In most cases, writing well means planning ahead. Structuring you essay in advance is thus very important part of the writing process. Think of the structure as the skeleton to which you should add flesh and blood.
When making the first outline of your essay you should ask yourself three main questions: What is your topic? What is it that you want to say about this topic? How, in what order are you going to present your thoughts on this topic? Your main guideline throughout should be clarity. Good structure will help you tremendously in making sure that your readers can understand what you mean and why you mean that.
The basic structure of every essay comprises introduction, body and conclusion.
Introduction: it shouldn’t be too long (few paragraphs at most) and should make clear what the rest of the essay is going to be about. It should contain your thesis statement, as well as the summary of your main arguments.
Body: The body of the text is where you develop your argument and realize the goal set in the introduction. The most important purpose of body is to offer proof (evidence and/or arguments) to support your thesis statement.
Body is usually divided into sections and subsections, especially in longer essays. These are in turn divided into paragraphs. Each of these smaller units of text should have a specific purpose within the whole. To avoid confusion, you should only discuss one sub idea of the thesis statement in each paragraph. Paragraphs should not be too wordy: keep them around 5 sentences long. Think about what you want to say in each and why. You should also make sure that each follows logically from the other. Without a logical path to follow throughout the essay, the reader could end up lost in it.
Conclusion: The last few paragraphs of your essay are reserved for concluding remarks on what you hope to have accomplished in the essay and why you believe you have proven your point by arguments and evidence presented. Don’t just repeat the thesis, expand on it by discussing the evidence you revealed. Don’t present any new information or ideas into the conclusion.
Example of an outline form:
– evidence for Argument 1
– evidence for Argument 2
– evidence for Argument 3
3. Refutation of opposite side (This point is necessary for argumentative type of essay)