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on 10 April 2007
I'm currently studying for an MA - but not now within the Social Sciences as this book is aimed for! My MA started in Social Sciences and moved to another subject area; however this book has helped me with all of my essays.

Although I'm studying with the Open University I would recommend this book for all students - and also at degree level. What Redman has done is tailor for all institutions then added a small section for all OU students at the end of each chapter.

The chapters are easy to follow and I would suggest flicking through it once but then dipping in and out of it as necessary. He covers topics such as:

* What tutors look for when marking essays

* Matching the answer to the question

* Stages of writing

* Writing each part of the essay

* How to reference

* Examples are also included.

These are just a few of the sections covered and the appendices all has in it areas such as what to do when you get your essay back. The layout is very similar to a report; each chapter has sub-sections which are numbered and bulleted.

I'm not particularly academic and essay writing does not come easily to me, yet this book really has changed how I write my essays.
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on 14 April 2001
Whilst the subject matter is not the most exciting this book is written in an engaging and easy style that encourages you to read on. It is a mine of useful hints and tips with essay examples. The book includes useful appendices including information on referencing which covers details on referencing from 'new media' which is becoming increasingly popular. There is a slant towards Open University students with seperate information boxes dedicated to OU students however the information and advice will be invaluable to all students at all levels. I would advise keeping this book to hand to use as a quick reference guide when you have your next essay to write.
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on 6 June 2004
I'm doing a psychology course with the OU and this is one of the recommended books for DSE212.
It's very useful to get your hands on before starting your course so you can skim read most of it. It's not important that you remember everything in it, you just need to know where to find useful bits of info later in the course.
It's an excellent resource.
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on 31 July 2008
I dont often write reviews but after recieving a 100% for my last asssignment by using this book, i thought i must write something. (My previous grades had ranged from 70-85%, so this was an incredible jump which i could never have dared hope for. In all of my assignments i knew my subject and was familiar with the various studies, but structuring and knowing how to put it all together is a different ballgame altogether. This is where Redman's book comes in.

This book was recommended to me by my tutor and every time i've gone through it, i'm always taking something new. It was the example of a top level essay that clinched my grade for me. Seeing a practical example on how to pull all the different essay components put together really helped me to pick out the faults in my assignments. I sat there for hours in the library going through that essay and trying to work out how the writer organised the information in each parapragh. It makes the planning and actual essay writing so much simpler when you have something like that to go refer back to.

I'm not going to go on about whats included in each chapter (i think the previous reviwers have already done that) but if you are seriously committed to developing your essay-writing skills, this book is an absolute must. You could just flick through the chapters if you want, but in order to get top marks, my advice would be to set aside some time to really break down the examples provided.
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on 8 April 2006
I bought this book and read it before starting an OU Degree in Pychology starting with Social Sciences DD121. Fantastic - I have not formally studied for years and years - this book has rested some fears, made good sense, had good balance, and well presented.
Just 1 BUT! I did not understand a word of essay 1 - I guess I have some work to do!
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on 13 March 2011
This is a brief but comprehensive guide to good academic writing. It will be particularly useful for OU students, those of us who are unused to the demands of academic writing, those who are returning to education and anyone who lacks confidence in their writing abilities.

As a stranger to referencing, I found the sections on how to create a bibliography/ reference list very helpful.

There are examples of 'good' and 'bad' writing and on how to structure and develop each section of your assignment. The author gives useful advice about how to develop, present and evidence an argument.

Cautionary note: it is not a book 'about' social science nor will it write an assignment for you.
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on 18 December 2005
This book is full of very good advice, and if you have not done any essays for a while, then I would regard this book as essential
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 May 2016
Please note, my review relates to 2nd edition (from 2001) - see the attached photos. The book has been slightly revised in subsequent editions.

I write this review as an Open University social science lecturer (having tutored several modules, at first, second and third levels, during the past 12 years). Many students are concerned and anxious about writing essays, and it does take both time and practice to get things right. While most courses supply guidance on essay writing skills and techniques (found within the module materials), it can be the case that some students want additional useful information. And, in my view, this book - by Peter Redman - is a very good supplementary text.

It's a rather short book, but it offers lots of helpful advice on how to develop your writing skills. It discusses most topics, from presentation and essay structure to referencing. I've found that one of the most useful features of this book is that it presents examples of essays - which score various grades - and explains why they received a particular mark.

Of course, students ought to follow the advice of their tutors (and adhere to the module guidance)! But this book can be used in combination with the OU materials.

Non-OU students will also find it helpful. It's specifically designed to assist new under-graduates (who are just starting a degree), although higher level students may find that it offers handy tips.

It's intended for social science students - and makes use of relevant examples, concerning the study of contemporary society. While it's slightly dated, in terms of the examples it discusses, the central ideas expressed in this book remain relevant.

For undergraduate social science students who require some additional guidance in relation to essay writing, I thoroughly recommend this book.
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on 20 April 2012
I ordered this book because it was recommended as preparation for the Open University's course DD131 (Introduction to Social Sciences). I've previously studied law and humanities, and I was also a law tutor with the OU for a number of years, so I've read my fair share of how-to guides on essay-writing, - this one is hands-down the best. I suspect it exaggerates the differences between social science essays and essays in other subjects, but that's a minor detail. What particularly impressed me was the discussion of three different essay types - advocacy, compare & contrast, and evaluation - I haven't seen that set out so clearly anywhere else. The sections on note-taking and critical thinking are also better than most of what's out there, and the level of detail is excellent throughout, without being overwhelming. Highly recommended.
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on 7 June 2011
I have just returned to studying through an OU course on the Social Sciences. This guide has clear concise guidance on how to break down what is required from you when writing your assignments. It also tells you how to take relevant notes and helps you to really get yourself organised for preparing any work that you are undertaking.
Most of the advice given is available to me on the OU website, but in different places and formats. This has everything all in one easily accessible place. This book is proving invaluable to me and there are sections relevant to students studying at a higher and more indepth level than me.
This book is a wonderfully useful resource for students at all levels of study and has really helped me in my assignments.
Thank you sage & OU!!! :)
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