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Doing Essays and Assignments

Doing Essays and Assignments
Essential Tips for Students

Second Edition
Additional resources:

August 2016 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Have you ever been stunned by a low grade, when you were expecting an A or B? 

Are you struggling to make the jump from a second to a first? 


Doing Essays and Assignments gives you an insider’s view on what tutors and professors really want when they assign essays and projects, and reveals how you can raise your game and achieve the best grades.


Drawing on a survey of lecturers, and examples of real student work, this handy guide provides practical advice to help you not only understand what is expected of you, but also get ideas on how to deliver what your tutor is looking for.  Providing a behind-the-scenes look at marking, find out how you can successfully craft the perfect written assignment, and discover tips and techniques on:

  • Planning and deadlines, helping you manage your workload effectively
  • Gaining higher marks through critically formed arguments
  • Communicating clearly with the correct language, grammar, and expression
  • Avoiding common marking pitfalls such as referencing and plagiarism.

This new edition also reveals how to successfully navigate group work, literature reviews, and presentations to improve your grades.  With valuable insight from tutors, and practical tips to apply to your work, you might just want to keep this book to yourself…!

SAGE Study Skills are essential study guides for students of all levels. From how to write great essays and succeeding at university, to writing your undergraduate dissertation and doing postgraduate research, SAGE Study Skills help you get the best from your time at university. Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips, resources and videos on study success!

An insight into the marking process
How to impress and how to distress markers
Before you start, some rules of the game
Getting started . . . and getting finished
Reading and researching the literature
Introductions, conclusions, and structure
What was the question again?
Critical analysis, perspective and argument
The greatest source of 'marker distress': language, grammar and expression
Referencing - an academic fetish for the anally retentive?
How not to present graphs and charts
Presenting your assignment: first impressions count
Feedback and feed-forward
Writing research/project reports
Doing a Systematic Literature Review
Presentation: A fate worse than death?
Group project work (or 'hell is other people')


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This book is a no-nonsense, unique proposition for students who want to take an extra effort to improve their grades. It clearly demonstrates how to impress markers by demonstrating some crucial university-level skills, or what essay-writing has to do with eating an elephant. If you are a student or a parent of a student, this book is a small investment which can bring tangible results!' 

Kamil Zwolski
Lecturer in Global Politics and Policy, University of Southampton

This book offers students an accessible, witty but insightful look at key assessment skills. The new edition addresses how to succeed at various assessment types including the thorny issue of group work! A worthwhile addition for all new students embarking on higher education.

Louise Platt
Senior Lecturer in Festivals and Events Management, Manchester Metropolitan University

Great book, very helpful to my students.

Ms Beverly Shideler
History, Five Towns College
September 15, 2017

This book provides an overview of the practicalities of doing assessment and provides valuable insight into the mind of the assessor. I would recommend this book to all students starting in higher education.

Mrs Sue Murray
Sch of Health & Emergency Professions, Hertfordshire University
September 30, 2016

Very readable, entertaining, comprehensive, solidly based on experience and research -- this is a great resource that I'm going to recommend to our students. Even though most of them are not full-time university students (we're a distance-mode theological college that offers qualifications at Higher Certificate, Diploma, and Bachelor's Degree level), they will be able to gain much from reading this book.

Mr Michael McCoy
Religion , Theological Education by Extension College
July 2, 2016

A humorous and common sense explanation of how to approach essays and academic writing and what markers are really looking for and what they are not looking for! Good section on critical analysis. Offers useful ideas on structuring writing, literature reviews and even ventures into presentations. A good all round study skills book.

Mrs Jo Fletcher-Saxon
Education , Ashton Sixth Form College
September 13, 2016

Supportive writing and very practical book with useful examples provided. Definitely one for students to keep close to hand!

Ms Doreen Malcolm
Education, Early Years & Teaching, Bradford College
September 13, 2016

A useful guide for students new to or a bit rusty with essays and assignments.

Miss Emma Hornby
AITA, The Colleges Partnership
September 26, 2016

Greasely puts the magic into writing essays and tackling assignments. It is insightful yet witty. A great balance and a thoroughly accessible read for undergraduates.

Ms Nakissa Campbell
Dept of Care and Early Years, Weston College
June 24, 2016

An easy read for students who are just starting out in higher education

Mrs Chrissie Louise Draper
Education , Derby College
June 24, 2016

Pete Greasley

Before his retirement, Pete Greasley was a Teaching Fellow in the Division of Health Research at Lancaster University.  He has been marking student assignments for more years than he would care to remember, and not particularly enjoying it.  He has conducted research and published academic articles in psychology, sociology, health, and education, and has also written an introductory book on quantitative data anal­ysis.His research and teaching interests include psychological and social issues relating to health, sceptical inquiry relating to pseudo-science and the para­normal, and how to help students avoid common mistakes when... More About Author