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SPARK: Essay Structure

A resource for students wanting to improve their academic and research skills.

Essay Structure

Use the options in the drop down menu under the "Essay Structure" tab to select a page to view, or use the "previous" and "next" buttons at the bottom of each page to work through the modules in order.

Elements of Structure

The structure of an essay refers to its form or organization. There is no one structure that is expected in an academic essay, but the following are some structural elements common to almost all essays:

  • Sentences
  • Paragraphs
  • Topic sentences within paragraphs
  • Transition sentences between paragraphs
  • Thesis statement
  • Title
  • Quotations & Citations

A writer must consider their purpose (why they are writing), subject matter and anticipated audience (a professor? A business?) in order to form an appropriate structure from these elements. 

For suggestions regarding the writing process, see the Writing Strategies module.