Example of a Well Structured Essay

Topics: Shyness, Philip Zimbardo, Writing Pages: 5 (1501 words) Published: August 25, 2009
Example of a well structured essay. The content isn’t that exiting and the conclusion is quite weak, but there are many good points to make on the way the essay is structured and the way the information is put across. All my comments are highlighted thus.

A good introduction.
Does the job of clearly defining the topic covered in the essay and the specific aspects which will be discussed. See in particular last sentence of introduction. ( We will be looking at the structure of introductions more specifically in another class. )

Grabs reader’s attention by including stats and a quote.

If you suffer from shyness, you are not alone, for shyness is a universal phenomenon. According to recent research, “close to 50 percent of the general population report that they currently experience some degree of shyness in their lives. In addition, close to 80 percent of people report having felt shy at some point in their lives” (Payne, 2000, p.5). As shyness is so prevalent in the world, it is not surprising that social scientists are learning more about its causes. They have found that shyness in an individual can result from both biological and environmental factors.
This is the thesis statement of the essay. It is the most specific sentence of the intro and indicates clearly what will be covered in the essay, and in what way it will be covered. This may be too detailed for this session and will be covered in session on paragraphs etc..

Body paragraphs are coherent and only deal with one aspect of the main topic. Paragraph 1 – covers the genetic causes of shyness
Points are well supported by quotes

Recent research reveals that some individuals are genetically predisposed to shyness. In other words, some people are born shy. Researches say that between 15 and 20 percent of newborn babies show signs of shyness: they are quieter and more vigilant. Researchers have identified physiological differences between sociable and shy babies that show up as early as two months. In one study, two-month-olds who were later identified as shy children reacted with sign of stress to stimuli such as moving mobiles and tape recordings of human voices: increased heart rates, jerky movements of arms and legs and excessive crying. Further evidence of the genetic basis of shyness is the fact that parents and grandparents of shy children more often say that they were shy as children than parents and grandparents of non-shy children (Henderson and Zimbardo, 2005).

Paragraph 2
Not really a full paragraph, but it acts as a transition paragraph to move the reader from the genetic causes of shyness to the environmental causes. However, environment can, at least in some cases, triumph over biology. A shy child may lose much of his or her shyness. On the other hand, many people who were not shy as children may become shy adults, a fact that points to environmental or experiential causes.

Paragraph 3 Covers first environmental cause

The first environmental cause of shyness may be a child’s home and family life. Children who grew up with a difficult relationship with parents or a dominating older sibling are more likely to be inhibited in social interactions. Another factor is the fact that today’s children are growing up in smaller and smaller families, with fewer and fewer relatives living nearby. Growing up in single-parent homes or in homes in which both parents work full time, children may not have the socialising experience of frequent visits by neighbours and friends. Because of the lack of social skills, they may begin to feel socially inhibited, or shy, when they start school (Smith, 2002).

Paragraph 4 Covers 2nd environmental cause

A second environmental cause of shyness in an individual may be one’s culture. In a large study conducted in several nations, 40 percent of participants in the United States rated themselves as shy, compared to 57 percent in Japan and 55 percent in...

Bibliography: BENTON, P., 2004. Confessions of a shy university professor. Journal of American Psychology, 132(341), 14-16.
HENDERSON, B. and S, ZIMBARDO, 2005. A study of shyness across the world. Oxford: Macmillan.
PAYNE, A., 2005. Shyness and its prevalence in Europe today. Ph.D. thesis, Cambridge University.
SMITH, W., 2002. Surely, being shy must have positive effects. 3rd ed. New York: Great Publishing.
Please note that this bibliography is completely fictitious and is merely here to show how all essays/assignments should include a bibliography, and to give an example of how certain sources (in this case a journal article, 2 books and a thesis) are laid out according to the Harvard System. This will be covered in more details in Christina Dinsmore’s classes.
Adapted from:
OSHIMA, A. & HOGUE, A (2006) Writing Academic English”, 4th ed. New York: Pearson Education Ltd
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