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How to Write a Scientific Essay

How to write a scientific essay

How to Write a Scientific Essay

When writing any essay it’s important to always keep the end goal in mind. You want to produce a document that is detailed, factual, about the subject matter and most importantly to the point.

Writing scientific essays will always be slightly different to when you write an essay for say English Literature. You need to be more analytical and precise when answering your questions. To help achieve this, you need to keep three golden rules in mind.

These are:

  1. Analysing the question, so that you know exactly what you have to do
  2. Planning your answer
  3. Writing the essay

Now, let’s look at these steps in more detail to help you fully understand how to apply the three golden rules.

Analysing the question

  • Start by looking at the instruction. Essays need to be written out in continuous prose. You shouldn’t be using bullet points or writing in note form.
  • If it helps to make a particular point, however, you can use a diagram providing it is relevant and adequately explained.
  • Look at the topic you are required to write about. The wording of the essay title tells you what you should confine your answer to – there is no place for interesting facts about other areas.

 

Planning your answer

The next step is to plan your answer. What we are going to try to do is show you how to produce an effective plan in a very short time. You need a framework to show your knowledge otherwise it is too easy to concentrate on only a few aspects.

For example, when writing an essay on biology we can divide the topic up in a number of different ways. So, if you have to answer a question like ‘Outline the main properties of life and system reproduction’

The steps for planning are simple. Firstly, define the main terms within the question that need to be addressed. Then list the properties asked for and lastly, roughly assess how many words of your word count you are going to allocate to each term.

Writing the Essay

The final step (you’re almost there), now you have your plan in place for the essay, it’s time to get it all down in black and white. Follow your plan for answering the question, making sure you stick to the word count, check your spelling and grammar and give credit where credit’s (always reference your sources).

How Tutors Breakdown Essays

An exceptional essay

  • reflects the detail that could be expected from a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of relevant parts of the specification
  • is free from fundamental errors
  • maintains appropriate depth and accuracy throughout
  • includes two or more paragraphs of material that indicates greater depth or breadth of study

A good essay

  • reflects the detail that could be expected from a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of relevant parts of the specification
  • is free from fundamental errors
  • maintains appropriate depth and accuracy throughout

An average essay

  • contains a significant amount of material that reflects the detail that could be expected from a knowledge and understanding of relevant parts of the specification.

In practice this will amount to about half the essay.

  • is likely to reflect limited knowledge of some areas and to be patchy in quality
  • demonstrates a good understanding of basic principles with some errors and evidence of misunderstanding

A poor essay

  • contains much material which is below the level expected of a candidate who has completed the course
  • Contains fundamental errors reflecting a poor grasp of basic principles and concepts