What is an essay?
An essay is a short form of writing set around a specific subject or topic. Usually, it is written for sharing experiences, solving a problem, arguing a particular point of view, explaining the steps necessary to complete a specific task, and displaying the thoughts and opinions of the author. It can be classified as formal or informal by style and tone.
Main essay types include descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and expository.
No matter the type, most essays have the same basic format, which consists of the following elements:
The introduction is part of an essay where you provide some background information, limit the scope of your discussion, state your position, outline the structure or key supporting points, and give the context.
2. Body paragraphs
The body is where you fully develop your argument. Each body paragraph discusses a single idea/problem/aspect, and the desirable conventional paragraph structure pattern is as follows:
- topic sentence with the main idea
- evidence or your claim
- example(s) (stats, case studies, etc.) from academic books and journal articles on your topic
- explanation (how this evidence supports the claim and overall argument plus your interpretation of the evidence)
- concluding sentence/transition to another paragraph
Your conclusion is the final thing the reader sees, so ensure it is memorable. A strong conclusion brings your key points from the body of your essay together, reminds the reader of your line of argument, and shows how you have achieved your purpose.
What is a discussion post?
A discussion post is a brief message used to contribute to an online discussion or debate. It's usually written in response to a topic or prompt and aims to communicate the student's knowledge, ideas, opinions, and additional insights to others involved.
Discussion post structure
A good introduction has to be clear and concise, address the prompt or topic directly, and provide some content or background information you've learned during the course. In other words, it has to answer the question, "What do you think?"
- Don't post comments like "Yes, I totally agree" without explaining why and providing new ideas on the topic.
- Start with a strong opening: make a provocative statement or ask a question to get the reader's attention and spark their interest.
- Be respectful, not emotional, and avoid criticism against other people.
In this part of your discussion post, state why you think what you think and demonstrate your understanding of the course material by presenting cohesive arguments backed up by strong evidence. These can be anything from references to credible sources to facts and examples.
- Try to make real-world connections and paraphrase rather than quote.
- Avoid unrelated information and overly technical or jargon-filled terms. Instead, use persuasive language, anecdotes, or rhetorical questions to make your post more engaging.
- Use proper formatting and citations and stick with APA if nothing else is instructed.
Your conclusion should summarize the key points used to develop arguments, state what you wish you knew, and promote peer interaction by directly soliciting the opinion of classmates.
- Provide a personal observation or a reflection on the topic, suggest areas for exploration, or ask for alternative viewpoints to encourage a more active conversation.
- Make sure to check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation before submitting your post.
What is a research paper?
A research paper is an expanded academic essay that provides an analysis, evaluation, argument, or interpretation of an issue. This type of writing involves doing independent research to find the best possible information in the field. Its goal is to discover what others say about a topic and engage the sources to provide a unique perspective on the issue at hand.
The most popular types of research papers include analytical, argumentative, cause and effect, experimental, problem-solution, survey, definition, compare and contrast, and interpretive.
Research paper structure
The structure of a research paper will differ depending on its type, volume, and the writing style requested. However, most research papers will include the following sections:
1. Title Page
A title page is the opening section of your research paper that introduces the major details. It also offers an overview of the field of research your work belongs to.
Your abstract is the most critical part of the research paper, where you summarize the main points of your writing. It's like an advertisement for your project, so select content carefully and be concise.
The introduction is the first paragraph of your research paper that provides the context, conveys the central points that will be covered, and informs the readers about the knowledge gap. It is recommended that you start it with a story, quote, question, or something of interest to sparkle the reader's interest.
4. Body paragraphs
The body is the biggest and main part of your research paper, with at least three sections. All the evidence that you have collected during the research should go here. Remember to back up each statement you give with proof, cite your references according to the required format, and always provide three supporting arguments for each position you take ("Rule of 3").
- Methods used to carry out the research with a clear description of materials and evidence.
