New Year, New Resolutions! One of those might be to study harder, or to try and improve your grades. Whether that is the case or not, here are some easy tips you can follow to improve your work from a 2:1 to a to a first class essay.
1) Be Critical
A first class work must reflect a critical approach to the issues explored. In order to sound more critical, make sure you explore the topic of your research from more than one points of view. In order to do this, you will need to find literature that supports the argument and refutes the argument. You also must note of the limitations of research to be more critical.
2) Be Original
One of the main points for achieving a 1st is to expose the originality of thoughts and that you are independent in your arguments. That is, you should provide your own thoughts to the analysis and prove that your research is unique in some way.
3) Synthesise Different Source Materials
To earn a 1st, make sure you use a wide variety of sources of data and references. Papers with a short list of references get penalties. Moreover, your paper may also get penalties if you base large pieces of text on a single source. A good mix of references will increase the chances of getting a 1st.
4) Use Graphical Materials
Instead of using only text, tables, figures and illustrations can be applied to prove your arguments and visualise your ideas. They are especially helpful when defending complex or contentious points, since the examiners will see that you pay attention to small details and use them in your work. Graphics also improve presentation of your paper, and presentation often accounts for as much as 10% of the final grade.
5) Quality of Sources
Not all sources used in your paper are of the same quality. Remember that journal articles are stronger references than online articles. Yet, even journals have different rankings and some universities will penalise the work if low quality journals are used. Most of the time, journals with a rank of 3 and above are acceptable in most schools. Another thing to remember is that recent sources are preferred to old sources. This will make your work more relevant.
In conclusion, the most important factor that makes a difference between a 2:1 and a 1st paper is the extra mile you go in your research. If you include only the issues covered in class, it will be difficult to get a 1st. If you add advanced information that you had to uncover in addition to what you studied in class, it will almost guarantee a 1st for your work.