I​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​n your introduction (c. 300 words), briefly explain the focus of your essay, in terms of the concepts, theories, and examples you will be using, and the general thread of your argument. 

It can also be useful to explain why the essay question is an important question to ask. In your conclusion (c. 500 words), briefly synthesise what you have discussed (rather than merely repeat it), identify any key conclusions and identify areas for further work e.g. future areas for research and theory, and/or policy and practice. It is much easier to write the introduction and conclusion at the end, once you have written the rest of the essay.

 Q. What does ‘critically discuss’ mean? It means that you must go beyond description, and engage in debate. It also means that you must ensure that most of the content is expla​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​ining, applying and analysing theories and concepts, rather than describing case studies, as that is where you will pick up higher-level marks in the markscheme. 

Q: How many references do I need? 

This is very difficult to answer, as it is not so much the number of references, but how effectively you use them. However, here are some tips: – Always support your arguments and claims with references –