The purpose of the essays is to train you to write about a subject in a clear and concise manner and in the context of current literature. You should cover the subject at a greater depth than was presented in the lectures and you should also refer to recently published reviews and papers.
Don’t forget to back-up your work frequently, saving it to the U:/drive as well as to a USB stick or other device. There is no excuse for not remembering to do this.
Before commencing your essay, read the question carefully and spend time trying to understand it and what information will be required to answer it.
The essay should begin with an introduction to the subject, in which you say how you will interpret the essay question and how your essay will provide an answer, and end with a conclusion and summary. The middle, or main, body of the text should critically review or discuss the subject using subtitles where necessary. It is here that the whole essay fails or succeeds. It often helps to keep asking yourself, “What is the point that I am trying to make?” or “What sort of evidence/argument do I need to support my statement.
Sentences should not be too long and should be linked to the sentences either side so that the sense flows. To achieve this, it help to read sections out loud to get a feeling of how your writing flows. This also helps you with appropriate punctuation. When reading it through, try to imagine that you have never read it before (remember that the markers are in this position). Use a new paragraph to introduce a change of topic and consider using subheadings to inform the reader of the way in which the essay is organised. If you do use headings and subheadings, then use fonts consistently.
The essays should be typed, double- spaced and not longer than 2500-3000 words, excluding references and figure legends. The use of colour should be restricted to figures and the essay should be spell-checked. Finally, don’t forget to read it through a final time before submitting it and check that you have answered the question fully.
Drawings/graphs should be used wherever necessary to improve clarity. These can either be created yourself or, if reproduced from the literature must be referenced. Make sure you write a clear figure legend which in general should allow the figure to stand on its own.
The essay should be properly referenced (usually 20 - 30 references) and statements describing controversial information must always be referenced. The bibliography (list of references) should use a recognised format, such as that used by the Journal of Neuroscience, and the format should be used consistently. It may help, and it will provide you with useful experience, it you use bibliographic software (Reference Manager or EndNote) to organise and print your references, both in the text and in the bibliography at the end of your essay.
Submitting your essay
The essay should be submitted as a single file (including the title page) to Turnitin under the appropriate Module and Question number in Moodle. You can only upload one file; uploading a second file will overwrite the first file. The title page should have your candidate number, the essay title and tutor's name. Your name must not appear so that the essays can be marked blind. The essay will be marked independently by two markers and a printed copy of the essay will be returned to you with the marker's comments.Plagiarism
As part of your enrolment procedure, you were required to sign the College plagiarism statement. In submitting the coursework essay you are:
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