Ritically discuss whether climate change requires local or global solutions.

Structuring your essay

An essay consists of three main sections.

i?? Introduction
i?? Main body
i?? Conclusion

The function of each section of the essay is outlined below.

1. Essay Structure

1.1 Introduction
Your introduction has two main functions.
i?? It serves to introduce the reader to the topic of the essay and provide some general background information.
i?? It should also indicate the focus of the essay and act as a set of signposts for the reader
1.2 Main body
The main body of your essay will consist of a series of paragraphs. Each paragraph will develop one key point you wish to make about the topic. The basic structure of a paragraph is outlined below:
i?? Paragraphs
i?? Topic sentence
This sentence introduces the topic of the paragraph i?? literally what this paragraph is about.

The other sentences develop the topic sentence.
i?? Each one adds further information to support the topic sentence.
i?? Remember to include evidence, analysis and commentary
i?? Concluding sentence/link to next point/paragraph

There is no correct length to a paragraph. However, as a rule of thumb, if the paragraph is too short it is probably not fully developed. If a paragraph is too long, you have probably merged a number of paragraphs together or started to waffle.
1.3 Conclusion
Your concluding paragraph should:
i?? Summarise the main points of your essay
i?? Provide some closing comment on the essay topic

Avoid introducing new material in the conclusion.

Producing an essay outline plan
Before writing the first draft of your essay it is useful to draw up an outline plan. This will give you a basic overview of what each section of the essay will focus on. It will help you to think about the order you will put your material in and how you will develop each paragraph.

Below is an example outline plan for an essay about Maslowi??s Hierarchy of Needs.

2. Outline plan


i?? Essay topic
i?? Focus of the essay

Main body
i?? Paragraph 1
i?? Topic of this paragraph
i?? Supporting point
i?? Supporting point
i?? Closing sentence

i?? Paragraph 2/3/4 etc
i?? Topic of this paragraph
i?? Supporting point
i?? Supporting point
i?? Closing sentence

i?? Conclusion
i?? Sum up/recap key points
i?? Final/closing comment


i?? Maslowi??s Hierarchy of Needs
i?? Limitations of this hierarchy

Main body
i?? Para 1
i?? Background to Hierarchy
i?? Maslow quote (p75)
i?? Analysis of this quote
i?? Unquestioning acceptance of the hierarchy in workplace/school
i?? Para 2
i?? Maslow in workplace
i?? Ref to Smith (1985)
i?? Develop Smithi??s point
i?? Also valid in schools
i?? Para 3
i?? Maslow in education
i?? Ref to Jones (1995)
i?? Limitations of Jonesi?? point
i?? Although still valid especially re: Eurocentric focus
i?? Conclusion
i?? Summary of limitations
i?? Need for new approach

Remember: in the outline plan you are not writing the actual essay, all you need to do is bullet point the key information.

The Learning Development Centre run a series of academic writing related workshop throughout the year. We can also offer you a personalised one-to-one tutorial or a small group tutor