How To Write An Essay Paper: Basic Structure Hints


When you are writing an essay the basic structure you should use is contingent upon the type of essay and the type of formatting you are assigned.

A standard essay will include the following components:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion
  • Reference page

For a research paper your basic format will be longer because you will need to include different sections for the analysis of your experiment and results. That being said the paper will include the following:

  • Cover page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Reference page
  • Appendix

In any case the introduction and the conclusion are two important components that work in tandem with one another. They serve as the frame for your argument. Your goal is to present the reader with a map of where your paper will take them in the introduction. In the conclusion you want to remind them of where they went and why it was important. Your introduction and conclusion should each amount to about ten percent of the total length of the paper.

In the body of your paper it is often best to limit yourself to one argument and its supporting evidence per paragraph. So if you have three key points to make you should have three key paragraphs in the body of your paper. If you have six major arguments then you should have six paragraphs in the body of your text. It is also recommended that you have the same number of evidence or sources for each argument.

The different formats will also play some minor role in the layout of your paper. This is why it is important to ask your teacher what format they require for your essay. Some assignment details will tell you directly while others will list the requirement for every paper on the syllabus. If you cannot ascertain that information turn to your teacher and ask for clarification.

For example:

An MLA paper will list relevant details including your name and the university and date at the upper left hand corner of the page with the title following beneath it centered on the page. But an APA paper will have a separate cover page which contains the relevant title and name and university centered in the middle of the page. Then there is the abstract on the next page followed by the title and the introduction on the third page.

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