RSLE essay1

Guidelines for Essay 1 (6000 – 6500 words)

It is intended that Essay 1 should provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their advanced critical understanding of particular theoretical issues relating to second language learning. Students should identify their preferred focus by selecting one of the essay titles above which address key issues raised through the sessions and/or readings of the first term.

The essay should adhere to one of two possible structures:

-Exploration of the selected issues through in-depth discussion and theoretical analysis of two or three published studies.
-Exploration of the selected issues by comparing and contrasting a number of studies from the full diversity of the literature. (Reference to numerous research projects that help to elucidate the topic should be provided throughout the essay.)

The essay should fulfill the following criteria:


The topic of the essay corresponds tightly with the selected title and the specific requirements of the title have been addressed.

The account of the relevant issues is both analytical and critical.

The focus is centred on theories rather than on authors.

The choice of theoretical models is justified.

The topic is significantly dissimilar from that of the research project.

For essay titles which require evaluation of theoretical models, students should nominate just two or three aspects/models for detailed discussion. An overarching account of the models is not appropriate because the word limit would confine such accounts to being superficial and restrictive of opportunities to demonstrate critical engagement.

It should be emphasised that, although the essay must draw heavily on the literature, work that is purely a review of this literature would not be sufficient to demonstrate the critical engagement required.


Some tips

-Avoid a linear essay structure that starts with a summary of the papers and ends with a discussion