1. Introduction to Unit Five

In this Unit we are going to look at how a student researches and writes an essay. “Essay” in this context means a term paper or report and not an examination essay, although some techniques apply to both. Some of what follows can be described as hard and fast rules; in other words there is a right way of doing it and anything else is wrong. But there are also points where even the best students will not be in agreement. All I can do is tell you what works for me and assure you, I hope without seeming to boast, that I have usually scored very highly as an essay-writer.

C. S. Lewis likened teaching to the job of a mountain guide. A guide is someone who has made the journey many times before, is aware of the dangers and also able to show points of interest but, every so often, one who is making the journey for the very first time can notice something that the guide has never spotted. I cannot claim infallibility, so if there are points where you want to disagree I will certainly listen to your reasons.

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