The purpose of the introduction is to make clear to the reader what the topic of discussion is, what your position on the topic is, and to give an outline of how your essay will unfold. Therefore, an introduction typically has the following features:
1) A thesis statement that answers or responds to the essay question or topic by giving your position, or stating your argument, clearly and concisely. The thesis statement tells the reader what to expect from the essay.
2) An outline that sets the sequence of arguments or issues for discussion in the body of the essay.
The purpose of the body of an essay is to support the claim made, or position taken, in the thesis statement. The body of the essay should flow directly from the introduction and be divided up into paragraphs that develop and support your thesis statement through to the conclusion.
Each paragraph should include a topic sentence that presents the main idea of the paragraph (typically the first sentence) and supporting sentences that explain and elaborate on the main idea of the paragraph. These may include examples relevant to the topic of discussion and quotes or paraphrases from other sources to back up the claim made in the topic sentence.
Each paragraph should develop one main idea at a time and be structured logically. The structure of your paragraphs will depend on the main purpose of your essay. An essay which discusses the historical development of an idea may have paragraphs which are structure chronologically, whereas an essay which is arguing a specific position may be organised into sub-arguments or reasons. If a particular sequence of discussion is outlined in the introduction, then the structure of the body should adhere to this sequence.
In some cases, diagrams, tables and charts may be useful in conveying information in a structured format. However, if you use them make sure you refer to them and discuss their meaning and usefulness for your argument.
Critical analysis and problem solving
When critically analysing a problem or issue, you need to use appropriate theory and/or research to analyse the problem or issue and to come up with solutions where relevant.
Your essay should also reflect awareness that the topic can be analysed in terms of different, sometimes conflicting theoretical frameworks.
The purpose of the conclusion is to draw the main arguments and concepts of your essay together and to show how these arguments and ideas support your essay’s thesis. Therefore, the main features of a conclusion include:
1) A summary that briefly restates the main issues or arguments covered in the body of the essay.
2) A thesis restatement that shows how the main arguments or issues discussed confirm your position.
A conclusion should not introduce any new ideas or draw conclusion that are not supported by the body of the essay.