Step 1: Read, read, read – You must get a good depth of knowledge about what you are writing about, the way to do this is through reading and researching. Plus, this is one of the marking criteria, a tutor can always tell when a student has done a lot of good reading and knows what they are talking about. But what exactly are you going to read? Well, books are a good place to start. You don’t have to read the entire book – go to the contents page and see which chapter(s) is relevant for what you’re researching. You should also look for journals – these can be a bit more specific and in-depth (and often more laborious to read) but will have some good information. Find them in the library by searching under “Journal Titles”.
Step 2: Plan – NEVER start writing an assignment straight off the bat, you’ll end up tying yourself up in knots halfway through. On a sheet of paper write the subheadings for each section and then below these put your ideas in bullet points. Add in useful citations and information and see if you can find links between them. Use colours, cross things out, draw arrows… you’re not looking for something pristine and perfect but literally a “sketch” of your assignment.
Step 3: Start in the middle and work outwards – Sounds odd, right? But get onto the main body FIRST, then write the introduction and the conclusion LAST. Make a clear cover page, a table of contents, and start each section on a separate page; check your citations and reference list are correctly set out – remember that presentation is one of the marking criteria.
A word on analysis: This is where the big points are – Make sure that you explain what you think are the strengths and limitations of models and theories and apply the models and theories to your context to show this. Bring in different writers’ opinions that either support, develop, or question the ideas that a particular theorist or thinker believes. Always back up your arguments with data, information, or reference to writers – imagine that you are a lawyer setting out your evidence in a case to prove your point.