Planning will help you organise your thoughts, decide what you want to include in an assignment and where that information belongs. Good planning will help you make sure you answer the brief and communicate your message clearly to your reader. Plans are never perfect. You may realise some ideas need to be further developed, or others removed. Be prepared to update and change your plan as you write.
Example Essay Plan
Below is an example of a short essay plan on the topic: Evaluate the effectiveness of cats as therapy animals.
The plan is made of short sentences
All ideas relate clearly to the question
References are included
Section 3 adds balance to the argument
The conclusion restates the main arguments and summarises the most important evidence
Definition:Therapy Animal (Houser, 2000)
Context:History and rise of therapy animals (Main, 2012) Study of cats (Riaz, 2014)
Argument: Cats CAN be effective therapy animals because they have some traits that other animals do not possess
1: Benefits of cats as therapy animals Cats found to reduce stress and anxiety Jones and Patel (2015) found that weekly exposure to a therapy cat reduced anxiety among teenage patients – same result as medicine TechGiant's (2017) California headquarters began trialling therapy cats to reduce stress at work – initial reports from employees are positive, showing an increase in productivity
2: Benefits of cats as therapy animals Cats found to be especially beneficial in therapies for children Stephenson et al. (2012) found that completing homework in the presence of a therapy cat helped improve focus and attention in children Ballard and Price (2014) found that therapy cats helped improve the socialisation skills of children Both studies reported cats being more effective than dogs.
3: Drawbacks of cats as therapy animals Pets as Therapy (website) state that fewer cats are suited to be therapy animals than dogs – many cats are rejected from the training programme. The Society for Companion Animal Studies (website) state that dogs can be trained to deliver assistance for specialist purposes, such as promoting literacy. Cats typically cannot.
Conclusion The evidence shows that cats CAN be effective therapy animals because they reduce stress and support children The studies show that cats were more effective in supporting children than some dogs – this makes them unique among therapy animals Research on therapy animals shows consistent, positive results – more research on cats is needed
Responding to the assignment title
Whatever your assignment, you must make sure that you respond to the task clearly. Open and examine this student's plan on the same topic as the plan above, thinking about how well the plan responds to the question.