parent nodes: [academic writing] | [foreword] | [question] | [research] | [rhetorical situation] | [signposting]

facts

Students often assume that the purpose of an essay is simply to give a series of facts, or separate pieces of information. While this may have been appropriate for certain kinds of work at school, it doesn't meet the expectations of university-level work. If you find you are filling your essay with facts, you are almost certainly adopting an inappropriately writer-orientated perspective, rather than the reader-orientated perspective that is required.

Facts are not meaningful by themselves, but only in the context of an overall argument; in other words, they require motivation in order to be useful in your essay. Your tutors will not be marking your essays on the basis of how many facts they contain, but on their design for a reader, or how effectively they present an argument. When writing about literature, there are few or no facts which are of much intrinsic interest; everything depends on how you put across your intepretation.