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Essay writing

An essay should have the structure:


  • An introduction is a preview of the assignment

  • It makes a general statement about the issue, topic or area under discussion

  • It sets out the main structure of the assignment

  • It sets out your thesis (i.e. point of view)

  • Be brief but include all your main ideas


  • This is where you assemble the evidence of your research and thinking

  • It accounts for most of the marks in any assignment

  • You will be assessed on the development and relevance of your information, and any discussion based on that information

  • Your research should be carefully acknowledged with in-text referencing

  • If the assignment question has more than one part, structure the body into sections that deal with each part of the assignment question


  • A conclusion is a review of the assignment

  • It sums up the arguments of the whole text

  • It makes reference to the key terms of the assignment question

  • It reiterates and confirms your thesis

  • It may suggest recommendations, or indicate the significance or implications that follow from the conclusion

  • There should be no new information in the conclusion

  • If you have added something not mentioned in the body, check that it is relevant; if so, include it as a paragraph in the body

Reference list

  • Demonstrates that you have researched the area

  • Demonstrates that you are enlisting the support of someone’s research to support your own ideas

  • Demonstrates what ideas or information you have referred to from someone’s research as distinct from your own

  • Demonstrates that you acknowledge and give credit to the work of someone else

  • Make sure that you are familiar with the referencing style as prescribed by your faculty

  • Only include those references that you have used in your assignment (i.e. those that you have cited in your assignment)

Adapted from the following source:
Morley-Warner, T. 2009, Academic writing is… A guide to writing in a university context, Association for Academic Language and Learning, Sydney.


Essay writing: structure (PDF 240kB)

More information

click to open and closeExternal online resources
  • Language and Learning Online, Monash - Essay writing (opens an external site)

  • UniLearning, UOW - Introduction (opens an external site)

  • UniLearning, UOW - Preparation (opens an external site)

  • UniLearning, UOW - Research (opens an external site)

  • UniLearning, UOW - Writing (opens an external site)

  • UniLearning, UOW - Summary (opens an external site)