Leeds University Library

Planning your essay

Planning is an important part of the essay writing process. We recommend that you create an essay plan before you start writing. You should be able to define and organise your argument before tackling your first draft. This will make the writing process far easier as it will help you to:

  • Produce a clear, coherent and well-structured essay
  • Know where you want your argument to start and end
  • Stick to the main points that you want to make.

Identify your main ideas

Your essays should not be a patchwork of other people's ideas or a set of facts and quotes. You need to critically analyse what you are reading and synthesise (bring together) the information you find to help you to develop your own arguments, ideas and opinions.

Consider:  

  • What key points do you want to make?
  • Can you support your points with evidence such as data, facts, research conducted by academics/researchers/other experts on that topic?
  • Have you considered different viewpoints and perspectives?
  • How will you structure your essay? You need to make sure that the structure is logical and coherent. For more details view our structuring academic writing page.