Structure your writing
Structure your work
Once you have a plan for your writing, you can use this plan to create the structure of your writing. Structured writing has a beginning, middle and an end, and uses focussed paragraphs to develop the argument.
Create the overall structure
For certain assignments, you may be required to use a specific structure and include specific sections. In other assignments, you will be able to choose your own structure. Nevertheless, writing usually follows the same overall structure: introduction, main body and conclusion.
The introduction outlines the main direction the writing will take and gives any necessary background information and context.
In the main body each point is presented, explored and developed. These points must be set out in a logical order, to make it easier for the reader to follow and understand.
The conclusion brings together the main points and highlights the key message or argument you want the reader to take away. It might also recommend further research or investigation where appropriate.
Arrange your points in a logical order
When you start writing you should have a clear idea of what you want to say. Create a list of your main points and think about what the reader needs to know and in what order they will need to know it.
To select the main points you want to include, ask yourself does each point you have considered really contribute to answering the question? Is the point relevant to your overall argument?
Select appropriate evidence that you will use to support each main point. Think carefully about which evidence to use. You must evaluate the information you find, as not everything you find will be of high quality.
Putting your points into groups might help you create a logical order. These groups will broadly fit into an overall pattern, such as for and against, thematic, chronological or by different schools of thought or approach.
You can then put these groups into a sequence that the reader can follow and use to make sense of the topic or argument. It may be helpful to talk through your argument with someone.
It might be helpful to arrange ideas initially in the form of a mind-map, which allows you to capture key points with supporting information branching off.
MindView software (available on most university computers) allows you to create an essay structure where you can add in pictures, files and attachments – perfect for organising evidence to support your point.