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  • Introduction
  • Each is made up of one or several paragraphs.
  • The purpose of this section is to introduce the topic and why it matters, identify the specific focus of the paper, and indicate how the paper will be organized.
  • To keep from being too broad or vague, try to incorporate a keyword from your title in the first sentence.
  • For example, you might tell readers that the issue is part of an important debate or provide a statistic explaining how many people are affected.  
  • Defining your terms is particularly important if there are several possible meanings or interpretations of the term.
  • Try to frame this as a statement of your focus. This is also known as a purpose statement, thesis argument, or hypothesis.
  • The purpose of this section is to provide information and arguments that follow logically from the main point you identified in your introduction. 
  • Identify the main ideas that support and develop your paper’s main point.
  • For longer essays, you may be required to use subheadings to label your sections.
  • Point: Provide a topic sentence that identifies the topic of the paragraph.
  • Proof: Give evidence or examples that develop and explain the topic (e.g., these may come from your sources).
  • Significance: Conclude the paragraph with sentence that tells the reader how your paragraph supports the main point of your essay.
  • The purpose of this section is to summarize the main points of the essay and identify the broader significance of the topic or issue.
  • Remind the reader of the main point of your essay (without restating it word-for-word).
  • Summarize the key ideas that supported your main point. (Note: No new information or evidence should be introduced in the conclusion.) 
  • Suggest next steps, future research, or recommendations.
  • Answer the question “Why should readers care?” (implications, significance).
  • Find out what style guide you are required to follow (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago) and follow the guidelines to create a reference list (may be called a bibliography or works cited).
  • Be sure to include citations in the text when you refer to sources within your essay.
  • Cite Your Sources - University of Guelph
  • Read assignment instructions carefully and refer to them throughout the writing process.
  • e.g., describe, evaluate, analyze, explain, argue, trace, outline, synthesize, compare, contrast, critique.
  • For longer essays, you may find it helpful to work on a section at a time, approaching each section as a “mini-essay.”
  • Make sure every paragraph, example, and sentence directly supports your main point.
  • Aim for 5-8 sentences or ¾ page.
  • Visit your instructor or TA during office hours to talk about your approach to the assignment.
  • Leave yourself time to revise your essay before submitting.
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Essay structure is the overall organization of ideas in writing. It is a framework that helps students to sort out their ideas and express them clearly. A clear essay structure is essential to ensure a logical flow of arguments, which in turn, makes it easier for readers to follow the discussion.

Understanding how to structure an essay is crucial to communicate your arguments effectively. In this article, we'll guide you through various essay structure examples and offer practical tips to help you structure your essay effortlessly.

By having a good grasp of essay structure, you can improve your writing by creating essays that are both organized and captivating, leaving a lasting impact on your readers.

What Is an Essay Structure?

A structure of an essay serves as a roadmap that directs how ideas are arranged and communicated within all parts of an essay to convey a message or argument in a clear, effective manner.

In essence, an essay structure definition refers to your writing plan that generally consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion.

An introduction establishes the tone and purpose of your writing. It includes a thesis statement, which is the central idea to be explored.

The body presents evidence, analysis, and supporting details to back up the thesis statement.

Finally, the conclusion provides a summary of key points by offering a fresh perspective on the thesis presented throughout the essay.

Making sure that each section of your work is well-organized and flows smoothly is essential in creating an effective structure.

Essay Structure Purpose

The goal of essay structure is to organize and present ideas consistently. A clear and systematic essay writing structure ensures that ideas are communicated in a straightforward and engaging manner.

This holds readers’ attention and persuades them toward the intended message. Ultimately, a strong structure of an essay elevates the quality of writing by promoting clarity, conciseness, and coherence.

Basic Essay Structure: Main Parts of an Essay

Basic structure of an essay comprises three parts:

The introduction sets the stage by providing an opening statement, background information, and a thesis statement, which serves as the central argument or key point.

The body of an essay consists of multiple paragraphs that present supporting ideas or arguments, each backed up by evidence and analysis to strengthen your viewpoint.

Finally, in an essay basic structure, the conclusion summarizes main points, providing a unique outlook on your thesis statement.

These 3 parts of an essay are crucial for creating an effective work, therefore all of them will be described below.


The introduction is the first part of an essay structure designed to introduce the topic by grabbing readers’ attention. The main purpose of an introduction is to: 

Your thesis statement is where you present your central argument or key ideas. It must be concise, engaging, as well as, give readers an idea of what to expect in the essay.

Introduction is essential for creating a strong first impression by setting the stage for a successful essay. It should be in proportion to the essay length , with longer papers needing more detailed introductions.

>> Read more: How to Start an Essay Introduction

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a key argument or primary concept that an essay is built upon. It is typically presented in the introduction of an essay structure and serves as a roadmap for the rest of your writing.

A proper structure of a good essay requires a strong, concise thesis statement because it helps to stay focused and organized while presenting a clear argument to a reader. 

It is important to ensure that the thesis statement is relevant, specific, and debatable to make an essay more engaging.

All content in your essay must directly relate to your thesis statement. Every paragraph should contribute to your overall argument as well as reinforce your central idea. Extraneous information has the potential to distract your reader or undermine the impact of your essay. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that each section is closely linked to your thesis.

Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs are critical to a good essay structure as they provide the main section where you present your argument or analysis. 

