Essay Structure

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When writing an academic essay, it is important to express one’s ideas using an academic format. At this point, the student takes the informal outline which was generated and reworks these ideas into a different kind of outline, an “essay structure outline.” This will help the student organize the information into an academic format. The sample of this format you can check here and make some notes. To do this, the student completes the essay writing outline form. The instructor shows this blank essay planning form on the overhead, then continues with his/her explanation.


The essay structure outline form requires students to provide necessary information in the form of brief notes. By using this form, students are forced to organize the academic essay before actually writing the first draft. Later, students will consult these notes as they transform this information into a written draft.


Using this form, students will be required to provide information on the introduction, body and conclusion/summary of the essay. Three types of information are needed for the introduction: (1) background information, that is, general information on the topic which will lead up to the topic sentence, (2) the topic sentence, that is, a sentence which reflects the main idea of the essay, and (3) the transition, a series of sentences which lay out the organization of the body of the paper (e.g., 3 reasons for . . .).


The information contained in the informal outline simply needs to be transferred to the “body” portion of the essay structure outline form. For each major section of the body, the student will need to generate a sub-topic sentence on the essay structure outline form. Subtopic sentences are similar to the topic sentence in that they provide an over- view of the contents of the following paragraph. The subtopic sentence often includes a connective (e.g., First, Second, Finally) and reminds the reader of the intent of the essay (e.g. The first reason for . . .). The space on the form directly below each subtopic sentence is reserved for details which support the subtopic sentences. These are simply transferred from the informal outline.


In the space designated for the conclusion/summary, the student para- phrases the information which was contained in the introduction, particularly the topic sentence and the transition information. The intent is to remind the reader of the major points which were made in the body of the essay.



At this point, the instructor provides an example of a completed essay structure outline. Therefore, he/she projects an overhead transparency, a completed essay structure plan. As a reminder, the instructor should point out that the contents of the informal outline generated, is transferred to the essay structure plan outlined under the section marked “body.” Also, the instructor should point out how the example essay structure outline succeeds at providing all of the required information (i.e., background leads to the topic sentence; transition outlines the major divisions in the paper; the body elaborates upon the mayor points; conclusion/summary reminds the reader of the major ideas contained in the paper).

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