The second post of the Lucy Does Law Essay Guide! If you want to see last weeks post all about planning the essay, click here!
Now, here’s my step by step process to finalising the essay so that it’s ripe for submission.
1 – Reference As You Go Along
I cannot even tell you how much time this will save you when it comes to finishing your essay! As you go along, make sure to be adding in those footnotes when you need to – I can almost guarantee that if you try and do this at the end, you’re bound to miss something.
I don’t reference in full when I do this, as in OSCOLA for example, there are ‘ibid’ and ‘n’ references that negate the use of the sources title, but if sources get added in along the way and change your footnote order – these will all be referring to the wrong sources and it all suddenly gets very complicated to sort out!
TOP TIP: Just write the title/name of the source in the footnotes and do all the fancy shortening bits at Step 4!
2 – Print & Pen
This is SUCH a good way to read over your essay. I find it way easier to spot mistakes when I’ve printed it off to read in front of me, rather than on the same screen that I’ve been typing on for what feels like ages.
I grab a coloured biro and go crazy with annotations. Spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, sentences that need re-writing – you name it, this method will help you spot it. Once all your annotations are done, go back to your typed draft and change everything that needs changing.
TOP TIP: Tick off the annotations as you go along to make sure you get everything!
3 – Leave & Come Back
Don’t just rush into submitting the essay (unless the deadline is 10 minutes away). Park it to one side and leave it for a day if you can, or a few hours at least to just give yourself a break from it. Returning to the essay with fresh eyes will make you see things in a different light, and could allow you to spot something key.
I print the essay out again at this stage, just because a paper copy really works with me to spot mistakes!
4 – Finalise Referencing
Once you are entirely happy with your draft and you’re 100% sure you’re not going to change another word – finalise your referencing.
There are many ways to reference, and I’m sure you’ll be asked to implement a specific type, so now’s the chance to cite the sources fully and use any shortening methods that are required.