The way I approach each assignment depends on what type of assignment it is; whether it is an essay, a research project, a short answer test or a presentation. The resources available also differ with each lecturer, some will put all the readings surrounding each subject area on the relevant page on study direct, some will provide links to ebooks and others will just expect you to find all the readings yourself. It also depends on how much time I have to spend on an assignment, if I have left it too late I will read less and aim for the bare minimum. I usually find that I am good at compiling all my research in advance but when it comes to writing the essay, I leave it very last minute. Here is the process I went through for writing a 1500 word essay:
1. I found the list of about 20 questions to choose from, provided by my lecturer on Study Direct. We had studied a different topic each week from January, from the Bolshevik Revolution to US Hegemony and for each week about 3 questions were supplied to choose from.
2. I chose one under the topic ‘Decolonisation’ titled ‘Is Neo Colonialism the last stage of imperialism?’ because I had recently had a seminar about decolonisation that I had enjoyed and I had taken good notes from the lecture. I also was able to quickly look at each topic’s core readings because the link to an ebook was provided for a few of them at the bottom.
3. I then looked at recommended readings for decolonisation provided to us by our lecturer in our module handbook, there was about 20 suggestions.
4. I went through the list and attempted to find the readings that looked relevant to my specific question online, to check that they were worth getting out from the library.
5. I searched Google Scholar and the library and found a few ebooks.
6. If I put in all the information in the search bar, despite having the ‘sorting’ setting on ‘relevance’, my book did not come up first. I found that it was easier to search simply for the title and then click on the ‘Author search’ and scroll down until I found the correct author.
7. I did not find many online and decided to go to the library and get all 6 out
8. As well as picking up the books i was looking for, I also picked up several books on the shelf next to books that also looked relevant.
9. I sat in library and looked in the indexes of all the books for relevant topics e.g. Neo Colonialism, imperialism. I skim read the books and chose which ones out of the 10 were not worth taking home.
10. I ended up taking 8 of them home, some were recommended and others were ones I had just found, and read the relevant chapters by checking the index and contents pages for relevant words.
11. Some of them I read on the bus, on the beach and in my room. Because a few of them were quite dense, I knew that I would have to read a few chapters twice, first to understand where the author stood with Neo Colonialism, and secondly to read in detail the points made and to see whether I could use them in my essay.
12. Because I had time, I typed up some of the key quotations that I thought I might use and took some notes of the key points made by each writer. I put the notes of each of the readings on a different Google doc.
13. I wrote a plan of my essay in bullet points on my laptop and dragged and dropped the notes under the relevant sections of my plan. I have recently stopped using Microsoft Word after being introduced to the wonders of Google Drive by friends. I find that the presentation means I am more likely to keep my work organised and the fact that whatever I type gets saved instantly is an extremely useful tool.
14. I then wrote my essay on a Google doc.
15. Once I was happy that it was finished I copied and pasted it into Microsoft Word to use the referencing tool, to use ‘spell check, and to format the line spacing.
16. I then printed it out, handed it in, and bought myself some chocolate.