01394 432010

hello and welcome to the UCD Writing Center my name is dr. Michael Faye and today we’re going to be looking at writing editing and proofreading your essay so over the next half hour or so we’re gonna be looking at structure and editing creating your first draft redrafting and proofing i’m creating a consistent editorial approach so the first thing you want to do when you’re looking at an essay is you’re going to want to think about how to plan us so you need to know what are the basic ingredients that make up an essay so essays are basically made up of an introduction a main body with several themes that answer a particular question and a conclusion and if one of those things is missing you don’t have an essay I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve received essays from students and they’ve maybe skipped over certain sections of the introduction or their conclusion is one sentence whenever you’re in that kind of scenario it means you haven’t fulfilled the basic expectations of essay writing and that can have a pretty severe impact on your grade so it’s important to think even from the beginning about the really basic stuff that makes up an essay so your basic requirements once you’ve received an essay title are to make sure that you understand the question so double-check instructions often students will come out and come in to us here at the UCD Writing Center and they’ll bring an essay question and they won’t have any more information about us and so we generally ask them to to go onto their blackboard account or Moodle account the virtual learning environment and normally we’ll find a that’s been uploaded by a tutor that has significantly more information than just an essay title usually some recommended sources or some bullet points that kind of detail the expectations of the essay so it’s always a good idea to double check that you have all your instructions from the from the get-go you should also pick out the key terms in your essay question if there’s any theoretical vocabulary in there any particular ideas that you need to understand just make sure that you take a bit of time to understand them that you make a few notes about the different bits and bobs that you need to learn to do the essay properly you should also then go back to your notes I mean you when you when you receive an essay question usually that there’ll be particularly shoes and classes that have the most relevant information for you to be able to do the essay it’s it’s always a very good idea to just take stock look through your old notes your the lectures that you’ve been to and pick out the bits and pieces of information that most suit the essay topic you should also check your style guide and department guidelines again students often come in and we ask them are you using APA MLA Chicago Harvard style and often they don’t know usually this information is either either your your your main lecture or course user will know it or it’ll actually be on your department website it’ll be in the guidelines so that’s that’s usually an easy fix you just need to ask or check the website and finally make sure that your Microsoft Office Word or whatever program you’re using is set to the correct language if you’re in a UK university make sure it’s set to UK English American US English if you’re in Canadian University it’s it’s Canadian style right and that’s simply because there are different spelling and punctuation conventions these are the little things that you just want to sort out at the beginning so that you’re not worrying about them at the end so once you fulfill those basic requirements you can begin thinking about visualizing your options so the visual that we have on screen here is just sort of a an options plan if you will so you can do this if you want you can you can just put an essay title on a piece of a4 paper put it on a table in front here and you can you can just use sticky notes around that piece of paper to kind of just get it get a nice visual a nice broad plan of what you might want to address you can do it on a whiteboard whatever you want here obviously it’s just on a computer screen so you put your essay title in the middle in the top right hand corner Ames of essay so you will obviously have a title that will you know there are expectations around fulfilling the demands of a particular essay title but you’ll have your own aims in order to be able to do this so put down a couple of aims that you think might speak to the essay title it doesn’t actually perfect at this stage it’s nice to be quite broad so that you can kind of narrow this down a little later on you should put your relevant lecture and tutorial notes in the bottom right hand corner there so that’s just basically any notes that you think are particularly good any particular lecture that you attended that had a lot of useful information that you think will you’ll be able to plug in to this essay you should just make a note of us I’m put it in the bottom right-hand corner the bottom left you can see possible section headings so in our next slide we’re going to be looking at an essay layout templates these subheadings you’ll use these to sort of embed your essay narrative into the structure of the essay so think of a couple of subheadings that will if you add them all together answer the demands of the essay title and start and start even now just just putting a few down having a couple of options that you can come back to later as you begin to kind of write your essay and move from that kind of basic planning and structure stage to the first draft and finally your list of sources in the top left-hand corner so this is your your bibliography recommended sources just put a short form of recommended sources in the top left so basically you’re keeping everything you know pretty much together but it’s still quite general at this stage it’s just something you can draw from so you can really nail down your structure ok so now we can move on to your essay structure template so we developed this template basically because students were finding it