How to Structure an Essay

Structuring your paper as expected gives you the chance to explore all the necessary areas to be covered. Essay structure is a step-by-step plan that gives you the areas to cover while writing your academic paper. These steps are listed below.

  1. Introduction

The introduction is where you provide a routemap for the reader and make clear how your argument will develop. One effective approach is to outline the main issues that you seek to address in your essay. It may also be appropriate to explain how you interpret the question. In size, the introduction should generally be no more than 10% of the essay.

  1. Main Body

It is up to you to decide on the best way to organize your essay. Whatever you decide, make sure you adopt a systematic or logical approach that is transparent to your readers. Keep them informed about the steps in your exposition (the presentation of your viewpoint). You are not writing a mystery or thriller, so do not leave the reader in suspense until the end; make your argument explicit and make sure every paragraph in the main body of your essay links to the ones before and after it. If it helps – and if it is appropriate – you could divide your essay into sections and subsections, giving each section a subheading or summary in a few words; you can always remove subheadings afterwards

  1. Conclusion

The conclusion is where you remind the reader of what you have done – the main issues you have addressed and what you have argued. The conclusion should contain no new material. Your conclusions should be clear, leaving the reader in no doubt as to what you think; you should also explain why your conclusions are important and significant. It  may also be a good idea to link your final sentence to the question contained in the title. In size, the conclusion should be no more than 10% of the essay.

  1. References

Appended to your essay should be a list of all the sources you have referred to (a reference list) and/or a list of all of the sources you have consulted but not referred to within the essay (a bibliography). Thus, always ensure that you use the right references in your paper. There are different reference styles that are used in academic papers. They include APA, MLA, HARVARD, CHICAGO, TURABIAN, OSCOLA, IEEE. These will be covered in one of my next posts.


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