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Having defined your aim or question and problematised it, you could also give an indication of how you will approach it. This could mean a number of things:

  • Structure: your introduction is one place where you can indicate how your essay will be organised in the main body. This could be done in a very clumsy way: "in this essay, I will firstly.... " You need not outline your structure in exhaustive detail, however, especially in a first year essay in which your supervisor might encourage you to take a looser approach in order to develop your creative responses to a text. It may be enough to hint, in the way you phrase your own interpretation of the title, at the issues you will deal with and in what order. In a longer piece such as a dissertation, you may need to be more explicit. Giving the reader a 'map' of the structure will help them to pick up more quickly on signposts in the main body of the text, as they will now have some expectations about how it will be organised.


  • Methodology: This might be the critical theory you are applying to your reading, a key term you will be using or exploring, or identifying the texts, themes, authors or time periods you will be limiting yourself to in order to focus your discussion.