- Results reported as tables, graphs, and figures and supported by relevant statistics.
- A discussion where you set the research in context, strengthen its importance, support the research hypothesis, and compare the results with other investigations in the field.
This section is the last part of your work, where you summarize all the key points and arguments so the readers can digest the central idea and remember it for a long time. Your conclusion can also call for action or overview future possible research.
6. References & Appendices
List all the sources used during the research in your references section. It is also recommended to add Appendices if your paper contains any additional information, such as raw data or interview transcripts, that's too long to be included in the main body.
What is a research proposal?
A research proposal is a concise summary of the proposed study backed by solid evidence. It provides an overview of the main idea behind your research by introducing the issues and questions you plan to address. In other words, it is a formal document created to demonstrate and justify your interest and necessity in researching a specific topic. It also serves to convince the committee that your research fits within the program scope and is feasible, considering the resources and time available.
Research proposal structure
The format of a research proposal may vary between disciplines, but most proposals will include the sections below:
Your research title should be clear, concise and say in as few words as possible what your project is about. An ideal title's length is 10 words maximum.
An abstract is a brief 150-300 word summary of the paper's ideas, aims, objectives, research methodology, results, and conclusions. It must give an understanding of the scope and purpose of the research.
In this section of the research proposal, you have to define the topic's problem, provide background information and context, and clearly state your research question(s), hypothesis, and goals.
4. Literature Review
A literature review is a brief overview of what has been previously stated and known on the topic. Identify gaps in existing research and explain how your research will address those gaps.
5. Research Methodology
This section serves as an organized plan for research and explains how you will conduct research, analyze and collect data. Add sufficient information regarding the study, explain why the particular method best suits your research, and how it will help attain your goals.
6. Implications and Contribution to Knowledge
Discuss the implications of your research on future concepts, studies, and procedures, and describe how it will contribute to, alter, or expand existing knowledge about the topic.
7. Expected Results
Since you have yet to get the actual results, this section will contain the outcomes you aim to obtain from your research and their significance.
Your timeline should comprise a series of objectives that you should meet to consider the project completed. Every step, from research to final editing, has to include an expected completion date and a statement of the progress.
This section shows how much every major part of the project will cost. For every item, include the actual cost, source or how it was calculated, and justification.
10. Concluding Statement
The concluding statement typically recaps the research problem and proposed solution, reveals the rationale you anticipate reaching, and states the potential contributions of your research to the field of study.
This section is a compilation of articles and books from which you have taken up all the critical facts and information. You can also mention reports from any organization you used to collect statistics.
What is a case study?
A case study is a writing assignment that investigates a particular event, object, place, person, or problem and offers a solution. The scope of case studies is vast and can range from academic research to corporate promotional tools.
The average case study's length is between 500 to 1,500 words, and the most common types of case studies include historical, problem-oriented, cumulative, critical, and illustrative.
Structure of case study
A case study is usually made up of the following parts:
1. Title page
The title page will greatly depend on the required citation format.
2. Abstract (or Summary)
The abstract is where you introduce the project and questions and sum up the results of the observation. Make sure to provide details of what, why, when, where, how, and who in this part of your case study.
3. Introduction (or Background)
The introduction is one of the most critical parts of your case study. Here you identify the research problem and its significance, discuss why this particular case is of interest and how it relates to addressing the problem, present the hypothesis, and provide the most relevant facts.
The body is where you write about your study and findings in more detail, describe the step-by-step procedure employed and its appropriateness, present analysis and data collected, and explain what it means in the context of your hypothesis, as well as offer a realistic solution to the problem supported with solid evidence. You can provide testable evidence to support your recommendations and include alternative solutions for the problem at hand.
The conclusion is a concise statement of what your case study found and what you have learned so far. Summarize the key points from the case evaluations and proposed solutions, give specific recommendations to accomplish the solution, talk about the strategy that should be chosen, and explain why this strategy is the most appropriate.
