What is Coursework and Why Does It Matter?
Coursework definition: General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) coursework is a typical academic assignment, given in the course of study to evaluate the student’s knowledge, skills, and identify the final grade. Many students face this type of writing in the US colleges. One of the examples is a coursework UTD (The University of Texas at Dallas) – the requirements of this institution are strict, and many students fail to submit their papers and pass the corresponding courses.
Such type of assignment helps to have the ‘detective’ hat on: a student observes, examines, and evaluates the chosen topic using credible, up-to-date, and relevant sources. Working under controlled conditions is important. Participating in every school class will help to prepare good coursework by the end of the term. Take a look at the examples of what students of various profiles may face:
- English Composition – English coursework is an extended essay in most cases. A student has a right to pick the topic. The tutors provide their students with the list of recommended titles to choose from, sources to observe & analyze, and a format (e.g., a comparison between different relevant articles)
- Sciences – coursework for science is a complicated assignment. Such type of work appears in the form of a scientific paper to test what a writer investigates and reports independently.
- Geography – geography coursework is about collecting, reporting, and explaining information to reply to a certain geographical question or offer solutions to the problem. One idea is to explore the usage of a shopping mall or analyze the recent tornado.
No matter whether you have to prepare a coursework Columbia or such paper for other educational institutions, keep in mind these differences!
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Types of Coursework Explained
English Language coursework is the most common type of this assignment. At advanced GCE level, the student will be expected to write a couple of essays, totaling 3,000 words. Every assignment is 20 marks maximum.
An analytical essay: Evaluate, compare, & contrast 3 different sources of data interconnected by a common theme; written /spoken / multimedia content. Discuss different uses for targeting various audiences. Learn more on our blog.
Original essay with a supportive commentary: A student will have to come up with a single piece of media writing in the observed modes (written, spoken, or multimodal). Add a supporting piece with details about the aspects of English language.
English Language & Literature coursework is a bit different. The basic requirements are the same, and the parts are:
An analytical study: Sharing an analysis of the chosen piece and its relation to the related content. It will show how well the writer understands the original piece. Tutors grade such works based on the:
- Use of the proper terminology and the coherence of the written words;
- Understanding & evaluation of the way a structure, form, and language create the written & spoken word;
- Opportunity to observe relationships between various pieces of writing.
Creative writing & commentary: Produce a creative piece that imitates the style of the assessed text. Share comments to backup your understanding. The goal is to show the knowledge, prove the competence, and use appropriate language skills in communicating with the target audience.
You will also need a relevant coursework resume (review) in both cases. Keep on reading to learn how to write coursework of A level.
How to Write a Coursework: Guide for Students
Several factors may lead to the coursework being disqualified. It is a serious matter! The risk factors include:
- Plagiarism – it is the worst thing that could happen to any type of academic assignment. Lots of relevant information is available on the world wide web today, and the tutors are strict about the issue of plagiarism. Write everything in your own words! If you decide to insert the quotes from the sources, apply the suggested citation format and develop a list of references. Sign the declaration claiming it is your original project.
- Word count – do not ignore the specific requirements concerning the length of the coursework. Specify if the footnotes, appendices, & references are included in the word count.
- Topics – go through the list of available themes. If there is an examination planned on the specific topic, try to pick another idea for the coursework.
- Tutor’s assistance – do not ignore the help of your instructor, ask them to provide guidance on what to write. Ask the questions to learn more details, but keep in mind they can go through the 1st draft once and just offer some general recommendations.