To create an effective body paragraph, it's crucial to begin with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main idea or argument. The paragraph must include supporting evidence, analysis, along with explanations that add weight to the topic sentence. 

An effective body paragraph should not only be well-organized but also transition seamlessly to next paragraph. Here’s what a basic body paragraph structure should include: 

Effective essay body paragraphs should also:

While writing an essay structure, you should remember that body paragraphs are critical for developing a strong and persuasive rough draft .

Arranging your arguments in an essay requires strategic progression starting from the simplest claim to the most complex one. This means starting with the most basic, straightforward points and gradually building up to more intricate and complicated arguments. By doing this, you can guide your reader through your thought process by presenting a logical and coherent argument.

Conclusion marks the end of an essay with a summary of main points and a restatement of a thesis presented earlier.

It is a critical part in the structure of an essay as it offers closure to argument and strengthens the significance of main idea presented. Furthermore, a carefully crafted conclusion should make a strong impact on a reader by providing insights or recommendations for future research.

Your conclusion should be brief and concise. Avoid introducing new ideas or evidence that may distract from your main argument. 

Wrapping up, a conclusion is a vital component among essay parts, which summarizes all central ideas together with arguments while delivering a powerful final message to readers. You may use our Paraphrase Tool if you need to rephrase a sentence or a whole section quickly. 

>> Read more: How to Write a Conclusion For an Essay

Essay Structure Types

Essay structures refer to different organizational patterns used in writing an essay. Here are some of the most common types of  an essay structure used to convey ideas and arguments effectively:

Each essay structure has its characteristics and is suitable for specific types of essays. 

Choosing the right structure can help you convey your ideas to readers.

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Chronological Essay Structure

The chronological essay structure arranges essay parts in order of time, presenting information in a sequence it occurred. It is often used when writing about historical events or recounting personal experiences. A chronological approach is common in expository writing or narrative essay .

A template for this type of essay layout usually includes an introduction that sets the context and explains an essay's purpose. The body paragraphs then follow a logical order reflecting the chronology of all discussed events.

When using this structure type, it is essential to ensure that all events are presented logically.

Overall, the chronological essay structure is an effective way of presenting information in a clear, organized manner.

Chronological Essay Structure Template

Chronological Structure of an Essay Example

Compare and Contrast Structure

The compare and contrast essay structure is an organization technique that seeks to clarify both similarities and differences among two or more subjects.

This essay structure can be used for analyzing different types of literature, historical events, or scientific phenomena.

There are primarily two ways to organize a compare and contrast essay :

The alternating method  involves discussing similarities and differences between two subjects in a structured and concise pattern. Each paragraph focuses on a specific aspect of comparison and contrast. For example, a paragraph may discuss a parallel between two subjects, while the following paragraph may discuss a difference. 

The block method involves discussing one subject's similarities and differences before moving on to the next. 

Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.  Therefore, your choice of method depends on the specific purpose of your writing as well as your preference.

Alternating Essay Structure

The alternating essay structure is a method of organizing an essay where you compare two or more topics by alternating between them in each paragraph.

Each paragraph discusses a specific aspect or point of comparison/contrast between two topics. 

The alternating structure is useful for presenting a balanced argument by highlighting both similarities and differences between two topics being compared. 

This method helps to keep readers engaged. It allows a clear and organized presentation of ideas.

Alternating Essay Structure Template

Alternating Essay Structure Example

Block Essay Structure

The block essay structure is an effective way to organize the structure for an essay.

It presents information about a particular topic in a single block, with each block containing an individual discussion point.

This structure is ideal for comparing and contrasting two topics, making it easier for readers to understand their differences and similarities. Discussing one topic in detail before moving on to the next, or alternating between them throughout, creates a clear as well as dynamic structure.

Block Essay Structure Template

Example of a Block Essay Structure

Problems-Methods-Solutions Structure 

The problems-methods-solutions essay structure helps writers organize their thoughts into a cohesive essay. 

This format is designed to break down a problem and solution essay into three sections, each focusing on a specific element.

The first section is where you outline all issues or challenges being addressed. The second section is where you discuss various approaches or methods to address these problems. In your final section, present a solution or series of solutions to the problems identified in the Problems section. 

Using this structure, you can present a clear and concise argument while providing a well-reasoned solution.

Problems-Methods-Solutions Structure Template

Problems-Methods-Solutions Structure Example

Signposting to Clarify Essay Structure

Signposting is the process of using clear and concise language to guide readers through the structure of an essay. It will help you to structure your essay effectively by clarifying key points, arguments, and transitions between different parts of an essay. 

By using signposting, you can make your works more organized and easy to follow. Signposting also ensures that your piece has a clear structure and helps readers to understand your thought process.

Overview of an Essay

An overview serves as a summary or outline of all key points covered in your academic writing. As a part of the structure of essay writing it functions as a roadmap for readers to follow along with the structure and progression of your piece.

When starting to write an essay, it is essential to provide an overview of the structure.

An overview allows readers to understand the purpose and scope of an essay and the key arguments and evidence that will be presented. Mostly it is written in present tense.

Essay Overview Example

Transition Words

Transition words play a vital role in creating a coherent and well-structured essay, seamlessly linking different parts of the essay together by ensuring a smooth and logical flow of ideas. 

Transition words can also create a logical structure within an essay, guiding readers through the argument and making your overall message clearer.

