Religious Studies: Essay writing

This guide is designed to support study in religion.

How the Library can help you write your essay

Emile has to write a major essay on new religious movements in Australia and their social impact.  He has a strong interest in religion, and thinks he may study Honours in the area, so he needs to produce a well-written piece of work.

He has seen a few worthwhile references on his online reading list, but wants to find more books and some recent journal articles. He has found some things on Google, but he’s not sure if they are suitable; besides there are millions of hits on this topic and he doesn’t know how to hone in on the most appropriate academic and scholarly references.

His friend Pierre has encouraged him to go to the Library and ask for help, but Emile is keen first to do some searching himself using the Religion Library Guide. Emile decides to use the Dictionaries & Encyclopedias tab to find specialist dictionaries and encyclopedias to give him definitions and an overview of the topic. He then uses Search to look for resources on the topic.

Many of the resulting results from a broad search on 'Religion and Australia' did not have a 'sociological perspective' and he has been told by his tutor that this is important. Some are also very out of date. He uses the date and topic limits on the left of the search results to narrow down his search to more relevant resources. He notices he can limit to type of material eg books or journal articles. Some of the books Emile would like to read are on loan already , others are only available at another campus. Emile places a request for these items, which he will pick up from the library when he receives an email. A day or two after placing the request Emile discovers that he can go to drop in sessions where a Librarian will help him find relevant resources, and he notes the details for future reference.

He has some websites that he's also interested in citing in his essay, but doesn’t know how to reference them (he doesn't want to plagiarise). There are guides in the Library’s citing and referencing tutorial which are helpful, and he can follow the suggested style guide recommended by his tutor.

Emile now has lots of valuable references, but is feeling a bit overwhelmed about how he is going to summarise and synthesise the information into an interesting, relevant essay. He finds out that, again, he can make use of the Library's drop in sessions with a learning skills adviser to help him through this process. He can also attend classes or use ask.monash to ask someone about how to research and write essays.

Assignment writing guides, classes and online tutorials

Books to read

Writing successful essays

Refer to the History Department's Essay Writing Guide for help with presentation and structure.

Assignment writing