Understanding the different structural elements in writing academic papers will play an integral role in achieving your academic goals. Presenting a well-structured academic paper makes it easy for professors and other readers to follow through with your argument as they navigate through the text. Besides, a well-structured paper allows you to organize your ideas logically, enhancing cohesiveness and understandability. You should also acknowledge that paper structure may contribute to the overall score for the final assessment. You should therefore understand the specific structural elements in writing as you pursue to fulfill your academic goals. This article will provide you with detailed information regarding structural elements in writing.
What are Structural Elements in Writings
There are several structures in academic writing with the most common being three-part essays and the IMRaD structure.
This type of paper structure entails dividing your essay into three distinctive parts that include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction and the conclusion parts are ideally shorter than the body. The number of paragraphs in each of the three sections depends on the length of the essay. For example, for shorter essays, one or two paragraphs would suffice for each of the sections. However, for longer essays, the sections may be several pages long. The four types of essays are:
- Narrative/ creative
An introduction plays an important role in the essay. It is the opening paragraph of the essay that introduces the reader to the topic you are going to discuss. It may also include definitions of terms that would be discussed in the essay. While writing there are some important aspects that you should consider as highlighted below.
- Capture the readers’ attention
- Clearly introduce your topic
- Focus on putting your topic in the context
- Provide the reader with background information
- Outline the aim of the essay
- Explain how you anticipate fulfilling the aim
- Include a thesis statement
- Explain to your readers why your research is interesting or necessary
You should note that the statements you include in your introduction are the ones you develop in the body and conclusion. You may write the introduction as the first or the last thing. Although beginning with the introduction may guide you in writing the entire essay, it is advisable to write it last.
The body is the main section of the essay. It may comprise several paragraphs since it should be the longest part of your paper. You may divide the body into different sections that may include sub-headings. For every sub-section in the body, you should remember to introduce it so that the reader can follow your thought process. The section is important since it is where as a researcher you become more active. You present your arguments, research, or findings in this section. Besides, you also discuss or analyze the results in the body section of the essay. In this section, it is advisable to include at least three sentences that give different claims, making your reasoning valid and adequate. You should ensure that each body paragraph discusses one idea.
The conclusion is another essential part of the essay. You revisit the thesis statement you provided in the introduction so that the reader can see how your essay sheds more light on the topic or how your essay solves the problem of the research. You should note that the conclusion is not a repetition of what you have written in the other sections of the paper. It should be like a summary of the points discussed. You should also use the conclusion section to explain to the reader whether or not you have reached the aim or solved the problem presented in the introduction, and how you did so. Most importantly, you should not introduce new materials or ideas in this section. However, you may suggest areas or new topics that should be researched or explored further.
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The IMRaD structure
The IMRaD structure comprises several sections that include:
The introduction is similar to the Three-Part Essays. Despite the structure, the introduction should encompass the aspects discussed above. What may differ in this structure is that the introduction may be longer.
The method section allows you to explain to the reader the approach you adopted in conducting your study. You will present the materials, research, and background materials in this section. Besides, you will describe the methods you used and help the reader understand how you were able to derive your results. It would also be advisable to explain the treason for adopting your chosen method.
This is the section where you report the results of your study. The most important point to note is that you do not discuss your results here, rather you report them. However, you could provide explanations for some of the results to avoid confusion or misunderstanding. Also Read – Does Expository Writing Get You Confused?
The discussion section is an important part of your paper since it is where you are the most active as a writer. It should be the most elaborate section of the entire paper. This is where you interpret and discuss the results of your study. Besides, this is the section where you compare and contrast your findings with those of the previous research. You should ensure that your discussion section allows readers to understand they can learn from your study. Besides, your discussion should bring together all the other sections of the paper to allow the reader to see and understand the connection between the parts. It will enable them to conceptualize the concepts of your paper and make sense of your research outcomes. In some papers, depending on length, the discussion section may incorporate the conclusion. In case the conclusion is in a different section, it should be similar to what was discussed above.
Other Essential Structural Elements in Writing that You Should Consider
The paragraphs in academic essays should contain the following:
- Topic/ hook sentence: Introduces the main idea and captures the readers’ attention.
- Evidence/ supporting idea: Paraphrase from a reputable source and cite.
- Evidence/ counter-argument: Paraphrase from a reputable source and cite.
- Your argument or claim: this is your standpoint or point of view.
- Linking sentence: the sentence links your argument with the concluding sentence.
- Closing sentence. Restates the topic sentence.
- All sentences should be grammatically correct.
- Sentences should be complete and make sense on their own.
- They should contain a subject, verb, and a complement if necessary.
- They should be concise and easy to understand.
- They should not be overly long to avoid punctuation errors and sentence fragmentation.