In any detailed piece of research, whether it be an internally graded essay or a piece of externally moderated coursework, you are being judged on how successfully you fulfil certain criteria. Arguably, the most important criteria that you are being assessed on, is how successfully you arrive at a judgement. In any piece of history research worth reading, you MUST find a judgement that has been soundly arrived at through a diligent comparison of evidence, a sound demonstration of historiographical debate (explained later), and the creation of an original coherent argument. All of this starts – where else – but in the introduction. Let’s break this down.

Question

What is a ‘Judgement Demand’?

Answer

We at The Coursework Club use ‘Judgement Demands’ to refer to those key terms in a question that demand a judgement from you. Without this judgement, you have soundly failed the primary objective of the question: that of judging your material.




Examples of 'Judgement Demands'


  • “To what extent…”
  • “How far…”
  • “How successful…”
  • “To what degree…”
  • “How effective…”
  • “Assess…”
  • “Evaluate…”

01 Intro 02.2 0101 Intro 02.2 02

Example 1

Examples of Questions with the Judgement Demand highlighted (Typical of AQA style):

Within the context of 1855 to 1955, to what extent was the anti-Semitism of Alexander III more severe than that of other Russian leaders?

Within the context of 1855 to 1955, to what extent was there continuity in the way successive Russian governments responded to opposition?

To what degree did Najd contribute to the social and cultural evolution of Saud controlled Arabia in 1903-2013?

Question

What now?

Answer

Now that you have identified the ‘Judgement Demands’ of the question, it is time for you to address them/it in your introduction.

Question

How do you do that?

Answer

Easy. There are two basic ways you can do this. We at The Coursework Club say that you can do this explicitly or implicitly.

Example 2


Explicitly

You can refer directly to the key terms and tackle them head on.

Within the context of 1855 to 1955, to what extent was there continuity in the way successive Russian governments responded to opposition?

The Introduction: (note: this is just a section of the larger introduction) e.g.

... In order to determine to what extent there was continuity in the way Russian governments responded to opposition during this period, it is important that an examination is undertaken of...

OR

Example 3


Implicitly

You can refer to the terms of the question with slightly more complexity and a greater level of sophistication, without sacrificing clarity. This IS a more challenging way of addressing key terms BUT, if it is done well, you will instantly differentiate your work from that of others.

Within the context of 1855 to 1955, to what extent was there continuity in the way successive Russian governments responded to opposition?

The Introduction: (note: this is just a section of the larger introduction) e.g.

...Clearly, across the one hundred year period, it is possible to trace elements of similarity in the way that both the Tsars and the 'Commissars' dealt with opponents of their regimes. Nevertheless, what is also clear is that these very same regimes practiced, often stark, divergences in their treatment of potential subversives - to the degree where developments in such things as 'surveillance' can be judged as being solely the preserve of later Russian governments. In this sense, the degree to which tactics adopted by successive governments to combat opposition 'resemble' one another, is clearly dependent upon...

You will see that, rather oddly, at no point have you actually mentioned the words, ‘to what extent’ or ‘continuity’ in this section of your introduction, despite us telling you that you need to address ALL key terms of the question!

You may think that you have not addressed this key term, but you actually have – it is just so nicely embedded in the language you have used that the entirety of the above section of the introduction is an implicit reference to the ‘Judgement Demand’, “To What extent…”. See below.

...Clearly, across the one hundred year period, it is possible to trace elements of similarity in the way that both the Tsars and the 'Commissars' dealt with opponents of their regimes. Nevertheless, what is also clear is that these very same regimes practiced, often stark, divergences in their treatment of potential subversives - to the degree where developments in such things as 'surveillance' can be judged as being solely the preserve of later Russian governments. In this sense, the degree to which tactics adopted by successive governments to combat opposition 'resemble' one another, is clearly dependent upon...


TADA!

What you have learned

This section has introduced you to the significance of one type of key term that you are bound to be asked to address in your coursework: the ‘Judgement Demand’. You have learned how to incorporate this type of key term into your introduction – the simple (explicit) way, and the more challenging (implicit) way. Now apply these skills to your work.

The next section – Key Terms Number 2 – will take you through the skills related to ‘Comparative Discussions’. Sounds complicated, right? It isn’t. Read on.

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