Here is a list of some common transition words:

By using transition words effectively, you can improve the clarity and coherence of your writing, making it easier for readers to follow and understand their ideas.

Essay Structure Writing Tips

Here are a few actionable tips that will help you organize your writing.

Essay Structure Checklist

This essay structure checklist ensures that your essay is well-organized, easy to follow, and effectively communicates your main argument.

Bottom Line on Essay Structure Writing

How an essay should look is an essential aspect of effective essay writing. Different structures and methods can organize an essay logically and coherently. In addition, using an example of essay structure can help to easily create a well-structured essay.

Understanding the structure of writing an essay is essential for creating a well-organized and coherent piece of writing.Using tips and an example for essay structure, you can enhance your writing skills and produce a clear and concise essay. 

Your next steps will involve creating an outline for an essay and composing your own piece. Make sure to check our blog on how to write an essay to complete this assignment with ease.


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  •  Introduction
  • Hook your audience
  • Provide background information
  • Establish the tone and focus
  • Introduce a thesis statement.
  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting evidence
  • Smooth transitions.
  • Use strong, varied sentence structures
  • Avoid repetition
  • Include proper citations to support the evidence presented.
  • Chronological
  • Cause and effect
  • Compare and contrast
  • Problem-solution.
  • Context and background information
  • Purpose and thesis statement
  • Event or situation in chronological order
  • Supporting evidence or details
  • Next event or situation in chronological order
  • Summarize key points
  • Final reflection or insight
  • A brief overview of internet and its importance
  • Thesis statement: This essay will explore the history of internet, from its origins to its current state.
  • Early stages of internet, including its development by the US government
  • ARPANET and email development
  • Emergence of the World Wide Web as a platform for information sharing
  • Development of HTML and launch of the first web browser
  • Current state of internet, including its widespread use together with impact on society
  • The rise of social media and mobile technology
  • Recap of the history of internet and its significance
  • Discussion of potential future developments along with their implications
  • Alternating method
  • Block method.
  • Hook statement
  • Brief background information
  • Thesis statement
  • Significance
  • Restate thesis statement
  • Summarize all main points
  • Concluding thoughts or future implications
  • Hook and background information about living in a city and living in a rural area
  • Thesis statement: While both living in a city and living in a rural area have their advantages and disadvantages, the best choice for an individual depends on their lifestyle preferences and needs.
  • City offers a better access to essential services
  • Living in a rural area offers a quieter, more natural environment
  • Cities offer more job opportunities
  • Rural areas often have fewer but may offer opportunities in agriculture or natural resource industries
  • Living in a city offers more diverse leisure and entertainment options
  • Rural area offers more opportunities for outdoor activities and connection to nature
  • The decision to live in a city or rural area depends on an individual's personal preferences and needs
  • As technology advances and remote work becomes more common, the traditional city vs. rural divide may become less stark
  • A brief overview of a topic
  • Main idea and analysis
  • Contrasting idea and analysis
  • Summarize key points for Subject 1
  • Summarize key points for Subject 2
  • Final thoughts and call to action
  • The food we eat has a profound impact on our health and well-being
  • Thesis statement: While fast food is a convenient and quick option, healthy eating is essential for maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases.
  • Appeal of fast food as a quick option and variety
  • Low nutritional value
  • Perceived low cost of fast food
  • Hidden costs in terms of health consequences
  • Has all essential nutrients for good health
  • Lower availability of healthy food options in low-income areas
  • The cost is higher
  • Better option in the long run
  • While fast food is convenient and quick, it can be detrimental to our health, and it is important to make informed choices about our diets
  • By making a conscious effort to choose healthy food options, we can take control of our health and lead happier, more fulfilling lives
  • Briefly introduce the problem/topic
  • Identify the problems related to your topic
  • Use supporting evidence, examples, statistics
  • Discuss main methods or approaches used before to address the problems
  • Discuss the potential solutions or approaches
  • Summarize all main points of your essay
  • Restate your thesis statement
  • Provide final thoughts or recommendations
  • Briefly introduce the problem of climate change
  • Causes and effects of climate change
  • Thesis statement: This essay will examine the problems related to climate change, the methods used to address the issue, along with potential solutions to mitigate its effects.
  • Rising temperatures, sea-level rise, as well as extreme weather events
  • IPCC reports or NASA data
  • Kyoto Protocol, carbon taxes, and renewable energy development
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of these methods
  • Transitioning to renewable energy sources, implementing carbon capture and storage technologies, and adopting sustainable land use practices
  • Statistics on the impact of implementing proposed solutions
  • Importance and urgency of addressing climate change
  • Need for collective action and policy changes to address the issue
  • Additionally
  • Furthermore
  • In addition
  • To structure your essay in a simple and effective manner, start by understanding the three parts of an essay: introduction, body, and conclusion. Each part of essay writing serves a specific purpose and can help you organize your ideas.
  • Consider different structures of an essay, like the chronological, cause and effect, compare and contrast, and problem-solution, to choose the best fit for your topic.
  • Utilize an essay template to keep your writing structured and focused. This can include templates for each part of the essay, such as an introduction template, body paragraph template, and a conclusion template.
  • Use transitional words and phrases to connect different structures of an essay along with all parts of your writing, such as "however," "in addition," and "furthermore." This will help to create a cohesive flow of ideas throughout your essay.
  • Keep your language clear and concise, avoiding unnecessary jargon or complicated phrasing. This can help to ensure that your writing is accessible and effective.
  • Finally, review and revise your essay for clarity and coherence, paying close attention to different parts of essay writing and the structures of an essay. This will help to ensure that your essay is well-organized and effectively communicates your ideas.
  • checkbox The introduction includes a clear thesis statement that presents my essay's main argument.
  • checkbox The body paragraphs are organized logically and follow a clear and consistent structure.
  • checkbox There is a topic sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph that relates to the thesis statement.
  • checkbox The body paragraphs provide supporting evidence and examples to back up the main argument.
  • checkbox There are clear and smooth transitions between each paragraph and section.
  • checkbox The conclusion summarizes all main points of my essay and restates the thesis in a meaningful way.
  • checkbox I have proofread my essay to ensure it is free of grammar and spelling errors.
  • checkbox I have followed the essay structure format as my professor or instructor requires.
  • checkbox I have used an essay framework or template to help me organize my thoughts and ideas.
  • checkbox I have received feedback from peers, tutors, or instructors and made necessary revisions.

