Good Essay Writing: A Social Sciences Guide

Author(s) Peter Redman
Publisher Sage Publications Ltd
Published 2005
Pages 176
Price £10.99
ISBN 1412920116
Reviewed by Mr Rory Daly
Lancaster University
Review published 24 January 2007

This concise and easy to read book offers social sciences undergraduates some practical advice on essay writing. It starts with an overview of grade /band descriptors – what does a 2:2 essay look like, how does a marker/reader differentiate a 2:1 essay from one that gets a 2:2 - and builds up into a step by step guide to writing a high quality social sciences essay.

Some of the advice is basic but this book is not harmed by its repetition. The author formulates what he calls the 'Three Golden Rules for Writing a Social Science Essay'

  • Write in your own words,
  • Answer the question, observing any word limits,
  • Think about content, structure and social scientific skills,

The section on structuring your essay was particularly strong and used some good examples of diagrams/mind maps to illustrate how to structure a social sciences essay successfully.

If I had one minor criticism of the book, it is that it describes how students should structure their essays over time, rather than acknowledging that many will never write an essay in this fashion. Conscientious students will already have sourced much of this information but it also contains many handy hints for those students prone to writing their essays the night before the deadline!