Guidelines on the Structure of a Paper

Structure of a Paper

To write a really good grade-A essay, you need to know the basic standards of its perfect structure. Our paper writing service online provides valuable tips on the proper organization of academic essays that can help you excel in class. We offer guidelines on the main components of a standard paper and other possible structural elements that may depend on the topic as well as the type of a specific assignment.

The Basic Structure

As the golden rule of academic writing suggests, every paper, even the shortest essay, should consist of three inevitable constituents: 

  • Introduction
  • Main body
  • Conclusion

Apart from them, some papers may also require an outline, a table of content, an abstract, a summary, and appendices. Professor’s detailed instructions will generally guide you on what components to include in the assignment. However, you should know that every part of the paper must have a well-defined purpose. They should be properly formatted, coherent, and logically interlinked.

Introduction

Introduction creates the first impression of the essay. It is normally one paragraph in length and should not occupy more than 10% of the overall paper. Start your introductory section with a powerful hook to grab the reader’s attention right away. It may be a question, a quote, or some interesting but little-known fact related to the topic. Instead of a detailed discussion, the introductory paragraph should contain general background information on the issue, which gradually leads to the thesis statement. It must be concise and specific, fulfilling its main purpose of introducing the topic.

A thesis statement is the main argument that you will defend further. This sentence (or two) at the end of the introduction serves as a road map for the entire essay. The whole discussion in the main body should revolve around your thesis statement.

Main Body

The main body is the core of your discussion. It may take only one paragraph in simple one-page essays or several sections in complicated research papers. However, each point discussed in the main body must support the argument presented in the thesis statement. Every paragraph should be focused on one narrow idea and have a standard structure. Moreover, each of them must be logically connected with the previous and following paragraphs.

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As has already been mentioned, each paragraph must follow a standard structure. It must be at least three sentences in length and contain the following elements:

  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting evidence
  • Concluding observation

A paragraph normally starts with a topic sentence. It presents the controlling idea and defines the discussion of the entire paragraph. Instead of simply announcing the core idea, a topic sentence should connect it to the main topic and stress its relevance to the thesis statement. Everything discussed further in the paragraph must support this idea and strictly revolve around it.

Supporting evidence serves as a backup or proof of the claim stated in the topic sentence and develops it further. Each thought or opinion presented as evidence must be supported with a citation from a reputable source. Furthermore, it must be followed by the writer’s own analysis to show how it supports the core idea of the paragraph.

A concluding observation is a final statement that sums up everything discussed in the paragraph. However, it does not merely state or repeats the topic sentence. A good concluding observation should analyze the provided information and show its importance as connected to the topic of the essay.

An important point to remember is that a topic sentence and a concluding observation in one paragraph must be in agreement with each other. They must be specific and clear. The main idea of the paragraph must be clearly understood after reading the topic sentence and the concluding observation only and skipping everything else. Similarly, the idea of the entire paper must be understood after reading only the introductory and the concluding paragraph.

Conclusion

The conclusion is a logical end of the discussion. It sums up the main idea by restating the thesis statement. A good concluding paragraph must remind the main points from the body without repeating them, show the importance of everything said above, and leave the reader with the afterthought. No new ideas or citations must be present in the conclusion. It is a closing statement with a “therefore” element that provokes thinking and provides a powerful final impression.

Summing Up

Overall, to write a good essay, you must know how to properly organize it. A standard structure consists of an introduction, at least one body paragraph, and a conclusion. Every paragraph should start with a topic sentence and end with a concluding observation that analyzes supporting evidence provided in its body. Moreover, each of them must be focused on one idea and related to the thesis statement presented in the introduction. Depending on the complexity of the assignment or the specificity of the paper type, your instructor may ask to include some other components not discussed in this article. Nevertheless, the knowledge of the basic constituents will help you to produce a well-organized paper that deserves an “A”. 

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