Essay Structure Basics

This essay examines the global impact of local wars, exploring their causes and key examples. It discusses how these conflicts can have far-reaching economic, political, and social consequences. It concludes by suggesting steps to mitigate their impact by preventing escalation into larger global conflicts. Also, it highlights the importance of understanding the connections between seemingly isolated conflicts and the broader international context.

Note that this is a general template and can be adapted to fit a specific topic.

parts of essay structure

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Essay Structure – Format, Layout & Outline With Examples

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At the heart of every essay lies a structured framework that ensures the conveyance of ideas in a coherent and logical manner. The essay structure is the backbone of academic writing , guiding readers through the essay. A well-structured essay helps convey information seamlessly and enhances the reader’s comprehension of the topic. This article will delve into the essential components of essay structure and will answer frequently asked questions about essay structure.


  • 1 Essay structure in a nutshell
  • 2 Definition: Essay structure
  • 3 Parts of the essay structure
  • 4 Essay structure examples
  • 5 Different types

Essay structure in a nutshell

An essay structure is the organized way in which the writer’s ideas are presented in writing, ensuring that the reader can follow and understand the main points easily. Think of it like a skeleton that holds and shapes the content of the essay. The parts every essay includes are the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Definition: Essay structure

Essay structure has a lot to do with the way you have presented your thoughts and logic in an academic essay . For instance, you want to ensure that you present one idea at a time, and then support them with facts to convince your readers. A good essay structure should also use an active voice and conclude with thoughts that are focused on summarizing the aforementioned ideas. Furthermore, in the concluding paragraph, let your readers know your ground based on the subject.

To write a strong essay, you need to come up with coherent ideas and use them to create a striking argument. Your essay structure should be one that lures the reader into following what you have to say closely. In this bit, we have shared valuable tips to help you learn and use the right essay structure in your next creative writing.

Imagine you’re telling a friend a story.

  • Beginning (introduction) : You set the scene. “Hey, I want to tell you about the time I went camping.”
  • Middle (body) : You give the main details and events. “First, we set up the tent. Then, at night, we heard a strange noise…”
  • End (conclusion) : You wrap up the story. “So, it turned out to be just a squirrel! But it was a memorable trip.”

The structure of nearly every single essay is simply like this:

  • Introduction : Introduce your topic.
  • Body : Explain the main points and details.
  • Conclusion : Sum up everything you’ve said.

That’s the basic essay structure!


Parts of the essay structure

As mentioned above, the essential parts of a strong essay include the introduction, body, and conclusion. Below you will find a quick overview of the basic structure of an essay along with the content of each part.


To give your essay a good introduction, you want to make it broad, but be careful not to go too broad. Moreover, this is the part in which you should share some background information related to the topic. However, you want to be careful not to start your argument just yet. Toward the end of your introduction, drop a thesis statement . This is also called the topic sentence and the most important part of your basic essay structure. Some writers also prefer throwing their thesis in the last sentence, but that relies greatly on your style of writing.

The body is the term used to refer to the paragraphs that come after the introduction but before the conclusion of the essay structure. A well-structured essay should feature multiple academic body paragraphs and include transition words . However, the overall length of the body of your academic essay is determined by the number of ideas you have to share. The details you use to back up your thoughts also have an impact on the overall length of the body of the essay structure. Make sure that you present one idea after the other, and then support them with substantial facts to convince your readers.

Your conclusion might look a bit similar to the introductory paragraph of the essay structure. In this section, make sure to restate your thesis because your readers might have lost it while reading the body. Furthermore, in the conclusion, you need to create a summary of the main points your essay touches. Do not forget to remind the readers of what you think about the entire subject in discussion of the essay structure.

Number of paragraphs

The number of paragraphs in an essay largely depends on the essay’s length, complexity, and specific requirements set by the instructor or the assignment. There is no set requirement for college essays. However, there are some general guidelines.

  • Short essays: 500 words or fewer
  • Standard college essays: 1,000 to 1,500 words
  • Long essays: 1,500 words and above

Note: Be sure to use transition words when writing your paragraphs to enhance the flow and readability of your academic essay.

Essay structure examples

Several methods exist for organizing information in an essay. Typically, your assignment will specify the style to adopt. If uncertain about the appropriate approach, it’s wise to consult your instructor. However, these are all solid essay structures. In the following, you will learn about the basics of essay structure along with templates for essays.

