The greatest problem, I find, with problem questions and essay questions in general, is where do I start? For when you start writing then (eventually) everything falls effortlessly into place with one idea flowing into the next resulting in a manifestation of intellectual ability to analyze, argue and conclude at cognitive level.
How to write better papers
When you have a question to write an essay on think about how you make toast. If you wanted to have toast you certainly wouldn’t follow the steps in this order (unless you were irrational or insane in which case this post is not addressed to you) :
6. enjoy toast, 1. turn on the toaster, ,2. get bread from basket 4. wait until toast is ready, 3. put the bread in the toaster,5. spread peanut butter on toast.
You would follow the steps in this order: 1. turn on the toaster, 2. get bread from basket, 3. put the bread in the toaster, 4. wait until toast is ready, 5. spread peanut butter on toast, 6. enjoy toast.
On a similar vein, when writing an essay, start from the start. And by this I mean write down the question and think about what you have been asked– not what you wish you had been asked. When you identify the core issue of the question then you need to follow the steps that will lead you to success.
Here comes the research. First, start with the mandatory reading of the module, then with the extra reading. After you have read and made notes on the reading, look for extra relevant material in the extra reading of the module ( look at the footnotes of the papers you have read to find the material that the academics used to make their points.That way you get a deeper understanding of the issue discussed and you get to show off your research skills; win-win).
After you’ve done the research and the notes on the research, you need to start writing. And this is the easy part since by that time you will know what you will be arguing for and the foundations you will build upon will be clear. Preferably, the essay should be finished well ahead the deadline (for example 2 weeks) in order to use the extra time to refine, proof read and put the finishing touches. In my view, the process of refining and improving an already ‘finished’ paper is what distinguishes a 2:2 from a 2:1 and a 2:1 from a 1st.
The 'toast idea' refers to Tom Wujec's TED talk. Check it out here:http://www.ted.com/talks/tom_wujec_got_a_wicked_problem_first_tell_me_how_you_make_toast