In this video, Tim Squirrell (University of Edinburgh), explains how to answer the questions posed by an undergraduate university essay. Please find below a rough transcript of this section, taken from the original blog post, 'How to write undergraduate essays', which can be found here.
Answering the question
Summary: identify key terms in the question, define those terms, question the question (what are the assumptions behind it?).
Some questions are straightforward. They might ask you to ‘critically assess’ some claim or concept, or ask you a simple question which you’ll have to answer in a complex way. Other questions aren’t so simple. They’ll make a statement and tell you to discuss it. They might ask you to compare and contrast two different ideas, or say which of two theories is the more accurate. We’ll talk about both types of questions here.
Once you’ve clarified all the terms, you can start to put together your arguments and write the essay.
Please follow the links below to the relevant videos and transcripts: