Building essay structure is the most important activity because an essay that lacks a proper structure is not considered a good piece of writing. Students are often at a loss on how to write a well-structured essay. The reason is a lack of information and misconceptions about essay writing. Therefore, this article will tell you how to build a proper structure of an essay and what are the various components of essay writing.
What is the standard structure of an essay?
A standard essay structure has the following components:
- Main Body
Usually, it is recommended that shorter essays should have five paragraphs, i.e., one paragraph for the introduction, three body paragraphs and one conclusion paragraph. However, longer essays with a word count limit of 2500-3000 words have more than five paragraphs. A well-written essay must have several ideas distributed proportionately across the paragraphs to evaluate the topic from multiple angles. However, there should be one coherent thought throughout the essay that you will develop with the help of arguments, evidence, and examples.
How to build the correct essay structure?
Structures are built upon foundations, and without foundations, a structure cannot be erected. So, to develop a proper essay structure, you must do some groundwork. The groundwork entails the following aspects:
Step 1: Topic Identification
Topic identification is the first step in building a proper essay structure. You must select a suitable topic for your essay. If your instructor has already assigned you a topic, it is good; however, if you do not have an assigned topic, you must identify it yourself. Topic identification requires selecting an appropriate topic to spark a discussion or debate. It must not be either too broad or too narrow. You must select a topic that can open up a debate on an issue and one that can be easily managed in the given time. For example, if you select the topic Development, it is not a good topic because it is too broad. A good topic would be “Real development is human development”; this topic is capable of initiating a debate and can be managed in 2500-3000 words. Also, it is imperative to stay within the limits of the specified topic and not stray from it. Broad generalities must be avoided at all costs in essay writing.
Step 2: Brainstorming and Research
Brainstorming and research are crucial steps to creating a proper essay structure. Brainstorming entails jotting down the points and ideas that you have about the topic. For instance, if your topic is “real development is human development”, then you would brainstorm the following ideas on a piece of paper:
- Economic growth is necessary but not enough to ensure human development
- Economic growth is not an end in itself
- Disparities between the rich and poor
- Failure to transform people’s lives
- Equitable society requires human development
Brainstorming stage entails writing down every idea that comes to your mind. You can refine those ideas by doing some research on the topic. Research is integral for building a proper essay structure. You must read about the topic at hand and compile relevant information. Read contrasting views on the issue and gather facts and statistics from reliable sources. For example, if the topic is development, you must gather data from UNDP (United Nations Development Program), HDI (Human Development Index), Happiness Index etc.
Step 3: Formulate a Strong Thesis Statement
A strong thesis statement is the main pillar of a strong essay structure. A thesis statement is your stance on the issue that encapsulates the key ideas and coherently presents them. A thesis statement is a unified thought that links the multiple facets of an issue in no more than two or three sentences. Your thesis statement must be specific and initiate a debate on the issue. For instance:
Although economic development is important, real development only occurs through human development, i.e., by ensuring women empowerment, providing fundamental rights, inclusive economic growth, and sound health and education system for all.
The above-mentioned thesis statement acknowledges the importance of economic growth but takes a firm stance on human development, arguing that it is real development. The statement takes a firm stance and generates a debate on the issue.
Step 4: Create a Strong Outline
A strong outline is the skeleton of the essay structure that provides a firm footing, and a strong outline leads to a strong essay. The essay outline must delineate the points in chronological order and indicate to the reader the ensuing discussion in the essay. Here is a sample outline of the development essay:
1. Introduction: Amartya Sen’s philosophy on human development
2. An alternative perspective: Economic Development is the only real development
3. What is real development?
4. Why economic growth is not real growth?
a) Widening gap between rich and poor
b) Failure to transform people’s lives
5. How human development is real development?
a) Establishes equitable society
b) Guarantees fundamental rights
c) Enables sustainable economic growth
6. Challenges to human development
a) Political instability and corruption
b) Religious intolerance and extremism
c) Lack of infrastructure
7. Human Development can be promoted: Way Forward
a) Ensure gender equality and women empowerment
b) Invest in education and health sectors
c) Safeguard human rights
d) Inclusive socio-economic growth
e) Strengthen democratic institutions and rule of law
8. Conclusion: Human development is real development that ensures inclusive and equitable growth.
The above-mentioned outline encapsulates the key ideas of the thesis statement and expands them into several points. Each idea supports the thesis statement and provides a coherent thought pattern. Also, it indicates to the readers how the essay will be developed and concluded. It is important to keep one idea per paragraph in your essay. If you need help preparing a strong essay outline, you can always approach expert writers at Buy Essay Online.
Step 5: Writing a strong introduction
A strong introduction is the most important step to erect a firm essay structure. Once you are done with the planning stage, you must write down a strong introduction. A strong introduction informs the readers about the issue and opens up the debate. You can also include rhetorical questions in the introduction to spark the reader’s interest. Afterwards, state your thesis statement and conclude the introduction paragraph. The essay paragraphs must be between 7 to 12 lines. Also, it is imperative to write a counter perspective (as mentioned in the outline above) before delving into the main points of your thesis statement. Starting the main body discussion with a counter perspective sets your essay on the right track.
The above-mentioned groundwork is a necessary condition for building a strong essay structure. A strong thesis statement coupled with a clear outline are essential features of essay writing.