In this section of your case study, provide a list of all applicable references in your educational institution's required citation style.
7. Appendix (when applicable)
The appendix is where you add the parts of the materials that are too lengthy or unfit for the other sections of your case study.
What is coursework?
Coursework is a common academic task that students are given in the course of studies to assess their knowledge and skills and determine their final grades. This research or creative project is turned in before the semester closes and usually covers everything taught in a class throughout that particular semester. By its nature, it is very similar to other writing assignments, such as essays, theses, reports, research projects, and dissertations.
Structure of coursework
The coursework paper adopts a typical structure of an extended essay. However, it may vary depending on its type, subject, and instructor's requirements.
Here's a rundown of a common coursework structure:
1. Cover page
Your cover page serves as a gateway to your coursework and allows the reader to identify your work at a glance. Therefore, it should look neat and professional.
2. Table of contents
The table of contents is a list that features the names of the chapters/sections and subchapters/subsections with their corresponding page numbers.
An abstract is a short objective overview of the main ideas of your coursework that serves as a quick way to get acquainted with the topic and outcomes of your work.
Your introduction helps the reader to get a clearer picture of your coursework by giving some background information on the research field. It should outline the key problems, goals, and work objectives as a whole and reveal the importance of the chosen topic.
The body is the building block of your coursework, where you put out and thoroughly form the main point(s). It can include both theoretical and practical parts. Divide your body into small paragraphs for readability, and make sure to use transition words and phrases to create a logical flow of ideas.
The conclusion is a very important section of your coursework which provides a short review of the main findings and explains your interpretation of the topic to the reader.
Your bibliography is a detailed list of all works on a subject or by an author that were used, consulted, and cited in your coursework paper.
What is a report?
A report is a formal document written in clear academic language (3rd person) that aims to describe the results or findings of a project. A report's nature, length, format, and content may vary depending on the discipline. Still, one thing stays the same — your report should only contain information based on credible data collected and analyzed during research.
The most common report structures include the following:
1. Title page
Your title page should be informative and concisely state the report's topic.
An abstract is a summary intended to give the reader an overview of the report, so ensure it is 200 words at most.
3. Table of Contents
The table of contents helps readers find the sections most relevant to them.
The introduction is a quick overview of the research conducted.
5. Main body
The body is one of the most important parts of your report, where you explore opinions on the research question, identify gaps in the literature, offer a description of the material/procedures used, include a detailed results/findings analysis, provide reasons for your results, critique the outcome, and acknowledge research drawbacks.
Your conclusion has to serve as a summary of the report outcomes, make suggestions for further action/research, and include a list of particular recommendations as a result of the study (if required). It typically takes up to 10% of the overall word count.
The references section features a list of sources utilized in the report.
8. Appendices (if required)
Appendices are used to expand on points referred to in the body section. This section can include backup information like data and statistics.
What is a reaction paper?
A reaction paper is a written response to a book, video, article, or other media that usually comes with specific instructions to follow. In contrast to a critique or review, it involves an analysis of the work's characters, themes, and other elements, along with your individual viewpoints, ideas, emotions, and reactions to it. This type of assignment aims to help you critically evaluate the work and communicate your opinions and insights to others.
Structure of a reaction paper
A typical reaction paper follows a five-paragraph format structure of an essay. Let's examine each section closely:
An introduction is a vital section of your reaction paper that sets the tone for the rest of the piece, so make it memorable. Start with a provocative statement about the source material, state an anecdote, hint at an exciting fact, conclusion, reaction, etc.
The main body is where you share your honest thoughts on the key points of the source material, explain your position, and back it up with evidence. Divide your ideas into separate sections and ensure each paragraph discusses one claim at a time and relates to your thesis statement. Typically, your body section will consist of three paragraphs.