Chronological essay structure

A chronological essay structure is an organization method where a series of events or steps are presented in the order they occurred in time, from the earliest to the latest or vice versa. It’s particularly useful for recounting events, like historical events, narrating stories, or detailing processes.

Note: It’s crucial to provide clear transitions and explanations, so the reader can easily follow the progression and understand the significance of each step or event.

  • Introduction 1.1 Hook 1.2 Background 1.3 Thesis statement
  • Body 2.1 First Event (the earliest in time) 2.1.1 Discussion 2.1.2 Consequences 2.2 Second Event 2.2.1 Discussion 2.2.2 Consequences
  • Conclusion 3.1 Recap 3.2 Significance or impact of the topic 3.3 Closing statement (concluding thoughts or perspectives)

Topic: The development of personal computers over time.

  • Introduction 1.1 Hook: From massive room-sized machines to sleek devices that fit in our pockets, personal computers have undergone a radical transformation in just a few decades.” 1.2 Background: Brief history of early computing devices and their initial applications. 1.3 Thesis statement: “The evolution of personal computers, from their inception to the present, has not only revolutionized technology but also drastically altered our daily lives.”
  • Body 2.1 First Event (the earliest in time):** Introduction of the first personal computer. 2.1.1 Discussion: Description of the first personal computer, its creators, its design, capabilities, and its reception by the public. 2.1.2 Consequences: How the introduction of this computer paved the way for future technological developments and impacted industries. 2.2 Second Event: The graphical user interface (GUI) and the mouse. 2.2.1 Discussion: Origin of GUI, its integration into personal computers, and the invention of the mouse. 2.2.2 Consequences: The transformation of user experience, making computing more accessible and user-friendly, sparking wider adoption.
  • Conclusion 3.1 Recap: A brief overview of the main events discussed in the essay. 3.2 Significance: Reflection on how the evolution of personal computers has affected work, education, communication, and entertainment. 3.3 Closing statement: “As we witness the relentless march of technological progress, it’s vital to appreciate the humble beginnings of personal computers and recognize their profound influence on modern society.”

Problems methods solution essay structure

A problems methods solution essay structure is designed to identify an issue, present a method to address it, and then propose potential solutions. This format is particularly effective for topics that involve challenges or issues that need addressing.

  • Introduction 1.1 Introducing the problem 1.2 Background 1.3 Description of solution approach
  • Problem 2.1 Precise definition 2.2 Causes 2.3 Effects
  • Method 3.1 Previous approaches to the problem 3.2 New approach and why it’s better
  • Solution 4.1 Application of the new method to the problem 4.2 Solution after doing so
  • Conclusion 5.1 Effectiveness of solution 5.2 Description of implications 5.3 Closing statement

Topic: Plastic pollution in the oceans.

  • Introduction 1.1 Problem: “Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans is an escalating crisis.” 1.2 Background: Overview of the scale of plastic waste dumped into the ocean annually and its sources 1.3 Description: “By employing innovative waste management and biodegradable alternatives, we may start to reverse this tidal wave of pollution.”
  • Problem 2.1 Definition: “Plastic pollution refers to the accumulation of discarded plastic products in marine environments, leading to habitat destruction and harm to marine life.” 2.2 Causes: Indiscriminate disposal of plastic, lack of recycling initiatives, single-use plastic products, and ineffective waste management systems. 2.3 Effects: Entanglement and ingestion by marine animals, disruption of marine ecosystems, microplastics entering the human food chain.
  • Method 3.1 Previous approaches: Use of ocean cleanup projects, awareness campaigns, and certain bans on plastic items. 3.2 New approach: “Promoting the mass adoption of biodegradable plastics and enhancing global waste management infrastructure, offering a more holistic and sustainable solution.”
  • Solution 4.1 Launch of global initiatives promoting the use of biodegradable plastics, incentives for industries to adopt better waste practices, and establishment of international waste management standards. 4.2 Significant reduction in new plastic waste entering oceans, gradual cleanup of existing pollutants, and restoration of marine ecosystems.
  • Conclusion 5.1 Effectiveness: “Early results from regions that have adopted these methods show a 40% reduction in marine plastic waste.” 5.2 Implications: Healthier marine ecosystems, safeguarded marine species, reduced health risks for humans, and a model for addressing other environmental challenges. 5.3 Closing statement: “The battle against oceanic plastic pollution, while daunting, showcases humanity’s capacity to innovate and protect our blue planet.”

Compare-and-contrast essay structure

A compare-and-contrast essay structure is designed to evaluate the similarities and differences between two subjects. This can be a literary analysis essay that compares two texts, but it can also be an argumentative essay that compares the strengths of arguments. This structure helps readers understand and analyze the two subjects in relation to one another.

There are two primary methods of the compare-and-contrast essay structure for organizing a compare-and-contrast essay: the block method and the point-by-point method . The choice of structure often depends on the complexity of the subjects, the length of the essay, and the writer’s preference.

Point-by-point method

In this method of the essay structure, you alternate between points about the first subject and comparable points about the second subject. For example, if comparing cats and dogs, you might discuss the fur of cats, then the fur of dogs, followed by the temperament of cats, then the temperament of dogs, and so on.

