Glossary of 'key words' for essay questions Account for

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Glossary of 'key words' for essay questions

Account for Explain the reason for or cause for something

Analyse Examine critically so as to bring out the essential elements; describe in detail; describe the various parts of something and explain how they work together, or whether they work together

Assess Decide to what extent something is true – using relevant research that considers different sides of the argument. State how far you are in agreement with the proposition in your conclusion

Compare Describe the main points of similarity and difference between two or more things

Consider View or contemplate attentively; examine, inspect, scrutinize, estimate, judge

Contrast Describe the main points of difference between two or more things

Critically Evaluate Pass judgement on (in terms of quality/value/truth/validity), looking at sources that agree with and contradict an argument. Your judgement should be backed up with a discussion of the evidence or your reasoning

Deduce Come to a conclusion about

Define Give the precise meaning or determine the essence of, possibly noting other relevant and/or contrary definitions

Demonstrate Show by giving proof of evidence or reasoning

Describe Give a detailed account of something by reference to qualities, recognizable features, or characteristic marks; give a detailed or graphic account of

Determine Conclude through examination of evidence

Discuss Investigate and debate, giving reasons for and against, possibly noting implications

Elaborate (on) Write about a statement or a quotation that is part of the question; explain the statement or quotation in more detail and then state you point of view

Elucidate Make clear through discussion

Estimate Predict through consideration of evidence

Evaluate Critically assess the worth or value of, giving your opinion; if it is 'Evaluate the validity of X', X is probably inaccurate in some way; you must explain what is wrong with X before going on to state your opinion

Examine Look carefully at, and draw conclusions; divide into parts and describe each part critically

Explain Make clear through giving an account of, providing reasons, or cause, or origin

Give an account of Give a statement of facts in sequence; a narrative of an event or thing; a report or description

Identify Point out and describe

Illustrate Explain through examples or evidence or figures or diagrams

Infer Conclude from evidence or reasoning

Interpret Critically evaluate and pass judgement on

Justify Show grounds for decisions/conclusions/opinions, and argue against likely objections

List Present a group of items in the required order without comment, unless asked for

Outline Give a short description of, drawing out the main principles or features

Prove Show that something is, or can be, true, providing strong evidence

Relate X to Y Show what the connections are; discuss the similarities and differences

Review Survey through careful examination

Show Demonstrate; give reasons and causes

State Present in a clear, brief, and concise form

Suggest Propose or recommend, and defend by showing how it could work

Summarise Give a concise account of the main principles or features of

To what extent Give a thorough assessment of the evidence in presenting an argument. Explore alternative explanations if present

Source: adapted from

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