Essay Structure

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A Guide to Essay Structure from Academic Sciences.

Essay structures in principal are fairly simple. All written assignments require you to include introductory paragraph(s) and concluding paragraph(s), and also a body which contains any number of supporting paragraphs. Longer essays will generally require the use of heading for the introduction and conclusion as well as for categories within the body, whilst shorter essays may not.

The Introduction

The introduction should begin with an overview of the broad issue at hand and narrow itself down to address the specifics of the problem which will be discussed within the essay. The introduction should be used to provide background information about the general subject, to identify the relevant issues or problems and then walk the reader step by step towards an understanding of why the specific focus of this essay is relevant to the broader subject. An introduction usually closes on a statement of focus – sometimes called a focal statement, thesis statement, purpose statement or hypothesis. This statement is designed to tell the reader the specific point which you intend to make or prove within the essay and how you intend upon doing so. These methods do not have to be specific as you will elaborate upon them later.

The Body

Your body should contain all of the information and arguments which follow on naturally from the points expressed in the statement of focus. The body is made up of a series of paragraphs. Each paragraph should begin with topic sentence which will identify the subject of the paragraph in a similar way to how the statement of focus identifies the subject of the essay. The topic of the paragraph is then developed with sentences which can include examples, details, evidence and analogies. Each paragraph should finish with a concluding sentence which ties all the information together and reminds the reader of how it relates to the focus of the essay.

The Conclusion

A conclusion, unlike an introduction, moves from specifics to generalisations. Essay conclusions often begin with a restatement of the statement of focus, summarises the main points of the supporting paragraphs and finishes with a broader conclusion regarding just how the topic relates to the general issue described within the introduction. No new information should be brought into the conclusion. All information within the conclusion should naturally follow on from information brought to the reader’s attention within the body. To introduce fresh information or evidence into the conclusion which has not been covered in the body will only serve to alienate the readers of the essay.

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