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Academic essays imply writing arguments in a certain order. Since this type of papers implies working on one particular subject, you have to create a convenient linear structure, so that your readers could perceive information in the most simple and efficient way.
The structure of the essay must help readers to get information in the certain order, which corresponds to the need of readers for any particular fact or argument. Along with that, your essay must be tied to your main idea, which makes creating a universal formula for proper essay structure an impossible task. However, we are able to distinguish certain common features of classical essay structures, thus drawing up guidelines for writers.
Parts of an Essay
Every essay may contain quite different kinds of information, and each type is written in a certain part of the essay. For example, even shortest essays have a structure. The first part of a short essay is an introduction, followed by an analysis of data, counterarguments, and conclusions. Obviously, the introduction part is always the first section, and conclusions are the end of the essay. Other parts may be written in a different order. Counterarguments may be introduced right at the beginning, or as a particular paragraph in the body of the essay. They also may be mentioned within a paragraph which considers other issues. The same situation is with information that illustrates the background of a topic. These facts are necessary, and they can be presented either at the beginning, or within body section, if this information seems to be most relevant at this particular moment.
We suggest you to try a good approach that helps sorting information. Take a look at your arguments, and figure out, what answers can be answered with such a paragraph.
“What?”This is the first question that readers want to ask. What exactly proves your point? In turn, you have to answer such a question, analyzing your evidences, and explaining why your point is right. Usually the answer is written at the beginning of the text, right after the introduction. You have to describe your observation, and this part of the essay is of key importance. However, we suggest you to make sure that this part is not too long. Make it no longer than one-third of your text.
“How?”The next important question is why your observations are true in any conditions. It’s also important to explain why your thoughts are useful for others. How do your claims beat counterarguments? How do sources cited by you affect your line of thoughts? Usually answers on these questions are written after the “What?” part. This part is also called a complication, since it implies answering complicated questions.
“Why?” This question is about value of your essay in a wider context. Why your ideas are useful, and why your point of view is worth considering? Usually, such a question is answered within the introduction, but you don’t need to give the fullest answer at the beginning, since it would be logical to keep these thoughts for conclusions. Don’t forget about this part of the essay, since without it, you work will look unfinished, or pointless.
We suggest you to draw up the map of your essay. By doing this, you won’t create a structure for paragraphs, but it will help you predict your readers’ reaction, planning main sections of the essay. Thus, you can estimate arguments, and sort them in a proper order.
- Write your thesis; try to make it one sentence long. Then write another sentence, explaining why such a claim is important.
- Next sentence must explain which evidences prove your thesis (“What?” question).
- Write next sentences in a logical order, following each claim with evidences.