  • Body 2.1 First point of comparison 2.1.1 Subject 1 2.1.2 Subject 2 2.2 Second point of comparison 2.2.1 Subject 1 2.2.2 Subject 2
  • Conclusion 3.1 Summary of arguments (synthesis) 3.2 Relevance of topic 3.3 Closing statement

The topics “traditional schooling” (subject 1) and “online learning” (subject 2) will be compared and contrasted.

  • Introduction 1.1 Hook: “In the age of technology, the blackboard, and chalk classroom finds itself competing with screens and keyboards.” 1.2 Background: Brief overview of the rise of online learning platforms and their increasing popularity recently. 1.3 Thesis statement: “While both traditional schooling and online learning offer unique educational experiences, they differ significantly in terms of interaction, flexibility, and learning environment.”
  • Body 2.1 First point of comparison: Interaction 2.1.1 Traditional schooling: Emphasizes face-to-face interactions, providing students immediate feedback and promoting social skills through group activities. 2.1.2 Online learning: Relies mostly on digital communication, which might delay feedback but also offers a wider network of international peers. 2.2 Second point of comparison: Flexibility 2.2.1 Traditional schooling: Generally follows a fixed schedule, with set times for classes, which might not cater to everyone’s personal schedule. 2.2.2 Online learning: Often allows for a self-paced learning experience, offering students the flexibility to learn at their preferred times.
  • Conclusion 3.1 Synthesis: Both traditional schooling and online learning have their merits, with the former offering a rich interactive experience and the latter granting unparalleled flexibility. 3.2 Relevance: In today’s evolving educational landscape, understanding the pros and cons of both learning methods is vital for educators, parents, and students alike. 3.3 Closing statement: “As the future of education unfolds, the blend of traditional and online methods might just be the key to fostering a holistic learning experience.”

Block method

In the block method of the essay structure, you discuss one subject in its entirety before moving on to the second subject. Using the same example, you’d first discuss cats (fur, temperament, care, etc.) and then move on to discuss dogs.

  • Body 2.1 First subject 2.1.1 Point 1 2.1.2 Point 2 2.2 Second subject 2.2.1 Point 1 (compare) 2.2.2 Point 2 (compare)
  • Conclusion 3.1 Summary of arguments (synthesis) 3.2 Importance of topic 3.3 Closing statement

The topics “living in the city” (subject 1) and “living in the countryside” (subject 2) will be compared and contrasted.

  • Introduction 1.1 Hook: “The hustle and bustle of city streets versus the serenity of open fields—where does one truly find peace?” 1.2 Background: A brief description of urban and rural living and the age-old debate about which is better. 1.3 Thesis statement: “City life and countryside living present contrasting lifestyles, each with its unique benefits and challenges.”
  • Body 2.1 First subject: Living in the city 2.1.1 Point 1: Cities offer a plethora of services, entertainment venues, shopping malls, and healthcare facilities right at one’s doorstep. 2.1.2 Point 2: City life is often characterized by its bustling nature, with people always on the move and a never-ending list of things to do. 2.2 Second subject: Living in the countryside 2.2.1 Point 1 (compare): While the countryside might lack some modern facilities, it offers residents a close connection to nature, with fresh air and open spaces. 2.2.2 Point 2 (compare): The countryside provides an escape from the rush of urban areas, with its calm, laid-back lifestyle and fewer distractions.
  • Conclusion 3.1 Synthesis: While city life offers modern conveniences and a dynamic environment, the countryside provides tranquility and a deep connection with nature. 3.2 Importance: The decision between city and countryside living can significantly impact one’s quality of life, mental health, and overall well-being. 3.3 Closing statement: “Whether amidst skyscrapers or wheat fields, true contentment lies in finding a balance between modern comforts and nature’s embrace.”

Different types

There are different types of essays. While they could take different formats, the structure remains the same. Your essay, despite its nature, must have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Other details might come in, but they should not interfere with the recommended basic essay structure.

Narrative essay

In the narrative essay , the writers communicate to the readers while sharing a real-life experience. Though this might sound straightforward, the students are usually challenged to tell a story about themselves.

Descriptive essay

A descriptive essay is more of painting a picture. It has a close relationship with the narrative essay. In this case, the writers are expected to use words to create clear, descriptive images.

Expository essay

An expository essay is an informative piece that mainly presents a well-balanced analysis of a given topic. In this case, the writer is expected to use facts, examples, and statistics to define a topic.

Persuasive essay

Persuasive essays are a tool used by writers to convince readers to agree with their perspective. Facts and logic must be used strategically in this case.

Argumentative essay

An argumentative essay is a type of writing where the author takes a stance on a particular issue and provides evidence and reasoning to support that position. The main goal is to persuade the reader to agree with the writer’s viewpoint.

What is the basic essay structure?

The general essay structure contains three main parts. These include the introduction, body, and conclusion. Using this format, you can easily write and ensure that your academic essay is perfectly organized. With this basic academic essay structure in mind, you should stick to the topic to guide your ideas and their sequence.

Why is the essay structure important?

The basic essay structure is not only crucial to the writer but also to the readers. It helps them comprehend the logic and flow of your thoughts as a writer. The main intention of the academic essay should be clearly stated in the essay introduction . The readers should get detailed information about the topic in the body of the academic essay. Summarize everything and share your thoughts with your readers in the concluding paragraph.

What are the different types of essay structures?

