Undergraduate Studies

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How to write an International Studies Essay

The complete guide to writing a 2:1 standard university essay

Writing an international studies essay can be a very challenging task, as there are various dimensions that continually impact and shape the world. However, you should not feel overwhelmed by this challenge, because an effective approach is the key to writing good essays. Before starting, there are some aspects of a good essay that you should keep in mind.

  • It has an argument based on reason and supported by factual evidence
  • It follows in a logical manner and is clearly written
  • It is well structured, well researched, and consistent
  • All information sources are referenced and included in a bibliography
  • Its length and presentation meet the required specifications

The aim of the following guide is too help you to write a good international studies essay.

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1. Understanding the Essay Topic and Question

Ask yourself what the topic actually means and what the relating issues are. The question will include important words, like ‘compare’ or ‘examine’, which indicate how you should approach the international studies essay.

2. Information Sources

Some popular sources of information used for international studies essays are:

  • Books
  • Journal articles
  • Government publications
  • Non-Governmental Organisation reports
  • Newspaper articles

3. Selecting Information

Start with general reading to get an overview of the topic and to identify the relevant concepts and debates. Follow this with specific reading to get a detailed understanding of the topic. Ensure that your selected information:

  • Relates to the essay topic and question
  • Is as current as possible
  • Is from quality sources of information as this will reflect directly on the quality of your essay
  • Strengthens your argument, but indicates a thorough approach by also selecting information that does not

Create a list outlining the details of your selected information, as you will need these details throughout the writing process. It will also help you to reference the information and construct the bibliography.

4. Planning the Structure

An essay structure generally consists of three parts:

  • The introduction is an overview of the essay topic and question, with an outline of your response and how you intend to present it.
  • The body is a series of paragraphs that builds onto and supports your argument.
  • The conclusion is a summary of your argument and its implications.

Now plan a structure for your international studies essay by:

  • Arranging the paragraphs to maintain a consistent flow
  • Giving each paragraph a sub-heading
  • Indicating the main points and evidence for each paragraph
  • Identifying areas that require additional research

5. Writing Style

Now you can begin writing your international studies essay according to your planned structure.

  • Do not use paragraph sub-headings in the actual essay
  • Reflect all personal views in an objective way
  • Never plagiarise
  • Always proofread your final draft

6. Referencing and Bibliography

Although there are various acceptable referencing and bibliography methods, ensure that you use those that are specified.

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