Essay Structure

Writing an academic article means fashioning a coherent set of thoughts to an argument. Because essays are essentially linear--they provide one thought at a time--they need to present their thoughts in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an article means attending to some reader's logic.

The focus of this kind of informative article calls its structure. It dictates the information readers need to know and the order in which they will need to get it. So your essay's structure is always unique to the main claim you are making. Though there are guidelines for constructing certain classic article types (e.g., comparative analysis), there are no set formula.

Answering Questions: The Components of an Essay

A typical essay includes several distinct types of information, often found in technical parts or segments. Even brief essays perform several distinct operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, finishing. Introductions and decisions have fixed areas, but other elements do not. Counterargument, for example, may appear inside a paragraph, as a free-standing section, as a portion of the beginning, or until the ending. Background material (historic circumstance or biographical information, a list of relevant criticism or theory ( the definition of a key term) often appears in the start of the essay, involving the debut and the first analytical segment, but might also appear near the start of the specific section to which it is relevant.

It is helpful to think about the various essay segments as answering a set of questions your reader may ask when encountering your thesis. (Readers should have questions. When they don't, your thesis is most probably simply an observation of reality, not an arguable claim.)

The first question to expect from a reader would be"what": What proof shows that the phenomenon explained by your thesis is true? To answer the question you need to examine your evidence, thus demonstrating the truth of your claim. This"what" or"demonstration" segment comes early in the essay, often directly after the introduction. Since you're essentially reporting what you've seen, this is the part you've got most to say about when you first begin writing. But be forewarned: it should not occupy much more than a third party (often much less) of your essay. Should it, the essay will lack balance and might read as only summary or description.

"How?" A reader will also wish to know whether the claims of the thesis are accurate in all cases. The corresponding question is"the way": How does the thesis stand up to the question of a counterargument? How can the introduction of new substance --a fresh way of studying the signs, another pair of sources--affect the claims you are making? Typically, an article will include at least one"how" section. (Call it"complication" since you're reacting to a reader's complicating questions.) This section generally comes after the"what," but remember an essay may complicate its argument several times based on its length, and that counterargument alone may seem just about everywhere in an essay.

Your reader will also need to learn what's at stake on your claim: Why does your interpretation of a phenomenon matter to anyone beside you? This question addresses the larger implications of your thesis. It helps your readers to understand your essay within a larger context. In answering"why", your composition explains its own significance. Even though you might gesture at this question in your introduction, the fullest answer to it properly belongs in your essay's end. If you leave it out, your readers will encounter your essay as incomplete --orworse, as pointless or insular.