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Essay Structure

Essay Structure

Essay structure means that there is a format or template for types of writing. It is a way of outlining what you will say in your assessment that keeps your writing on track and helps you organise your thoughts. It can otherwise be known as an Essay Plan.

Writing an essay plan is very useful as a lot of the hard work when it comes to assessment writing is nutting out what to say. Once you have a plan for each paragraph the actual writing can seem a lot less daunting. 

Essays have three main components. 

  • Introduction 
  • Body
  • Conclusion

Section 1. Introduction

  • Outline what you need to say. 
  • Provide a general statement. 
  • Outline your thesis statement. 
  • Identify your main points. 

Section 2. Body

The body of your paragraph is where you will provide information and evidence to support your main argument. This may include your arguments, critiques, analysis, reflections. 

Paragraph Structure

  • Topic Sentence: Summarise the main idea of the paragraph. 
  • Evidence: Support your argument with evidence and examples found from your research. 
  • Analysis: What is the significance/impact of the evidence/ examples on your idea. 
  • Concluding Sentence: Summarise the idea of the paragraph and use a linking sentence to begin the next paragraph. 

Note: If you are introducing a new idea - start a new paragraph. 

Section 3. Conclusion

The conclusion ties together the essay, it provides a summary of what has been presented. 

  • Restate the thesis 
  • Provide a summary of the main points 
  • Provide a final comment and any future recommendations/ identify any future implications. 

Note: Do NOT include any new material here. 

Use the 'Essay planning template' below to get started. 

Essay Style

Writing the Essay


Now that you have your essay plan it is important to pay attention to your writing skills. There are often a few mistakes students make when it comes to writing that you need to be aware of. 


Paraphrasing is where you change the structure and words of somebody else's work but maintain the original 'meaning'. 

  • Does not match the sentence word for word. 
  • The passage maintains and communicates the same meaning. 


  • Beware of how you paraphrase.
  • Do not just replace the words in the sentence by using synonyms and using the same structure. This is a common mistake and often these synonyms don't accurately fit the context of the piece of writing. 
  • Do not start your essay by rewriting the question in the first paragraph. 

How to Paraphrase

  • Read the source material and ensure you have a complete understanding of its core meaning. 
  • Identify any keywords and the main point of the author.
  • Rewrite the information in your own words without looking at the text. 
  • You may wish to change the grammar and sentence structure.


A quote provides evidence to support your argument using another author's authoritative voice. 

How to Quote

  • Copy and paste the exact words of the author. 
  • These should appear in quotation marks and be accompanied by an in-text citation
  • The text should be written using the exact punctuation as the original work. 
  • If the quote is long and some sections have to be removed, replace this text with an ellipsis as so (...)
  • If a quote is longer than three sentences, indent and make a new line separate from your text.

Types of Essays

Types of Essays

The Argumentative Essay

This essay is investigative, the author will present both sides of an issue/topic and argue for one that is correct. Evidence and research are provided to convince the reader and establish one viewpoint and support the author's claim. 

Critical Reflection Essay

The critical reflection essay requires the author to challenge their ideas, question their knowledge and beliefs about a topic, and identify bias.