Last modified on 19 November 2014, at 11:28

Writing Better University Essays/The structure

The StructureEdit

There is a simple structure that you can follow for your essays. The details of this approach are discussed in detail in the subsequent sections. The key idea of this approach is writing in a structured manner, focusing on answering the question or problem presented by the assignment. Not only does this approach help you making sure your answer is relevant, but also will it guide your reader through your writing. There are specific parts to your essay that you should never leave out, such as an introduction and a conclusion. These and the remaining parts should be developed and based upon your answer to two primary questions: Who am I writing for, and what is my purpose? The answers to these two questions should determine what is included, what is important and what is unnecessary in your essay. Whilst the approach outlined here is very useful for general essays, bear in mind that at times your university work will take different forms. For example, if you must write a report or dictionary entry, these structures may need adapting. The key ideas presented here, however, can be applied to other forms of writing as well.

First of all, you delimit. By this I mean that in your introduction, you address the question and set the focus of the essay. You should not only state how you understand the question or problem, but also how you decide what ideas are not relevant. Next up, you’ll need to define key terms. The idea is the same as before: to demonstrate that you’re aware of different interpretations, but also making sure that your readers understand things in the same way.

The main part of your essay is where you do the actual writing. Here you follow the outline you devised during preparation, making sure that it all links to a coherent answer. Next, it’s important to discuss the implications of your answer. If you discuss strengths and weaknesses of an approach, this is where you want to evaluate them. Now you’re done, and you demonstrate this in your conclusion. The conclusion demonstrates that you have actually delivered what you promised in the introduction.

Next: Delimiting the question