very very difficult to kind of you know you you’re faced with the blank page you’re writing your essay and you’re a little bit unnerved about the whole thing so the point of this template is that you just start filling in information so that you’re not you’re not facing into what looks like an instrumental instrumental task so on the first page of your document you should write introduction and then followed by thesis statement aim 1 question 1 and aim 2 question 2 on page 2 write down aim 1 provisional title and points on page 3 write down aim to provisional title and points I’m on page 4 right conclusion so this stage you should look at the your your your visual your your plan from which you’re gonna draw information right the first thing you’re gonna want to do is force yourself to come up with a thesis statement now I know that some people argue that a thesis statement is something that comes a lot later into the writing process but I think if you’re someone who’s very very concerned about structure and narrative and about keeping your essay narrative you know coherent it’s always a good idea to just start with the thesis statement it just gives you that sense of arguments it takes you from the title to your your perspective on the title your take on the title and after all that’s what your marker is looking for so force the thesis statement this essay will demonstrate that’s usually what a thesis statement is it’s that it’s that point of the essay where you’re you’re giving the specific argument that you’re gonna cover in your essay after this write down your your two aims so the first part of this essay will investigate whatever it is you’re gonna investigate then it will be demonstrated that and then you just fill that out so the point of that is that you’re taking the information from your visual you’re filling in the blank page it’s all pretty basic at this point you don’t have to have an absolutely brilliantly thought a argument you’re just getting the basics down on the page at the minute so you don’t need to worry too much about it being perfect moving on again to page 2 you should convert your aim or question 1 from the first page into a subheading so you’ll remember in the when when you visualize your plan you’ll have come up with a couple of subheadings so have a look again at your plan visual and take a subheading that you think will fit into the essay so remember the two aims that you set up in your introduction you want to answer those two aims and those two aims equals the thesis statement and the thesis statement equals you answering the question so a subheading will basically keep you focused so when you write down the subheading just put a few bullet points on dress how do you think you might open this particular point how might you expand us and how might you conclude us so four or five points maybe just at this stage that you’re gonna want to cover you might have a few critics that you want to use under a particular subheading so it’s no harm to write down their names on one of the bullet points as well you’re just basically placing the information in the right area you know what you’re talking about and you know when you’re talking about it in your essay you do the same on page three of your essay at this stage the same frame – it’s the same basic principle and then for the conclusion of course you don’t know exactly how you’re going to conclude at this stage but one or two bullet points that indicate where you think you’re gonna go it doesn’t Hearst again it’s about filling in that blank page it’s about having a nice sense of a coherent narrative that’s what you’re trying to do you’re trying to embed your narrative in your structure and your structure in your narrative so hopefully at this stage you’ll have been able to do that so once you’ve completed the essay structure template the first thing you do is save it save it as essay structure template and leave it in a separate file hopefully you won’t have to look at it again then reopen that file and resave us as first draft so this is what you’re gonna be working on from now on to create a first draft so the first draft so at this stage you need to fill in the knowledge gap while you were doing your essay visualization and your essay structure template you will have noticed a few gaps in your own knowledge that’s normal there’s no way you would know every single bit of information that you need to complete the essay so filling in the knowledge gap is is just a standard part of a first draft so first of all create a working bibliography that is a list of sources that you know you’ll have to use in order to answer the question when you’re reading these sources read actively that means using pen and paper or stylus if you’re someone who articulates points better than you write them down perhaps you’ll want to record your thoughts on a particular piece that you’ve read that’s totally fine whatever works for you never underline make a note instead so if you see something really interesting don’t just highlight as a note and and an underline us actually talk about why you found it interesting so either record that or write it down beside us and start linking points to other authors and other ideas so once you’ve read a couple of sources you might begin to notice that there are links between particular authors that some authors disagree with others in in provocative ways you might notice that you have a particular way of coming out of topic that some authors have missed this should be written down while doing this active reading you should make a note of this it all contributes towards filling in the essay in some shape or form it might turn into one sentence in the final part of the essay or it might be the breakthrough that you need to really get writing about a particular section and write your annotation in your bibliography this really is if it really this is an issue of time if you have a long bibliography if you’re finding it difficult to figure out what sources you should be using take a second and just summarize what one particular set altar