Skills Hub

Structuring an essay

'Poor structure' is one of the most common comments tutors make on student essays.

The structure of your essay comes from your plan and helps you elaborate your argument. An essay has three main parts: an introduction, the body, a conclusion.

Take time on planning and structuring your essay and you will find writing it straightforward because you have given yourself a clear framework.

The Royal Literary Fund website contains more on why your essay needs structure


Your introduction is the first impression a tutor has of your assignment. It establishes a tone, a mood, it contains the most important information – your argument.

It shows you have understood the question, highlights how you are going to expand your argument and what ideas you are focusing on.

The Royal Literary Fund website contains more on what does an introduction do?

Main body

The body of your essay contains the evidence you have worked so hard to find. It is the place where you play out debates, issues and ideas and where you prove your argument. So give yourself enough room to tackle the points you want to make. Make your ideas fit together dynamically.

The Royal Literary Fund website has more information: What does the main body of your essay do?


A conclusion sums up your ideas. It can highlight areas of doubt, where more research needs to be done and it can point towards new ideas or emerging theories you have referred to in the essay. You must not put new material in a conclusion.

See the Royal Literary fund webpage: What does a conclusion do?

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