Essay Structure

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AIC LSU Student Resources

ESSAY WRITING
What is an essay? Structure - Introduction - Body - Conclusion - Basic Essay Structure Standard conventions (presentation) Tips Essay checklist

DISCLAIMER
Much of the information contained in this document has been taken directly or adapted from the following guidelines: Central Queensland University, Faculty of Business & Informatics 2006, Guide for students, 6th edn, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, QLD. This is available online at: http://fbi.cqu.edu.au/FCWViewer/getFile.do?id=17724

This document is not a substitute for the resources mentioned above. This LSU supplement should be read in conjunction with the guidelines mentioned above in addition to the specific course profiles.

CQU CRICOS Provider Codes: VIC - 01624D; QLD - 00219C; NSW - 01315F

What is an essay?
An essay is a piece of writing that allows you to develop ideas and arguments using a logical sequence of interrelated paragraphs. Unlike reports, essays usually do not contain any headings, lists (bullet points) or diagrams. Rather they depend on direct links from one paragraph to the next in order to gradually build the argument and justify the point of view.

Essay structure
Before beginning an essay, there are several planning steps that need to be undertaken. Do not attempt to begin writing without having first done the planning and research as you will find that your essay will have little to say and will lack organisation and structure. Academic writing requires you to develop your ideas with reference to evidence and the arguments of expert authors in the field. In an essay you need to support your opinion by discussing the opinions of experts. To find these expert opinions, you need to research. An essay is made up of four key parts: • Introduction (beginning) - This is the first paragraph (approximately 10% of the length of the essay). • Body (middle) - These paragraphs develop the main idea and provide supporting arguments and evidence. • Conclusion (end) –This is the last paragraph (approximately 10% of the length of the essay). • Reference List

Each part of the essay plays an important role in its overall effect. Note however that although an essay must have these four parts, you should not put headings for any section except the Reference List. The first and last paragraphs should automatically serve as the introduction and conclusion and therefore everything in between constitutes the body.

AIC LSU Student Resources: Essay Writing Last Updated: 26th February, 2008 Last printed 11/03/2008 9:46 AM

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Basic Essay Structure
General statements on broad topic

Introduction
(approx 10% of word count)

(Definitions of important terms) Statement of the central argument Listing of main points to be covered Topic sentence Explanation Evidence

Paragraph ⇒

(Concluding sentence)

Topic sentence Explanation
Paragraph ⇒

Evidence (Concluding sentence)

Body
(approx 80% of word count)

Topic sentence Explanation Evidence (Concluding sentence)
Paragraph ⇒

Restatement of the central argument Summary of main points covered

Conclusion
(approx 10% of word count)

Final statements

Reference List

AIC LSU Student Resources: Essay Writing Last Updated: 26th February, 2008 Last printed 11/03/2008 9:46 AM

This document is uncontrolled when printed Page 3 of 11

Introduction
The introduction begins with general statements to introduce the main topic/subject area and to set the context for the discussion. This arouses the interest of the reader and indicates why the topic is of interest in the first place. These statements are then followed by a thesis statement or statement of contention, which tells the reader what point the essay is trying to prove or what questions it is trying to answer. A thesis statement must be included when an argument is being made. A thesis statement includes your...
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