Paragraph 1 – Introduction
Your first paragraph should:
• be a general introduction. Don’t include specific points from the main body of the argument • include a response to the title. You may need to identify the issues that lie behind the title, to give historical or topical background • be interesting and relevant
Paragraph 2 – Background
Provide some of the history of the topic you are writing about.
Paragraph 3 – Your argument (at least 6/7 reasons, thus 6/7 paragraphs) These paragraphs must:
• contain one major point of the argument, stating your reason for agreeing/disagreeing with question posed. • begin with or have near its start a topic (or “signpost”) sentence (a sentence which indicates what the paragraph will be about and how it relates to the essay title). This is NOT a sub-heading! Your writing should be formal continuous prose. • be linked to the paragraph that comes before, often with a suitable conjunction or link words such as in addition, nevertheless, despite this, however. Don’t put also or for example at the start of a sentence. • contain generalised evidence of your research (e.g. statistics/expert opinion).
2nd Last Paragraph – Counter argument (1 paragraph)
• Open with “Contrary to this…” “In contrast there are those who...” “On the other hand…” • List the opposing side’s reasons but do not change your opinion. Use phrases like: some people claim… There are those who say…
A good conclusion WILL:
• be crisp and conclusive in feel, the goal of the whole essay
A good conclusion MAY:
• return to something mentioned in the first paragraph
• evaluate what has gone before
• hint at something you might have followed up had the scope of the question allowed it • Give your opinion. A discursive essay should feel as if you have weighed up the arguments and come to a conclusion at the end.
A poor conclusion will simply...