General advice for structuring all types of academic writing.
For advice on structuring specific types of writing, visit the relevant page under 'Types of academic writing'.
Academic writing has a clear, logical structure to communicate your points and show the connections between them; a well-structured assignment is easy for the reader to follow and understand.
These general principles apply to structuring most types of academic writing:
The best way to write a well-structured assignment is to have a good plan before you start writing. What's your argument? What are the main points you want to include? What's a logical way to order these points? Don't just launch into writing with no idea of where you're going!
To make a general plan:
Here's a step-by-step demonstration of planning assignment structure:
A well-structured paragraph contains one main point or idea - all the information included is relevant to this point. If it's not related to the main point, it probably shouldn't be there!
There are many ways to structure a paragraph, but they generally all include:
However, this is only a guide - there are many ways to structure a paragraph. Reading sources from your field will help you to get a feel of ways to organise paragraphs.
If the structure is the order of your points, cohesion is what ties them together and guides the reader through your argument.
Create cohesion using words and phrases that show the relationships between points. For example:
Cohesive words and phrases are shown in bold in this example paragraph about how language background affects maths skills development:
More detailed advice and examples: