Arguably power flows towards hierarchy more than agency is distributed as authority to subordinates below. Explain how managers accomplish domination over colleagues while delegating responsibility.
Before you start writing it is key to know enough about the topic to form an argument in response to the question set. Make sure you have read enough – not just textbooks or lecture notes. Planning your essay is very important. Another key step before putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, is to work out a structure for your essay.
Making the structure explicit will help you be clear about your overall line of argument. Equally, being clear about your line of argument will help shape your sense of structure. For these reasons IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO DECIDE THE THEME AND ARGUMENT OF YOUR ESSAY BEFORE YOU START TO WRITE. However many of you will also find it useful to try writing parts of the essay in order to work out your structure and plan your argument.
Writing a structure plan does NOT mean writing a list of everything you want to include in the essay – the ‘shopping list’ approach. Rather you need to think through the logical steps of the argument. What information or points do you need to make before you can argue a certain line? Have you considered the range of debates in the literature? How do YOU assess the arguments put forward in the readings? Are they convincing? Are they based upon adequate evidence? Apply this same critical approach to your own argument: have YOU used enough evidence (and in the appropriate places)? Have you used your material in a logical order?
As important as convincing an examiner of your knowledge of the subject you’re your understanding of the debates, it is important to keep the idea of a READER in mind. Make the ground you are writing on as explicit as possible. Spell your approach ad sources out and don’t leave the reader having to guess what you are up to, or assume she or he has an omnipotent knowledge of all possible divergent views.
Last and first, always check through that you have provided an argument in response to the question set – you cannot be awarded marks for an essay which goes off at a tangent, even if it is to another equally interesting question!
All essays follow the same basic framework: an introduction; a discussion that explicitly addresses the debates in the form of an argument; and a conclusion. This structure is better achieved if you have prepared a good outline.
Introduction: starts with a statement of your understanding of the subject, its importance and its implications. This is a useful place to introduce your key terms or concepts by way of making some key distinctions or definitions. It is helpful for the reader if you provide ‘signposts’ as the direction of your essay.
Main discussion: here you develop your argument and provide support (in the form of examples, research findings etc) for each of the main points of your argument. It will usually involve an assessment of the various competing and opposing analytical perspectives. If appropriate, do use headings to organise and highlight your line of argument – but beware of using headings that fragment your essay. Main ideas should have their own paragraphs. Make a clear distinction between your ideas and those of the authors you draw upon – even if your views are the same: the reader needs to see explicitly that you know what X’s argument is, and then your justification of why you agree (or disagree) with them. Sources should be identified in the body of the essay in the following way: Jones (2000); or Jones and Smith (2001: 29) – where
you make a direct quotation include the reference of the page number. Always include co-authors, not just the first named author, in your referencing.
Conclusion: this reprises the main ideas and summarises your line of argument in answer to the question set.
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