Example Of Well Referenced Essay

A review article is an attempt by one or more scientists to sum up and analyze the current state of the research on a particular topic. Since a review article sums up results published in primary research articles it is a secondary source. Ideally, the author(s) searches for everything relevant to the topic, and then sorts it all out into a coherent view of the “state of the art” as it now stands. Review articles give you information on the background and context of a subject as well as the main people working in a field, recent major advances and discoveries, significant gaps in the research, current debates and ideas of where research might go next.

Review articles are virtual gold mines if you want to find out what the key articles are for a given topic. If you read and thoroughly digest a good review article, you should be able to “talk the talk” about a given topic. Unlike research articles, review articles are good places to get a basic idea about a topic.

There are different types of review articles:

Traditional or narrative literature review - “Critiques and summarizes a body of literature and draws conclusions about the topic in question”.

Cronin, P., Ryan, F. & Coughlan, M. 2008. Undertaking a literature review: a step-by-step approach. Br. J. Nurs. 17: 38-43.

 

Systematic review - “uses a more rigorous and well-defined approach to reviewing the literature in a specific subject area”.

Cronin, P., Ryan, F. & Coughlan, M. 2008. Undertaking a literature review: a step-by-step approach. Br. J. Nurs. 17: 38-43.

 

Meta-analysis - "Meta-analysis is a statistical technique for combining the results of different studies to see if the overall effect is significant". McDonald, J.H. 2014. Handbook of Biological Statistics (3 ed.). Sparky House Publishing, Baltimore.

There are countless ways to stylistically complete an academic essay.  Here are some examples of how students have successfully done so, while maintaining proper academic structure.

Introduction

A proper introduction should:

  • Introduce main arguments
  • Have an attention grabbing first sentence 
  • Provide concise information about broader significance of topic
  • Lead in to the body of the essay
 

Here are three examples of introduction paragraphs.  They have been re-written several times to illustrate the difference between excellent, good and poor answers. For a close reading of the examples, click the images below.

 

Example 1Example 2Example 3

 

The Body

The body of your essay should:

  • Address one idea per paragraph
  • Support arguments with scholarly references or evidence
  • Contextualise any case studies or examples 

Style

  • Use correct punctuation and proofread your work
  • Keep writing impersonal (do not use 'I', 'we', 'me')
  • Be concise and simple 
  • Be confident ("The evidence suggests..." rather than "this could be because...")
  • Connect paragraphs so they flow and are logical
  • Introduce primary and secondary sources appropriately
  • Avoid using too many quotations or using quotes that are too long
  • Do not use contractions (you’re, they’d)
  • Do not use emotive language ("the horrific and extremely sad scene is evidence of...")

This example illustrates how to keep an essay succinct and focused, by taking the time to define the topic:

Defining a topic

The following paragraphs demonstrate how to engage with a variety of scholarly material including primary sources, scholarly theories and formal statistics:

Introducing sources

Lastly, this paragraph illustrates how to engage with opposing arguments and refute them:

Conclusion

A proper conclusion should:
  • Sum up arguments
  • Provide relevance to overall topic and unit themes
  • Not introduce new ideas 
Here are two examples of conclusion paragraphs which have been re-written several times to illustrate the difference between excellent, good and poor answers.

Example 1                                                           Example 2

 

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