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Essay - ATK

Audience, readership and consent

An academic essay should be comprehensible to an educated non-specialist reader. This means that prior specialist knowledge is not generally taken for granted.

The essay should be written and structured so that an argument is built up from basic principles – if a concept is needed in order to understand a subsequent argument, then this concept needs to be explained to the reader so that the discussion can be taken forward. This requires careful planning in terms of sequencing information.

It may also require use of definitions, and the explanation of professional terminology or jargon. In particular, when abbreviated short forms or initials are used, the full form should be given first along with the abbreviation in brackets to inform the reader. Subsequently, the abbreviation alone may be used.

Sensitive information

Certain assignments may require the use of case studies or sensitive information to inform the discussion. The real names of people should not be used in such cases and it should be explained in the assignment that the names of people/institutions involved have been changed to maintain confidentiality. Research studies adhere to these specific rules on confidentiality and require ethical approval. If in doubt, consult your subject tutor/module guide regarding the specifics of the assignment you are working on and access to ethical approval documentation / participant consent forms.