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Essay Structure – Getting it Right

There are many things to think about when you begin to write your assignment: you need to answer the question, you need to make sure you’ve got the right content, and of course, that pesky referencing needs to be spot on.

But something else that is equally, if not more, essential is to any good quality academic essay is the structure. Your essay or assignment needs to follow a logical structure, with well-developed paragraphs that are clearly organized and flow on from one another in an easy-to-understand manner.

In essence, the basic structure for an essay is shaped like a diamond, and has an Introduction, Body & Conclusion.

An Introduction :

  • Introduces the topic
  • States the thesis (main point of the assignment)
  • Outlines the structure of the assignment (main point of each body paragraph / section
  • Defines the scope (limits) of the assignment

Body paragraphs can be treated as mini-essays, and should only contain a single idea or theme. Each body paragraph should have the following elements:

  • Topic sentence – States the main point of the paragraph and links it with the thesis.
  • Supporting sentences – May add information to the main point.  For example, define terms or explain concepts
  • Evidence sentences – Examples, data, statistics, quotes which back up the point.  These must be cited and referenced
  • Concluding sentence – Restates the point and provides a link to the next paragraph.

A Conclusion:

  • Paraphrases the thesis
  • Sums up the main points of the body paragraphs
  • Does not include any new material
  • Concludes strongly

While the exact layout and structure of your essay may vary depending on what type of essay you are being asked to write, the structure will generally always remain consistent. For examples of different types of essays, check out CiteWrite.

Don’t forget to visit Studywell for more information about essay structure and academic writing and if in doubt, come and ask us at the Learning & Research Desk.

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