says in one or two sentences in your bibliography and you might begin to realize well this isn’t quite as relevant as I thought it was last week so you can just kind of put it to one side it’s not relevant for that essay you might use it somewhere else it’s all practice it’s all very very useful you can also at this stage start putting those sources into the main body so under a particular subheading either as a bullet point or even as a fluid sentence like if you’ve been able to summarize someone’s point coherently just put that into the document at the moment we’re still just positioning the information in the correct order we’re not quite on to the stage where we’re actually writing and writing a fluid narrative with paragraphs etc so just when you have read one or two sources and you think they’re useful for a particular section summarize how you’re gonna use them under the section heading and it would be very very useful for when you’re writing the essay later instead of you just plucking information from a random document this also will prevent you from just kind of using block quotations from critics which doesn’t always look good if you if you if you if you use far too much critical quotation it often looks like you haven’t quite understood the topic so it’s a good idea to be able to summarize in your own words okay so once you’ve kind of covered what you need to know you can start looking at your introduction again so what you can see on screen here is a checklist for an introduction so you need an opening statement or overview of the field you need to make a comment on this statement you need to put it in context or even use a quotation from another critic you can then integrate your thesis statement this isn’t necessarily one sentence by the way but it’s a way of positioning your argument in relation two fields and in the context of another critic this is followed by a very brief essay outline and if you want you can have a final sentence that acts as a link to your opening paragraph this isn’t always necessary so for example if you’re writing an essay on the links between Fordism and post Fordism in contemporary business practices you might need to do a brief paragraph just after the introduction that defines a couple of complex terms and how they relate to each other so that’s when you might want to use a final sentence that acts as a link sentence because you’re just trying to point out that this paragraph is setting up the rest of your arguments so it might look something like in order to articulate the points that have been outlined it is first necessary to give a brief definition of Fordism post Fordism and how they operate in contemporary business something as simple as that right okay so what you can see here is an essay that’s obviously gone through more than one draft but the reason I’m showing this to you now is that I want you to understand where you need to get to to write a coherent essay so this essay follows the checklist that I’ve just outlined so you can see there’s an opening statement and overview literary critics adopting world systems and world ecology approaches towards environmental Crees criticism have recently argued for comparative reading of the aesthetic registration of commodities in different geographical settings it’s an opening statement overview it’s clear and it’s concise then we have contexts and criticism sure a dexhart has highlighted structural homology x’ while michael neighborhood has suggested it is the contours of the world system etc so that opening statement has been put in context using other critics then we have the thesis statement following these interventions this essay argues that literary depictions of fishery frontiers speak to more than just an overfishing crisis but a general consciousness of capital’s inherent contradictions that’s the thesis statement for this particular essay and it’s followed by an essay layout the first part of this essay suggests the second part will draw out the final section will articulate and those are the kind of sentences that you want to have in an introduction it’s nice and clear and it sets you up really really well for the rest of the essay so once you’ve run through that introduction checklist you can start turning your bullet points into linked paragraphs so the example here comes from an article written about fish and oil in Newfoundland so as of 2015 the oil and gas industry accounted for sixteen point seven percent of GDP in Newfoundland Labrador with only seven thousand employed per year in the industry since 2016 the inverse of the former cod fisheries high employment to low GDP ratio so in an essay structure tempest this would have looked like a bullet point that maybe said something like sixteen point seven percent of GDP boss 7,000 employed you just have to turn it into a flowing sentence this takes practice so you should always practice with your bullet points different ways of writing that bullet point different ways of turning into a sentence until it becomes a coherent point also on this slide if you look at the paragraph break it says Newfoundland is not exceptional in this dynamic in this dynamic is in bold because in this particular context it works as a link between the two paragraphs so links and link terms are really important the argument that each paragraph is a new point is not necessarily true often paragraphs will develop a main point as they go so in this particular case this second paragraph is developing the point that was made in the first one and that’s why link terms are important you’re just showing a sense of cohesion and a sense of advancement through a point through your paragraphs so I put a list of link terms at the bottom here furthermore moreover having outlined demonstrated concurrently nonetheless the one thing I’d say about link terms is just make sure that they make sense in the context of your paragraphing don’t just throw in link terms for the sake of us that’s just it’s just really important and it’s very obvious to a marker if you throw in a random link term it doesn’t take too