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Writing Resources For Students

Written Guides | Video Guides | 1-on-1 Help

Written Guides

These guides should all agree on what's important in a philosophy essay, so reading some/any/all of them should be useful.

Soton students: ignore anything about marking criteria or mere formatting – consult the Philosophy Student Handbook for info on those.

Tackling the Philosophy Essay – by a group of – now former – Cambridge grad students (Claire Benn, Christina Cameron, Amanda Cawston & Shyane Siriwardena).
Impressively thorough. Really helpful advice on dissecting an essay question and making sure you're answering it.

How to Answer Philosophy Essay Questions – from Manchester's Liam Shields.
Good advice on intros and conclusions, how to argue, and proofreading.

How to Write a Philosophy Essay – by Soton's own Alex Gregory.
Pithy guide on how to structure an essay and what an essay should do, as well as tips on what to do when this feels like banging your head against a wall.

How to Write a Crap Philosophy Essay – from Sheffield's Jimmy Lenman.
Quick list of common mistakes to avoid (or do on purpose if you actually want to write a bad essay, I guess). Particularly useful for breaking free from the way we're often taught to write essays at school.

Writing a Philosophy Paper – by SFU's Peter Horban.
Covers general approach and structuring. The sections 'Things to Avoid in Your Philosophy Essay' and 'Some Suggestions for Writing Your Philosophy Paper' are very sensible.

Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper – from UNC's Jim Pyror.
Looks a bit 90s now, but I'm especially keen on the advice on making your structure explicit and terms, defintions & examples.

Other Resources

Mark Jago's 'How To Write An Essay' video series – from Nottingham's Mark Jago.
If you prefer your writing advice in audiovisual form, these YouTube videos are excellent, and cover answering the question, structure, planning, and more. With thanks to Will Moorfoot for recommending these.

Royal Literary Fund Fellows programme – highly recommended if you're looking to generally improve your writing.
They offer 1-to-1 sessions on approaching, planning & writing work, as well as grammar, structure and style.
Find Southampton's RLF Fellow here.

Have a resource to suggest? Let me know!