Please note: these guidelines are general suggestions. When in doubt, please refer to your assignment for specifics.
Most essays consist of three parts:
minimum of 5 paragraphs total
Begin your paper by introducing your topic.
Parts of an Introduction paragraph:
Be sure your Introduction makes a clear, general point, which you can then back up with specifics as you lead to your Thesis Statement.
The final sentence in your Introduction paragraph should be your Thesis Statement: a single, clear and concise sentence stating your essay’s main idea or argument.
According to Denis Johnson of the Rasmussen College Library, you should think of a thesis statement as one complete sentence that expresses your position or tells your story in a nutshell.
The Thesis Statement should always take a stand and justify further discussion.
Now use the Body of your essay to support the main points you presented in your Thesis Statement. Develop each point using one or more paragraph, and support each point with specific details. Your details may come from research or from your direct experience. Refer to your assignment for required supporting documentation. Your own analysis and discussion of your topic should serve to tie your narrative together, and draw conclusions that support your thesis.
Use effective Transition words and phrases to give your paper “flow,” to connect your ideas and move from one supporting statement to another.
Use your conclusion to restate and consolidate all the main points of your essay. You should first restate your Thesis Statement (using slightly different phrasing this time). Give closure to your essay by resolving any outstanding points, and by leaving your readers with a final thought regarding the future or long-term implications of your argument. Your Conclusion is not the place to introduce new ideas or topics that did not appear earlier in your paper.
Don’t forget to cite each source of any information that you used - using In-Text Citations throughout your paper, and a References page at the end. Use these LibGuides to help you with your In-Text Citations and your References page.
(Sample Essay excerpts and instructions, thanks to Professor Deborah Ashby: Monroe College, Department of Social Sciences)