An essay is a continuous piece of writing which enables students to provide their answer to the question set by the logical presentation of academic arguments and evidence. To answer an essay question you will need to gather information from books, journals and other sources (see the Finding Information section). 

It is very easy to fall into the trap of merely repeating the information you have gathered without answering the question or without presenting your original interpretation of the material. This will lead to poor marks, as an essay is not just a collection of facts. Remember that your tutor knows the answer to the question! You are given the task of writing essays so that you can develop and demonstrate your ability to critically analyse the information you have gathered to develop your own answer.

Essays can be written on any topic and the basic structure is shown by the sections below. However, style and structure can vary between academic disciplines, so pay attention to the guidelines and assignment brief that you have been given by your tutor. 

To complete an essay effectively you need to work through the following areas. Read through all of the sections before beginning your assignment.