Your conclusion is one of the most critical sections of your reaction paper, where you restate the thesis and each paragraph's topic sentences in one or two sentences. Capture your emotions and put them into a short summary, explaining why the piece made you feel that way. Then briefly discuss the larger implications of the work (optional).
4. Works cited page (when necessary)
The works cited page is the last page of your work, where you list all the sources used when writing. In the case of a reaction paper, it will only contain one specific source.
What is a summary?
A summary is a short, concise overview of the central points of a text written in your own words. It helps a reader understand the gist of the story and learn the main points. A well-written summary will reveal research problems or questions the author explains, answers, or argues in the text in just a few paragraphs.
The general rule of thumb suggests that a summary should be not more than 1/4 of the length of the original. However, the final size of your summary will greatly depend on how many direct quotes, paraphrases, reasoning, or examples you are going to include.
Structure of a summary
The following elements are what most teachers will look for in your summary:
Begin your first paragraph with an introductory sentence that acknowledges the source. Next, write a topic sentence that highlights and explains the text's central idea(s) and give relevant context (e.g., author's specific credentials) when necessary. Make sure to accurately paraphrase, not copy and paste parts of the text and write in the present tense.
The second paragraph and the others that follow it (if any) constitute the body of the summary. Each section has to expand on the central idea(s) you stated in the introduction. If the text includes only one example that opposes its central point, it is recommended that you skip it.
In this section, which is the last the reader sees, restate all the most important things to remember after reading the summary and explain why the text was so important (optional).
What is a dissertation?
A dissertation is an extensive piece of academic writing that's based on your own original research. It is typically turned in as the last step to complete a BA, MA, or Ph.D. program. Your dissertation is most likely the longest, most challenging, and time-consuming writing task you've ever completed. That's why it's important to create a precise plan for identifying the structure and strategic research goals before getting down to writing.
Structure of a dissertation
There isn't a dissertation outline template that is 100% suitable for all subjects. The assigned committee can have unique requirements, so it's always advisable to check the rubric first.
Here's a basic outline of dissertation sections that you can adjust to your topic and subject:
The title page of your dissertation, also known as the cover page, is the first thing that your evaluator or a reader will look at.
Your abstract is a summary of the study that's usually written last.
3. Table of Contents
The table of contents is a well-organized list of chapters, sections, and figures within your document with a corresponding page number.
4. Chapter 1: Introduction
An introduction is a section of your dissertation where you introduce the study area and describe its purpose, identify the gap in research, define the key terms and concepts, and share important details about your problem statement, research question, and hypotheses. It's also a sum-up of what you plan to study and what methods you plan to use.
5. Chapter 2: Literature Review
This section of your dissertation focuses on the literature described, investigated, listed, and studied in depth. Make sure to provide a conceptual or theoretical framework (only established theory!) to justify the use of the materials and include a detailed review of sources depending on your topic variables.
6. Chapter 3: Methodology
Your methodology is where you dive deeper into how you'll carry out your study. Restate the purpose and problems of the study, provide a brief introduction to the methodology, describe the chosen design, relevant population, characteristics and size, procedures for collecting data and recruiting participants, identify chosen instruments, describe the data analysis process and software to be used, and provide a brief sum-up of the section.
7. Chapter 4: Presentation of Research
The fourth chapter of your dissertation aims to explain the findings. In your introduction, tell about what has to be found, while in conclusion, give a quick summary explaining whether it has been successful or not.
8. Chapter 5: Summary, Implications, and Outcomes
Chapter 5 is where you provide a more detailed findings summary and involve personal analysis. Support your conclusions with the research findings, describe how they relate to the problem/purpose of your study, discuss how the study contributes to scholarly knowledge, provide suggestions for additional investigation, and wrap your work together.
9. List of references
The list of references is the page where you provide detailed references for all sources you have used in your dissertation (i.e., anything you quoted, paraphrased, or referred to).
The appendix is a section where you include all supplementary material that's not essential but may be helpful for further understanding of the problem or information that's too long to be included in the body.