On the importance of taking a critical approach in your essay writing
When studying at a higher level of education, it is not enough to read, take notes and then simply repeat the information in essays, coursework or examinations.
To obtain high marks you need to take a more critical approach.
This involves reflecting upon the available evidence in the context of the set question and reaching a judgement based upon evidence and/or logical reasoning.
To do this you will need firstly to have a basic grasp of the material in question.
Then with further reading and noting taking you can attain a deeper understanding.
Finally you will put some of yourself into your essay.
You will evaluate the arguments and evidence that you encounter and reach a judgement. (Remember to do so in the context of the set question – this is a common mistake at all levels!)
Highlight the strengths and limitations of particular arguments, explanations, techniques or theories in the context of evidence and logical reasoning.
This process can be confusing and stressful – the topic will often be unfamiliar – and each argument can be equally compelling.
Often the sheer amount of material can appear overwhelming.
One approach is to get into the habit of reading high quality newspapers, journals and other appropriate publications.
There you will find numerous examples of critical writing and thinking from which you can learn.