much effort to figure out which one fits your paragraph so now you can move on to your conclusion so a conclusion can feature a brief recapitulation of your argument a recap of your argument a reminder of counter arguments and that optional a rejoinder to these arguments again optional depending on whether or not you decide to remind the reader about the counter-arguments a sentence or turn a phrase that links back to your thesis statement or essay title and then a strong closing statement so this can look a little something like this as such the development inform aesthetics and character of literary depictions of Fisheries at the regional level narrate world historical concerns a brief recap of what’s been said combining novels like the silver darlings and Silvanus now allows us to trace an overall dissatisfaction with fishery management and the development in attitudes forms etc you’re linking back to that piece of statement which you can look out it was just a couple of slides back in this presentation and then to end just use a strong closing statement the narratives thereby suggest little in terms of possible cultural evolutions for a revitalized fishery but through silver and oil mediate the sense of impending violence that awaits communities at the frontier closed sometimes people kind of say to people a conclusion is just a summary of what you said it’s not you should just follow this pretty easy checklist recap link to thesis statement strong closing statement it looks a lot better and it should lead to better marks for those you who’ve been struggling with marks if people have been talking about issues with your conclusion this should help you out so again just completely essay narrative keep inputting link sentences keep working on your sentences experiment with different ways of turning particular bullet points into paragraphs just you’re constantly writing basically at this stage you can remove your subheadings sometimes and in some disciplines they do like you to use subheadings as you move through different points and sometimes it’s an option that you can that you can use or not entirely up to you but at this stage you can remove yourself headings modify your thesis statement you’re gonna change your thesis statement a good bit during the writing process at this stage if your thesis statement is the same as it was in your original plan there’s a chance that the thesis statement may not be adequate for an essay title so if you get this far and your thesis statement hasn’t changed too much it wouldn’t do any harm to passuk or cheese or lecture or a couple of colleagues just to make sure that it’s it’s you’re actually saying something about the essay title and then you can check your introduction and conclusion against your checklist so you just rechecking that checklist again and then turn all your points into sentences consider if an overall argument has been made again this this is the the the essay narrative stage you’re just constantly checking to make sure there’s a sense of narrative there’s a sense of structure there’s points being made in each paragraph all this kind of stuff and finally we run a spellcheck you know you go into the review tab of a Microsoft or a document hit spellcheck and make sure that everything isn’t spelled correctly and that’s a first draft and that’s probably the hardest part of essay writing so if you’ve gotten this far you’ve done very very well so now we move on to copy editing so copy editing runs in three stages the first thing you want to do is go through an editorial checklist which I’ll run through now and a couple of seconds you then want to create a consistent editorial guide so an editorial guide is lists of stylistic features and ground rules for spelling and grammar that you use in your essay so I’ll go through that in a couple of minutes and finally you’ll want to color code and make comments about further revisions that you might want to do either in this draft or in a later third draft it depends on how many revisions you have basically so the checklist the first thing you want to check for is spelling errors then repetition of phrases and duplication of words passive voice your tenses make sure you tense as much subject verb agreements tautologies weak adjectives overuse of italics commas and colons and consistency for that editorial guide so for now I’m just gonna focus on passive voice tautologies and weak adjectives so passive voice versus active voice active voice the subject performs the action passive voice the action is performed upon the sub checked so here’s an example of a passive the information was known by many students an example of active many students knew the information so the active voice is useful because it’s a much more direct writing style and it often makes it much easier to comprehend complex points particularly for if you have a long whirling sentence or a couple of sub-clauses keeping it in the active voice just makes it easier to understand now some subject areas do you prefer a passive voice to give a sense of objectivity so if you are working on phrases that are in the passive and you’re putting them into the active voice and you feel that this doesn’t look like the articles that you’ve read that the style doesn’t seem to match what you’ve seen of your subject area just run it by your lecturer or tutor they always have the final word on these sorts of things week at active and tautology so tautology saying the same point in different terms week adjectives nonspecific terms so here’s the example the results of this study are interesting as they suggest that empirical methods are not suited to this particular process I mean there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that sentence but it can be more direct and it can be clearer by getting rid of the weak adjectives and the tautology so the results demonstrate that empirical methods have no practical application in this process so this particular is a tautology because it’s just it’s a redundant phrase basically it’s enough to say no practical application in this