While we like to think that every paper and piece of writing is a unique little flower, they all have a general format of beginning, middle, and end. This holds true for academic papers; they require an introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs. Keep in mind this is not an exact formula, but serves as a means of organization.
Your introduction serves the function of introducing your topic, contextualizing your topic, and presenting your main argument in a thesis. It is usually one paragraph, and generally follows the ‘funnel’ effect of the topic: starting broad and becoming narrowed. Stay away from writing cliches like asking rhetorical questions or putting quotes in the introduction paragraph. While the thesis statement tells the reader what your claim is and how you arrived to it, the introduction paragraph explains why your topic is important. Here’s a typical structure:
Opening Statements: Introduce some facts and background details about your topic.
Specific Statements: Connect your background information to your thesis.
Thesis Statement: State your claim and supporting arguments.
Drafting an essay is just a game of organizing information. Each paragraph should discuss a single topic that supports your thesis statement. Paragraph structure can be flexible, but you want to maintain cohesion and make sure you discuss only a single topic per paragraph.
Topic Sentences: Start the paragraph off with a sentence or two that introduces the main idea the paragraph will cover.
Evidence: Provide personal examples or researched facts that support the topic sentence.
Elaborate: Discuss the evidence’s significance to the paragraph. Provide additional evidence or further discuss the topic until you’ve fully answered how it relates to the thesis statement or helps solve the problem introduced by your claim.
Transition: Transitions between paragraphs can be the last or first sentence of the current or next paragraph, give the reader a general sense of what’s to come in the next paragraph.
The conclusion reiterates the relevance of your topic, reviews your evidence, and briefly discusses the future of your topic. Avoid adding any new facts or arguments in the conclusion.
Opening Statements: Begin with a general concluding statement.
Review Evidence: Overview how all of your evidence came together to prove your claim.
Future Outlook: State your claim and supporting arguments.