Considering the history of ‘new town’ developments, can the creation of a new town or new city be anything other than a ‘top-down’ planning process? You may draw on historical and/or contemporary examples in your response.
-Every paper that did well, set a clear and specific scope that responded to the essay question. It did this within the introduction, and the introduction was generally 6-10 lines of text.
-Every paper that did well, ensured that each paragraph formed a layer on to the argument set in the introduction; providing references and evidence to do so.
-Every paper that did well, ensured its argument responded to the essay question; and made sure all detail provided was relevant to the central argument being made.
The higher papers were those that responded to the criteria in the ‘Analysis’ section of the marking sheet. These were papers that:
critically engaged with the material – drew out key points and extended on these;
applied historical thinking to the contemporary situation;
papers that were sophisticated in their approach, moving beyond simply ‘planners should learn lessons from history to a more nuanced argument with specificities; and drew on a range of literature, formed new questions and critiques.
Many papers made the argument that was essentially prefaced on the fact that history is important as means of learning from past mistakes.
This is fine (and true!), but at the Master’s level it is important to be a bit more creative, and elaborate on an argument like this, if you are looking for a higher grade.
Structure & scope
One of the criteria in the marking sheet that was consistently ignored was ‘Introductory paragraph clearly states main argument/proposition, or poses a question/s’.
Remember that a clear statement of aims will help you structure your paragraphs in the body of your essay and will give you something to respond to in their conclusion.
This will bring your argument to the fore and make for a strong, clearer paper.
Beware of the ‘ghosted introduction’. This is when an introduction is followed by yet another introduction.
The first is usually a kind of preface, while the second makes up for the what was missing. This is too costly in terms of writing space for a short paper and usually a sign of poor self-editing.
Do one thing, and do it well. Make sure that you clearly set out the scope or parameters of your essay. This means being clear about what you will address in your paper, and possibly even what you won’t (i.e. the bigger issue is x, but specifically within this larger issue is y, which I will focus on in this paper). For example, a number of students attempted to discuss the legacy of colonialism in Australia and its impact on Indigenous people in addition to an equally valid but unrelated facet of history. In a paper of this size it is very difficult to do justice to either argument, so we’d recommend just focusing on one thing and doing it well. This will also reduce the amount of time and research required for the task.
The conclusion should really make a point of acknowledging and responding to the questioawzns raised by the introduction.