process so checking for tautology and weak adjectives make your points more specific so this stage you can now confirm your master editorial guide you’ve run through that full checklist and you’ve spotted their errors and and stylistic incongruencies that you need to fix to read your essay so what does an editorial guide look like looks something like this in the first section you have your style so double-spaced times new roman’ prefer ize iza zed ing endings that’s instead of is e is a s ing ending Oxford comma but UK spelling so this particular person decided that they’d like to use the Oxford comma but that they are using other UK spelling and grammar’ conventions that’s totally okay because they’re keeping it consistent if you ever have any concerns about style and you have a particular preference for using something that maybe isn’t recommended in your department guidelines just run it by your lecturer they might be happy enough for you to use one or two conventions outside of their own as long as it’s consistent and it makes sense if you look at spelling and grammar this term bildungsroman is Roman initial cap so Roman basically straight as opposed to the the italics initial caps so bildungsroman always with a capital B so in literary studies you often see bildungsroman spelt in different ways sometimes in italics this particular person bildungsroman was used a lot in the essay and they felt that italics just do too much attention to the term so they decided to do an initial cap instead so it’s a fair spelling and grammar point it doesn’t go against any particular style guide that’s the sort of stuff that you want to make make note of in your editorial guide now you can start thinking about revising your sentences so here’s an example of a revised sentence between the first draft and the second draft so a first draft sentence the number of nurses who are actually leaving Ireland at the moment has been demonstrated clearly by qualitative studies which suggest that their leaving was triggered because there are no jobs so someone’s looked at this sentence they’ve experimented with different ways of writing it they paid attention to their copy editing checklist and they’ve come up with something a little better qualitative studies demonstrate that the number of nurses leaving Ireland at the moment felt that they had to because of bad employment options and wages this second draft sentence is by no means perfect but it is an improvement on the first sentence the unnecessary qualifier is removed or necessary words are removed the passive voice has been replaced with active voice and the gerund has been replaced so it’s a much more direct sentence the same goes for quotations often particularly with undergraduate essays you know you’re trying to engage with critics it can be a little bit intimidating to summarize their points and use them to back up your own point or to refer to them in your writing it’s just something that takes a lot of practice so a first draft might look something like this there is a connection between masculine honest violence and environmental destruction in literature Val plumb wood argues quote dualism has formed the modern political landscape of the West and quote Naomi Klein writes that even in the contemporary moment quote press reports rarely make the connection between violence against women and violence against the land end quote there’s nothing wrong with this particularly for a first-year essay this is quite good but you’re always trying to improve your ability to engage with critics so second draft or later drafting might give you something like this the literary registration of masculinist violence and environmental destruction corresponds to the contemporary identification of resource extraction as inherent to capitalist patriarchy Western dualism gendered violence and land destruction so it’s one sentence it’s clear and you’ve managed to include all of the critics in us so it’s in your own words and it allows you to set up an argument on your own terms ok so at this stage I want you to give this a go revise the following paragraph from a first draft piece proofread it make the argument clearer and create an editorial guide so just remember there’s no single right answer for this task just like there’s no single way to write a great essay but hopefully the editorial guide that you come up with will look a little something like the editorial guide that I’m going to show you in the next slide so one of the most useful things about search engine technologies is there many uses though internet usage is prevalent today many people still struggle with organizing information that they find online furthermore internet sources themselves are not always trustworthy this is because some people lie about the things they put up online coloring the message what you believe may not be the same as what your neighbor believes which is fine but people need ways of knowing what they are looking at numerous creative technologies exist to help this problem so pause this video for 10 minutes and just run through the stages that we’ve talked about across this presentation okay so a revised version though Internet usage is prevalent today many people still struggle with organizing information that they find through search engines furthermore internet sources are not always trustworthy as the content is often colored by competing beliefs while engaging with different points of view allows people to refine their own ideas separating fact from fiction online remains difficult to alleviate issues or in spurious content entrepreneurs have created numerous fact-checking programs so the reason I’ve read those at is that you can actually hear that the second version it actually sounds better than the first version it’s by no means perfect there’s a couple of points in this that I wouldn’t be completely happy about but as a second draft it’s an improvement and that’s what matters you can see the style guide at the bottom of the page so spelling and grammar internet always capitalized in the first version of this internet