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Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

provided and the argument you have developed. In order to produce a very good conclusion you will need to synthesise the material and evidence for your argument, evaluate the key points you have made, add some of your own thoughts on the matter should you so choose and then provide a firm answer to the question in light of this. Synthesising the argument Providing a summary in the conclusion comes quite naturally to most students and generally takes the form of a quick reminder of the key points that were presented in the middle of the essay. This

in The craft of writing in sociology
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

during that period). As we have already noted, making sure you reserve enough time to redraft your essay at least once has to be built in to the total timetable, and that probably means you have to recognise that the period of time available for the bulk of the reading might well be much shorter than it seems at first sight. Once you have started thinking about the timetable, deciding what to read includes other considerations. Deciding what to begin with is one, and being able to recognise different types of material is another. Throughout, you should be

in The craft of writing in sociology
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

It is no accident that the somewhat old-fashioned expression in the English language for studying a subject at university is ‘reading’. In preparing your own texts for your degree course you will need to show that you have read relevant material. So you will have to incorporate into your written work reference to, and discussion of, the materials you have read. Although the requirement to cite, reference and organise your reading is most important in an essay, it is also necessary, albeit to a lesser degree, if you wish to do well in your exams. In both

in The craft of writing in sociology
Abstract only
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

they understand your argument and so evaluate it appropriately. The evidence you have selected from the mass of materials you will have encountered in your critical reading must be deployed in the way you construct the paragraphs and sentences that make up your essay. You can think of each paragraph as a building block for presenting your case, as though you were in a courtroom, to a reader whom you must assume does not know anything about the issue at hand (even though of course they do). Paragraph by paragraph you should weave the evidence together

in The craft of writing in sociology
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

on the essay title and when you have neglected to read sufficiently widely at the beginning. If you find that you often struggle to write at sufficient length then try to read more materials and make more notes on these. You should also ask your tutors whether you are providing enough explanation and exemplification of the points that you have made in your arguments. Writing essays that are too short is comparatively rare. It is much more common for students to find themselves having written an overlong essay or dissertation. The ideal is to write to the

in The craft of writing in sociology
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

involved, and is likely to come over well in your written work. By the same token, however, choosing a topic you do not care about but which you think is easy to answer will also show in your writing, this time to your disadvantage. Whilst the person marking your assignment will not focus on your enthusiasm, it is generally the case that your lack of enthusiasm about a topic will affect the argument that you produce since you are more likely to read widely, think critically, mull over your essay and spend time redrafting your work if you are enthused by the materials

in The craft of writing in sociology
Abstract only
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

Writing an essay almost always involves making an argument. An argument can be understood to be a critical line of thought that runs through your essay from start to finish. It should build upon your critical reading of a set of materials and should reflect your overall position on the question posed. An argument is not just a statement of being ‘for or against’ something. It is true that you may sometimes wish to make an argument that takes a hard line in support of, or in opposition to, a particular theory, journal article, interpretation of some data

in The craft of writing in sociology
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

opportunity to purchase the tools, substances and materials required to remain in practice – meant that audience interests were key to popular speakers, particularly where the emerging sciences were concerned. Disseminators of popular science depended on an audience in order to make a living. Thus, they were very cognizant of the wants and needs of their audience and, in order to ensure their livelihood, clearly targeted their courses to specific groups. In this way the public influenced the form and the content of the information presented to them. (Lynn, 2008 :74

in Creative research communication
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

include a guide. This sort of guide to an argument can often take the form of a brief overview of the steps that you will take as you proceed through your argument and reach a conclusion. This applies whether the essay is based just on a discussion of theoretical materials or on empirical data only, or some combination of the two. Creating a guide to the path you will take has to be done once you have finished drafting and redrafting your essay. For most of us, this is because it is only at this stage that it becomes possible to say for sure exactly what the

in The craft of writing in sociology
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

In research communication there is a common rallying call encouraging academics to move out of the ivory tower. This concept revolves around the principle that ivory symbolises an impractical and privileged building material, whilst a tower implies a sense of physical, practical and linguistic isolation. The concept was first used in its modern sense to describe the academic community in the nineteenth century, to gently chastise academics on the basis not only of their communication but also of their perceived connectedness with the real world. Thus

in Creative research communication