What is an Essay Development Plan (EDP)?
(Last updated: 29 November 2018)
What is it?
One of the key upgrades we provide at Oxbridge Essays is the Essay Development Plan, or “EDP”. This carefully constructed document presents you with a critical and comprehensive overview of how the assigned academic completed your Model Essay. The best way to explain the value of the EDP is to think about it as a map; as a guide through those decisions and approaches the academic undertook during the course of researching and writing your work. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Essay Development Plan in order to help you make the best decision when placing an order with us.
How it works
When an academic completes a Model Essay, they do so by undertaking the same steps of research, reading, and writing that any other student would undertake; from selecting relevant reading materials to conducting analysis. The Essay Development Plan achieves several things.
Firstly, it explains exactly what the academic looked at. However, it also explains what they did not look at, and why. If you had ordered a Model Essay examining the development of postmodern architecture, the academic would explain how they defined the question and materials relevant to it.
The EDP would list those search terms used in databases and libraries, online and off, to gather and select appropriate materials. These terms would include items such as “architecture”, “postmodernism”, or “architectural theory”. Once they had begun the process of reading and research, those terms would become more focused, perhaps looking up specific architects or buildings, such as the Vanna House or architect Robert Venturi. This way, the academic “shows their working”, of how they approached and focused upon the question at hand. This provides a blueprint for the client to pursue when undertaking their own research, as well as evidencing different tools and techniques for drawing information out of the vast sea available online.
Secondly, the EDP would describe the frameworks and findings they came up with. For a question about economic growth, the writer would describe the major books, theories, and thinkers which define that field by summarising their key arguments. For example, by pointing out that the “convergence debate” is a key issue within the literature on growth, before pointing out how different schools of thought and thinkers have extended, agreed with, or challenged this model.
By doing this, the academic uses the EDP to summarise critically and briefly what they “found out” and how different parts of knowledge and information fit together. This helps to orient the client within the final essay, shedding light on the significance of the question and illuminating the route the academic chose to take, and why. Such a process serves to demystify the academic process.
"There's always room for improvement"
Thirdly, the EDP is a demonstration of the writer's process; it explains issues they confronted and methodological problems they had to face while working on the final brief. For example, if there were gaps in the literature or inaccessible resources, this would be highlighted by the writer. Alternatively, they may explain how particularly tricky or complex issues were overcome through taking specific approaches or further reading. This is also an opportunity to critically summarise key works and studies undertaken in the field.
To return to economic growth, the EDP would summarise studies on social or human capital; the role of foreign direct investment; and the role of financial markets in creating economic growth, and of how these different areas inform and influence one another. In this way, you can better make sense of the mass of information and theories “out there” in the academic world. Accompanied by a full bibliography, the EDP is a vital tool for launching your own academic work. For short essays, the Essay Development Plan consists of 650 words while longer essays will be comprised of 1,000 words.
The fourth function of the Essay Development Plan is to explain what was missed out. For any number of reasons, the writer would chose to include some materials and discard others. For example, the writer may not examine – to return to our architecture question from above – buildings and trends in Europe, in order to keep the essay focused on developments in the US where postmodernism in architecture first began. They would explain why they discarded studies on European architects such as James Stirling or Helmut Jahn.
Similarly, the academic may justify excluding related trends such as “Deconstructivism” because, while connected to postmodernism, it represents a different conceptual approach with distinct formal considerations. Other readings may be neglected because they were found to be too similar to other works, repeating material rather than offering new understandings. In this way, the Essay Development Plan becomes an account of what the essay is, but also what it is not. This is an extremely useful approach for clients undertaking their own work, as it helps students to gauge and understand in their own research how to keep the essay under control. The EDP shows how to chose the most appropriate materials within this.
How will it help you?
The final role of the EDP is to demonstrate how certain key aspects of the work can be further developed. By identifying key themes and sources – such as specific readings and texts – it highlights those ways in which these may be further explored, had the essay taken a different direction. It also explains why.
Ultimately, the Essay Development Plan is a product that we feel best compliments the Model Essay; when placed side-by-side, they demonstrate precisely what good writing looks like, but also how the student can produce the same level of writing and research. The Essay Development Plan is also a record used to demonstrate how an essay is actually completed, and thus functions as a kind of learning tool from which you can better understand what goes into producing high-quality academic material in your own studies.