was spelt with a lowercase I and a capital I so this person has decided to capitalize Internet across the document UK Irish spelling color Naver in the first document this person spelled color C olor which is aus convention but they were writing in UK style so again something to note down in their editorial guide on fact-checking this person has decided to put a – whenever they say fact-checking again it’s fine just making a point to make sure it’s all consistent does he write the essay in terms of style its MLA and in this case single spacing so hopefully your editorial guide will look a little something like that okay so at this stage you can look at your bibliography so in this type of bibliography you’ll see that this person has printed it out and they’ve actually marked it up with with you know on pen and paper maybe you’re a little tired from using the computer screen that’s fine I just want to call your attention to the hybrid quotation so you can see here that this person obviously was going to use several different articles from this person but it ended up only using one so they’ve made a note to combine the the to cite the to complete citations there so just a point at the end of your second draft you should be making sure that your bibliography weeds as it should so the new draft again rewrite your thesis statements make sure your introduction said your aim clearly check your link sentences is the essay as a whole coherent do the in-text citations or footnotes match the bibliography if you moved around information or restructured sections of the essay does the whole piece come together is your conclusion linked to the wider topic don’t just conclude by rewarding an essay question in the affirmative and then you run a full proofread and that’s the second draft the third draft is much shorter than the previous two drafting processes you may need to redraft one or two highlighted sentences I mentioned that you should highlight sentences that you’re finding particularly difficult during the second draft stage just check these sentences against your editorial guide and run a spellcheck check the overall fluency of the piece one more time just reading it through making sure everything is in place where it should be and then proofread it again make the copy as clean as possible and then you’ve got a print Asst proofread the printed version and read it aloud as if delivering a presentation this will allow you to kind of hear the inconsistencies you’ll be able to hear the sentences that aren’t structured properly if you end up redrafting several paragraphs and sentences extensively you should rerun the three-stage copy edit usually it just takes an extra day it’s not that big a deal but it means you won’t be submitting your third draft you’ll be submitting a fourth draft again it only takes an extra day usually so we’re back to revising sentences so we’ve seen these two sentences before and as I mentioned that the the second draft sentence still wasn’t perfect so this person has have another look and they’ve redrafted it as such qualitative studies demonstrate that high levels of nursing staff are leaving Ireland due to poor employment prospects citing low wages and unsuitable working conditions and as you can see there is now two citations to critics two critical pieces have been mentioned so it’s a much more coherent sentence and it’s also referencing secondary material so it’s it’s it’s very much a sort of final draft kind of sentence so to summarize the key stages in your draft you plannin structure fill-in the knowledge gap rewrite your introduction in conclusion you link your paragraphs and you proofread in the second draft you copy at us do your editorial checklist make sure you revise your sentences confirm your editorial guide and have a look at your bibliography and then the third draft issue it should be just minor revisions make sure you’re just checking the consistency of the overall essay and then a final proofread and bibliography check and if all of that runs through if there’s only one or two minor changes in the third draft you can proofread your final submission print it out give it a proofread and if it’s good to go it’s good to go so final points give yourself plenty of time ideally you should take four to five weeks to write an essay and don’t panic if you only have two or three weeks you can still run through these stages it just means that you might have to spend a couple of more hours than you originally planned on the essay be rigorous with your style guide editorial policy and drafting no shortcuts run the three-stage copy edit run your proofread make sure you do it’ll just save you a lot of frustration if you get if you end up with a lower grade than you deserved you’ll be pretty annoyed at yourself for not running one of the stages of the proofread for example make sure you are within word count lecturers might allow a deviation of a few percent but this is not always the case if you go a good bit over often a good idea to shoot your lecture and email just check that’s okay they might say no they might want you to bring it back if that’s the case and it’s your third draft you’re gonna have to do another draft a fourth draft within word count I’m just I supposed to mention again you’ll be draft your introduction more than any other section of your piece this is totally normal nothing to worry about introductions should change as you write an essay and finally as a writing rarely goes in said stages so you might find yourself editing different paragraphs concurrently especially during that first first draft phase you might enter the paragraph in one section then you might go too near the end of the paper Reata this you might move that paragraph just embrace it it’s it’s part of essay writing it doesn’t really go and set stages until you get deeper into the second draft and third draft that concludes our tutorial on writing editing and proofreading your essay for more useful information videos and handouts even have a look at the UCD Writing Center website thanks again for watching [Music]