There are four main types of essay structures . However, the structure stays the same for the most part:

  • Expository essays, descriptive essays and narrative essays
  • Argumentative essay or persuasive essay
  • Compare and contrast essays
  • Analysis, or cause and effect essay structures

Each one of these essays will still have an introduction, followed by body paragraphs with a conclusion at the end.

How does an essay structure look at university?

While you learn about the five-paragraph essay in high school, an essay in university is a tad bit more complicated. You should always create an essay outline before you begin writing. The outline also helps you to come up with elaborate arguments. At a minimum, your essay structure should include the three main parts, namely, introduction, body, and conclusion.

How many sentences should you have in each paragraph?

There is no specification for the number of sentences you should have in each of your paragraphs. For neatness and readability, make sure that each paragraph has a maximum of four sentences. You need to ensure that every paragraph is long enough to cover everything, but also short enough to be interesting.

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  • Writing Tips

The Structure of an Academic Paper

  • 2-minute read
  • 5th January 2014

Most academic papers have a five-part structure. This can vary depending on what you are writing (a full-length dissertation or thesis will include dedicated literature review, methodology and results chapters, for example).

Nevertheless, a shorter essay will always require the following parts:

  • Introduction
  • References or bibliography

These parts can be characterized as follows:

1.    Title

The title of your paper should clearly indicate the subject matter and the argument you are going to put forward.

2.    Introduction

The introduction should outline the topic of the essay, the rationale for your research (i.e., why the topic is worth studying and your motivations for doing so) and the general structure of your argument.

3.    Main Body

This is the core of your paper. In the main body, set out each point of your argument in turn and discuss how they contribute to your overall point. Each point should be supported by evidence, such as examples, quotations or data.

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4.    Conclusion

The conclusion should be a concise review of the main points explored and your final thoughts on the matter. No new material should be introduced at this stage, but nor should you simply summarize what you have written so far.

Instead, focus on how each part of your argument contributes to your final position. Try to write something that leaves an impression on the reader.

5.    References

At the end of your document, make sure to include a list of the sources you used to write your paper. If you’re not sure, remember to check with your institution about which referencing style to use. Commonly used referencing styles include Harvard, MLA, and APA.

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Academic Writing

  • Introduction
  • Planning an Essay
  • Basic Essay Structure

Writing an Essay

  • Writing Paragraghs
  • Plagiarism This link opens in a new window

Basic academic essays have three main parts:

  • introduction

parts of essay structure

  • Video Explanation

Writing an Introduction

  • Section  One  is a neutral sentence that will engage the reader’s interest in your essay.
  • Section  Two  picks up the topic you are writing about by identifying the issues that you are going to explore.
  • Section  Three  is an indication of how the question will be answered. Give a brief outline of how you will deal with each issue, and in which order.

An introduction   generally does three things. The first section is usually a  general comment  that shows the reader why the topic is important, gets their interest, and leads them into the topic. It isn’t actually part of your argument. The next section of the introduction is the  thesis statement . This is your response to the question; your final answer. It is probably the most important part of the introduction. Finally, the last section of an introduction tells the reader what they can expect in the essay body. This is where you  briefly outline your arguments .

Here is an example of the introduction to the question - Discuss how media can influence children. Use specific examples to support your view.

Example of an introduction

Writing Body Paragraphs

  • The topic sentence  introduces  the topic of your paragraph.
  • The sentences that follow the topic sentence will  develop and support the central idea  of your topic.
  • The concluding sentence of your paragraph  restates the idea  expressed in the topic sentence.

The essay body itself is organized into paragraphs, according to your plan. Remember that each paragraph focuses on one idea, or aspect of your topic, and should contain at least 4-5 sentences so you can deal with that idea properly.

Each body paragraph has three sections. First is the  topic sentence . This lets the reader know what the paragraph is going to be about and  the main point it will make. It gives the paragraph’s point straight away. Next, come the  supporting sentences , which expand on the central idea, explaining it in more detail, exploring what it means, and of course giving the evidence and argument that back it up. This is where you use your research to support your argument. Then there is a  concluding sentence . This restates the idea in the topic sentence, to remind the reader of your main point. It also shows how that point helps answer the question.

Body paragraph example

Writing a Conclusion

  • Re-read your introduction – this information will need to be restated in your conclusion emphasizing what you have proven and how you have proven it.
  • Begin by  summarizing  your main arguments and restating your thesis ; e.g. "This essay has considered….."
  • State your general conclusions,  explaining  why these are important.
  • The final sentences should  draw together  the evidence you have presented in the body of the essay to restate your conclusion in an interesting way (use a transitional word to get you started e.g. Overall, Therefore).

The last section of an academic essay is the conclusion. The conclusion should reaffirm your answer to the question, and briefly summarize key arguments. It does not include any new points or new information.

A conclusion has three sections. First,  repeat the thesis statement . It won’t use the exact same words as in your introduction, but it will repeat the point: your overall answer to the question based on your arguments. Then set out your  general conclusions , and a short explanation of why they are important.  Finally,  draw together the question, the evidence in the essay body, and the conclusion. This way the reader knows that you have understood and answered the question. This part needs to be clear and concise.

Conclusion example

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Basic essay structure

Postgrad students taking notes and planning essay

Improve your writing

Organise your essays to demonstrate your knowledge, show your research and support your arguments

Essays are usually written in continuous, flowing, paragraphed text and don’t use section headings. This may seem unstructured at first, but good essays are carefully structured.

