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Basic Structure of an Essay – Professional Advice from Teachers

The process of writing a great paper – no matter what discipline or what topic – involves communicating well-developed critical ideas into a coherent argument a reader can easily understand. Most papers are written in a linear fashion where a single idea is presented at a time of which a reader can make sense. Structure in an essay, therefore, is extremely important. Here is some great professional advice on the basic structure of an academic writing assignment given by teachers:

Knowing the Basic Parts

Each writing assignment should include three basic parts: an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The precise number of body paragraphs depends on the length and scope of your assignment, but for these purposes we will assume you use the standard 5-paragraph format. Your intro should state your topic, provide contextual information, and give your argument statement. Each body paragraph will bring up a sub-topic which provides evidence in support of your argument statement. Trust your essay to qualified writers at My Essay Geek. Body paragraphs should also transition easily from one idea to the other, so the reader can follow along without getting confused. And finally, the conclusion will summarize and synthesize the information presented throughout, as well as give a sense of closure to the entire work.

What You Must Provide

It can be helpful to imagine the different parts of as opportunities to answer specific questions with which you are already familiar from journalistic writing: What? How? and Why? Imagine your reader wanting to know these things from the start but rather than asking them all at once he or she would do so one after the other. When a reader asks “What?” he or she is looking for some kind of evidence or example that your claim made in your thesis statement is valid. Usually this comes right after your topic sentence in each body paragraph. The next question a reader asks is “How?” when he or she wonders if your claim is true in all situations or instances. Finally, the last question a reader will ask is “Why?” when he or she wants to know what your claim has to do with the bigger picture. In other words, what stakes or implications can should be understood with what you have just described.

Developing a Road Map

In order to properly structure your academic writing assignment you must carefully examine your thesis and anticipate what the reader will want to know about it. Using all of your research materials and personal notes you should develop an outline or some other visual tool to organize your thoughts and guide your writing. Remember to keep the reader in mind when you arrange material. There is a natural way in which people think, and your reader will anticipate you communicate ideas logically. If you recall from the introduction, academic papers are largely linear by nature. Make sure you provide the appropriate information needed to understand each subsequent point of discussion.

Beware of These Signs

Finally, one of the biggest structural flaws you will see in academic writing assignments is the generic summary or walk-through of the source material. Students will simply discuss the material they’ve encountered in the research in the exact same way. Your work should be organic and well-thought so that the structure makes sense for your particular topic and thesis statement, not a structure that simply takes the source material and mirrors it exactly. Also, try to vary your transitions from one paragraph to the next. While certain terms like firstly, secondly, thirdly, and so forth can be applied without error, the terminology itself may seem a little too stale for what should be an interesting work to read.


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