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WRITING

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Planning

For every essay you write, you should include an essay plan. This will help you to structure your essay, and helps me to follow your thinking and identify mistakes.

Crash Course has some useful tips on the pre-writing phase.

Essay Cover Sheet

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Download a multi-paragraph outline (MPO) template

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Alternative: A3 Essay Plan Template

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Essay structure

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Introduction

General - Begin you essay by unpacking the question and identifying the underlying issue or key concept. This relates to the mark scheme and your focus on the question. 

Specific - Outline the scholarly positions for and against the statement, this gives an outline of the body of your essay. This relates  to the mark scheme and your inclusion of scholarly views.

Thesis - What will you argue? This relates to the mark scheme and the clarity of your argument.

Consider the question: 'Assess the view that the mind and brain are separate substances.' The pupil might begin their introduction by laying out the Mind-Body Problem and the position described in the question as one response to it. They might progress to outlining the position for, dualism, and the position against, materialism. They will then state their thesis and what they will argue in their essay.

Body

There is no set formula, however, I generally suggest a four part structure to your essays.

Paragraph 1: Discuss the position in favour of the statement, refer to scholars and use technical terms and consider its strengths.

Paragraph 2: Discuss scholarly objections to the position. Evaluate and appraise, dont just state. Link back to your thesis.

Paragraph 3: Depending on the question, discuss an alternative position or another part of the theory. Again, refer to scholars and use technical terms and consider its strengths.

Paragraph 4: Discuss scholarly objections to the position. Evaluate and appraise, dont just state. Link back to your thesis.

Consider the question: 'Assess the view that the mind and brain are separate substances.' The pupil might begin by discussing Descartes' arguments in favour of substance dualism, the position referred to in the question. The pupil might then progress to consider the objections to Descartes' arguments. They might propose an alternative approach, that of Identity Theory, and that the mind and brain are in fact one substance. They'll consider the dualist arguments against materialism, but ultimately argue that it fits better with our knowledge of neuroscience.

To support a point use words such as: persuasive, credible, important, central, clear, believable, significant, reliable, convincing, successful, strong.

To challenge a point, use words such as: problematic, debateable, unlikely, confusing, dubious, absurd, vague, questionable, unsuccessful, inconsistent, weak, unreliable.

To counter a point, use words and phrases such as: in defence, alternatively, although, in contrast, nevertheless, oppositely.

Conclusion

Thesis - Restate your thesis; what is your conclusion?

Specific - How did you reach that conclusion?

General - What are the consequences of your conclusion?

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