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Essay Structure Uwa

There are countless ways to stylistically complete an academic essay.  Here are some examples of how students have successfully done so, while maintaining proper academic structure.

Introduction

A proper introduction should:

  • Introduce main arguments
  • Have an attention grabbing first sentence 
  • Provide concise information about broader significance of topic
  • Lead in to the body of the essay
 

Here are three examples of introduction paragraphs.  They have been re-written several times to illustrate the difference between excellent, good and poor answers. For a close reading of the examples, click the images below.

 

Example 1Example 2Example 3

 

The Body

The body of your essay should:

  • Address one idea per paragraph
  • Support arguments with scholarly references or evidence
  • Contextualise any case studies or examples 

Style

  • Use correct punctuation and proofread your work
  • Keep writing impersonal (do not use 'I', 'we', 'me')
  • Be concise and simple 
  • Be confident ("The evidence suggests..." rather than "this could be because...")
  • Connect paragraphs so they flow and are logical
  • Introduce primary and secondary sources appropriately
  • Avoid using too many quotations or using quotes that are too long
  • Do not use contractions (you’re, they’d)
  • Do not use emotive language ("the horrific and extremely sad scene is evidence of...")

This example illustrates how to keep an essay succinct and focused, by taking the time to define the topic:

Defining a topic

The following paragraphs demonstrate how to engage with a variety of scholarly material including primary sources, scholarly theories and formal statistics:

Introducing sources

Lastly, this paragraph illustrates how to engage with opposing arguments and refute them:

Conclusion

A proper conclusion should:
  • Sum up arguments
  • Provide relevance to overall topic and unit themes
  • Not introduce new ideas 
Here are two examples of conclusion paragraphs which have been re-written several times to illustrate the difference between excellent, good and poor answers.

Example 1                                                           Example 2

 

Further information

Copyright on survival guides

These resources were developed by the STUDYSmarter team at UWA and are designed for students enrolled at UWA (whether they are in Perth, Albany, Singapore, China, Indonesia or Hong Kong). However, they are accessible by people outside our institutions and we are happy for our resources to be used as widely as possible, but we would ask that you:

  • do not amend them
  • do not remove the STUDYSmarter or UWA logos
  • give credit/reference to the STUDYSmarter team where necessary.

Survival guides

Survival Guides can help you improve your academic skills. They are available in the Barry J Marshall Library and in the STUDYSmarter Resource area (Level Two, Student Central).

  • Assignments Including lab reports, book reviews and annotated bibliographies.
  • Essays Including introductions and conclusions, developing thesis statements and arguments, and structuring essays.
  • Exams Including preparing for all types of exams.
  • Grammar and Editing Including spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Honours and Masters Including writing a proposal and a literature review.
  • Improving English Including how to improve your English reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
  • Managing time and stress Including avoiding procrastination, managing time and coping with stress.
  • Maths and Stats Including taking effective notes in lectures, solving problems and preparing for exams.
  • Presenting How to present your work to an audience with confidence.
  • Referencing Including reading effectively, paraphrasing,quoting and avoiding plagiarism.
  • Smart Study Including getting the most from tutes and lectures, working in groups and UWA Lingo.
  • Thinking and notes Including critical thinking, mind-mapping and effective notetaking.

Planning and assignment resources

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