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Supervisor comment: 'introduction; logical progression through ideas using paragraphs; conclusion'

Assessment Plus defines 'structure' as the 'formal arrangement of an essay into paragraphs.' A good essay should include clear and relevant introductory and concluding paragraphs which 'bookend' a series of linked points, developed in each paragraph from the 'topic sentence'. Both paragraphs should relate very clearly to the focus of the question and the conclusion should move beyond summary and effectively conclude a developed argument. The following activities provide an opportunity to compare three introductions and conclusions to the same question and to identify topic sentences.

Consider yourself part of the target audience for supervision essays; your personal response is valuable and you should attempt the activities before accessing the feedback. Completing these activities independently will be useful in future when you evaluate and improve on your own writing.


Further Reading:

  • Soles, D., 2005: The Academic Essay. How to plan, draft,write and revise. (2nd ed.) Studymates. Chapters 5-8 focus on each aspect of essay structure and each includes a 'tutorial' with opportunity for further practice.
  • Stott, R., Snaith, A., & Rylance, R.(Eds.), 2001: Making Your Case. A Practical Guide to Essay Writing, Harlow, Pearson Education. See Chapter 4: Paragraphs: the building blocks of essays. Literature focus. Find this in the UL
  • Creme, P. & Lea, M., 2006: Writing at University, a guide for students. (2nd ed.) OUP. See chapter 8, Putting it together, which focuses on writing introductions and conclusions and reviewing your own work.
  • Pirie, D., 1985, How to Write Critical Essays. London: Routledge See chapter 3: Planning an argument. Written pre-GCSE and focus is on literary criticism but main principles remain relevant. Addresses the abstract notion of 'style' for anyone who has received commentary on this in their feedback!