical framework ◦ Make sure your analysis has a clear guiding thread and that you’re bringing your reader with you from one part of the argument to the next ◦ Discussion: This is where you review your own research in relation to the wider context in which it is located. You can refer back to the rationale that you gave for your research in the literature review and the theory chapter, and discuss what your own research has added in this context. It is important to show that you appreciate the limitations of your research, and how these may affect the validity or usefulness of your findings. 6. Conclusion • Don’t underestimate the power of a good conclusion! • It’s your ‘last chance’ to convince the reader that you have a good point … • A good conclusion does three things: 1. It tells the reader what you’ve done – i.e. you summarize your argument 2. But don’t just summarize what you have already said, you should also reflect on the implications of your argument for how we think about a specific theme or topic 3. And it suggests potentially useful avenues for future research. • It doesn’t matter what you argue but how you develop your argument! 7. Bibliography & references All sources that are used in the text are to be acknowledged through REFERENCES – Using a source without acknowledgement is considered as an act of plagiarism. ◦ Analysis/Argument in academic writing is based on the use of academic sources ◦ Your most important academic sources is the course syllabus ◦ Writing an essay is a demonstration of how well you have understood the syllabus and can use it in an independent manner to develop a critical argument ◦ Essay writings starts at home and in class – doing the readings, reading relevant newspaper articles and other sources, taking notes, asking questions, participating in seminar discussion ◦ If you have any questions or problems, don’t hesitate to contact me or personal tutor!
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