How your assignment content is structured is your choice. Use the basic pattern below to get started.

Essay structure

An essay consists of three basic parts:, introduction.

The essay itself usually has no section headings. Only the title page, author declaration and reference list are written as headings, along with, for example, appendices. Check any task instructions, and your course or unit handbook, for further details.

Content in assignment introductions can vary widely. In some disciplines you may need to provide a full background and context, whereas other essays may need only a little context, and others may need none.

An introduction to an essay usually has three primary purposes:

  • To set the scene
  • To tell readers what is important, and why
  • To tell the reader what the essay is going to do (signposting)

A standard introduction includes the following five elements:

  • A statement that sets out the topic and engages the reader.
  • The background and context of the topic.
  • Any important definitions, integrated into your text as appropriate.
  • An outline of the key points, topic, issues, evidence, ideas, arguments, models, theories, or other information, as appropriate. This may include distinctions or contrasts between different ideas or evidence.
  • A final sentence or two which tells the reader your focal points and aims.

You should aim to restrict your introduction to information needed for the topic and only include background and contextual information which helps the reader understand it, or sets the scene for your chosen focal points.

In most essays you will have a considerable range of options for your focus. You will be expected to demonstrate your ability to select the most relevant content to address your focal points.

There are some exceptions. For example, if an assignment brief specifically directs the essay focus or requires you to write broadly about a topic. These are relatively rare or are discipline-specific so you should check your task instructions and discipline and subject area conventions.

Below are examples of an opening statement, a summary of the selected content, and a statement at the end of the introduction which tells the reader what the essay will focus on and how it will be addressed. We've use a fictional essay.

The title of our essay is: 'Cats are better than dogs. Discuss.'

To submit this essay you also would need to add citations as appropriate.

Example of opening statements:

People have shared their lives with cats and dogs for millenia. Which is better depends partly on each animal’s characteristics and partly on the owner’s preferences.

Here is a summary of five specific topics selected for the essay, which would be covered in a little more detail in the introduction:

  • In ancient Egypt, cats were treated as sacred and were pampered companions.
  • Dogs have for centuries been used for hunting and to guard property. There are many types of working dog, and both dogs and cats are now kept purely as pets.
  • They are very different animals, with different care needs, traits and abilities.
  • It is a common perception that people are either “cat-lovers” or “dog-lovers”.
  • It is a common perception that people tend to have preferences for one, and negative beliefs about and attitudes towards, the other.

Example of closing statements at the end of the introduction:

This essay will examine both cats’ and dogs’ behaviour and abilities, the benefits of keeping them as pets, and whether people’s perceptions of their nature matches current knowledge and understanding.

Main body: paragraphs

The body of the essay should be organised into paragraphs. Each paragraph should deal with a different aspect of the issue, but they should also link in some way to those that precede and follow it. This is not an easy thing to get right, even for experienced writers, partly because there are many ways to successfully structure and use paragraphs. There is no perfect paragraph template.

The theme or topic statement

The first sentence, or sometimes two, tells the reader what the paragraph is going to cover. It may either:

  • Begin a new point or topic, or
  • Follow on from the previous paragraph, but with a different focus or go into more-specific detail. If this is the case, it should clearly link to the previous paragraph.

The last sentence

It should be clear if the point has come to an end, or if it continues in the next paragraph.

Here is a brief example of flow between two summarised paragraphs which cover the historical perspective:

It is known from hieroglyphs that the Ancient Egyptians believed that cats were sacred. They were also held in high regard, as suggested by their being found mummified and entombed with their owners (Smith, 1969). In addition, cats are portrayed aiding hunters. Therefore, they were both treated as sacred, and were used as intelligent working companions. However, today they are almost entirely owned as pets.

In contrast, dogs have not been regarded as sacred, but they have for centuries been widely used for hunting in Europe. This developed over time and eventually they became domesticated and accepted as pets. Today, they are seen as loyal, loving and protective members of the family, and are widely used as working dogs.

There is never any new information in a conclusion.

The conclusion usually does three things:

  • Reminds your readers of what the essay was meant to do.
  • Provides an answer, where possible, to the title.
  • Reminds your reader how you reached that answer.

The conclusion should usually occupy just one paragraph. It draws together all the key elements of your essay, so you do not need to repeat the fine detail unless you are highlighting something.

A conclusion to our essay about cats and dogs is given below:

Both cats and dogs have been highly-valued for millenia, are affectionate and beneficial to their owners’ wellbeing. However, they are very different animals and each is 'better' than the other regarding care needs and natural traits. Dogs need regular training and exercise but many owners do not train or exercise them enough, resulting in bad behaviour. They also need to be 'boarded' if the owner is away and to have frequent baths to prevent bad odours. In contrast, cats do not need this level of effort and care. Dogs are seen as more intelligent, loyal and attuned to human beings, whereas cats are perceived as aloof and solitary, and as only seeking affection when they want to be fed. However, recent studies have shown that cats are affectionate and loyal and more intelligent than dogs, but it is less obvious and useful. There are, for example, no 'police' or 'assistance' cats, in part because they do not have the kinds of natural instincts which make dogs easy to train. Therefore, which animal is better depends upon personal preference and whether they are required to work. Therefore, although dogs are better as working animals, cats are easier, better pets.

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Better Essays: Signposting

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Paragraphs main body of an assessment

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