Choosing a Topic for Your Project
Dedicate enough time to this extra important question. Select the field of your interest if it is possible to relate it to the course. That is the golden rule of choosing a coursework topic – keep in mind the rest of the hints:
- Analyze the offered list of topics or develop yours
- Pick a topic from the area of your expertise related to the studied subject
- Select the topic you are interested in
- Choose the topic you’ve started to observe in the past
- Check how much relevant, up-to-date information is available on the Internet about each of the topics
- Pick what you can measure, change, & control (they call it a ‘fair test’)
- Use the ideas of previous researchers and students
- Do not choose a topic with a vast scope – you risk struggling to research it correctly
10 Good Coursework Topics
- Non-traditional Forms of Poetry with TC Tolbert
- Documentary Foundations: Usage of Oral Histories with Beth Alvarado
- Traditional Forms of Poetry
- Hermit Crabs: Type of Fiction
- Writing the Autobiographical Poem
- Creative Non-Fiction on the Examples of New Journalists
- Authors without Borders
- Writing the Sticky Stuff
- Socially Engaged Literary Arts
- Common Vocabulary
Research & Data Collection
Research is an integral part of coursework. Have you written research papers before? If yes, you will find it easier to select proper primary & secondary sources and gather the necessary information (evidence to support the main point – thesis). Depending on the required paper format, cite & reference the following sources:
- Books & e-Books
Base the project on a specific hypothesis. The research must start with minimum one hypothesis. The research stage for some topics may consist of visiting websites to collect information. Leave another time for collecting the data as it is the heart of the research.
Three methods of data collection are known:
- Direct personal investigation: The one an author does individually (using literature and findings from previous studies);
- Interview/Questionnaire: The researcher should gather the data from the respondents asking questions regarding required data;
- Discussion with community leaders: Community leaders are approached to fetch information for the necessary data.
In case a student works on a scientific experiment, they should pay attention to planning the analysis with the help of rigorous scientific methods (keeping in mind the Health & Safety precautions you take). Review background information and theories. Take notes to express what you expect to occur to compare & contrast it to what happened in real life. In the write-up stage, one has to evaluate and present the findings.
Writing a Coursework Outline
The writing process follows the research. Do not start it without preparing an action plan and scheduling the work – a paper pin for English coursework is based on an extended essay. An outline will look different for the science coursework projects. The goal of creating a plan is to prevent a writer from being disorganized and waffling.
Let us explain coursework outline on the specific example – a project on the global pursuit of lower costs and the role of human rights.
Start with the brief introduction explaining why it might be a topic of interest for many people. Mention those vast corporations like Wal-Mart abuse human rights by choosing and using child labor in the factories.
Provide an overview of the problem. Define human rights and costs. Pick the definitions from the official dictionaries and cite them properly when inserting in the text. Try to explain the terms in your own words.
Develop a body of the coursework, start with the case for & against ethical business practices. Using evidence and examples, list the arguments supporting ethical business practices and another side of the coin. Include a business case for ethical practices after the opening body paragraph.
Move to discussing ethical responsibilities; explain why business organizations should care about the ethical aspects of their activities.
After three sections of the body, one can conclude the paper. It can be a good idea to share a fact or statistics stressing the importance of research problem in the essay’s conclusion.
End up with the reference list that may look this way:
Supporting materials and pictures are a must! The sciences & geography projects require tables, charts, graphs, and other types of images to illustrate the complicated topic. Not only should you add the pictures – it is essential to interpret and reference each of them.
A separate part of the coursework where the student list and explains every visual element is Appendix, and it is an optional part. The presence of appendix increases the chances to earn an A+.
How to Write an Introduction for Coursework?
Most of the students underestimate the role of introduction & conclusion when it comes to writing an essay. An eye-catchy introduction is a key to success. The primary purposes of a coursework introduction are:
- To grab the reader’s attention
- To introduce the topic
- To explain the research importance
- To come up with a compelling thesis statement
The opening paragraph shows the depth of the writer’s acquaintance with the topic. Look at the expert tips below. They will help to learn how to write a coursework introduction to make the tutor want to read your entire paper.
What Is an Introduction?
The introduction of GCSE coursework is the opening paragraph that aims to interpret the central questions and purposes of the entire paper. It should have several elements to be effective. Those are:
- A hook sentence
- Background information
- Problem significance
- Solid thesis statement
Advice from our Experienced Writer
How to write an introduction to coursework? The quality of this part predetermines paper’s success. Look at some common mistakes writers do while working on the coursework introduction – try to prevent them!
Ignoring the prompt. Many students tend to neglect the tutor’s instructions. It is critical to read the prompt several times, highlight the main points, research question, rules, and grading rubric details.
Missing a plan. The prompt does not always say to develop a coursework outline. Without a plan for every separate section, it is impossible to write a flawless piece step-by-step. No matter whether you have to write a term paper, research paper, dissertation, or C3 coursework, get ready with the detailed plan. Once you understand how to write an introduction, it will be easier to develop the rest of the paper.