Quality of any essay
The quality of any essay (essay) depends on three interrelated components:
the source material that you are going to use (notes of the literature you have read, lectures, recordings of the results of discussions, your own thoughts and accumulated experience on the problem)
the quality of the processing of the available papers review (its organization, argumentation, and arguments);
argumentation (how accurately it correlates with the problems raised in your essay).
Taking notes, especially in reading, is a strategic intellectual skill and discipline (not the mechanical process of writing a summary). Why?
In outlining, you pay attention (after making a decision) to those points that are key (both a theoretical or general argument, and an empirical argument or case study of a particular issue).
As you outline, you select relevant material and develop your understanding of theoretical points and/or empirical arguments (i.e., what kinds of facts either support or refute a particular point).
It should be noted that when you read some kingessays, you take more notes than others because they will be useful to you in future work or are more relevant to the problem you are interested in and/or are more interesting and/or more informative from a theoretical or empirical point of view. You then divide the material you read into those of greater and lesser interest to you for the reasons given above.
We suggest the following method of outlining: divide your notebook into two columns. In the left column you make an outline of the material you are reading, and in the right column (at the same time or later) you make a comparative analysis of the content of this outline with other facts you have previously read about, heard about (in lectures), discussed (in classes - tutorials - or informally), and with your own comments and criticisms of the text you are reading. In other words, you use your notes to construct a cross-reference based on your own thoughts, language, data, and also including your own comments on the statements of others.
What to read? How much to read?
There is a certain notional relationship between the quality and quantity of reading material: how you read and how much you read. In general, it is better to read less but better than to read more and worse. For the latter leads to misunderstanding, misjudgment, and destruction of the connection between the argument and the facts.
This means that a very important point is the choice of reading material: for each particular topic, you should first read two or three key articles or book chapters, 8 which, for example, provide a clear conceptual framework or theoretical argument, and/or provide comprehensive empirical data (and, as much as possible, the latest data), and/or review and evaluate a wide range of literature on the topic. This strategic reading will begin to form some key reference points on the topic (including various interpretations and discussions) that will serve as some foundation for the direction and development of your future reading. [Course syllabus and faculty advisement will help you in finding material for your subject reading].
Depending on the topic, it is very important to include one or two case studies with opposing points of view in your reading list. Effective use of case studies and data will help you avoid the typical mistake of overgeneralizing material in your essay (see below).