These small talks are designed to give you insights into academic skills you need to succeed.
I’m Steve Hoselton and today’s smol talk is about essay structure. The essay has a very particular structure and once you understand it, it’s relatively easy to make sure that your essay has all the important elements. Let’s take a look at a graphic. Here you see, the essay has four basic parts. Introduction, thesis, body, and conclusion. Each part has a different role. The introduction’s role is to act as topic analysis. This means it tells you why your topic is important. It might ask your research question, or justify the treatment that you’re going to give it. It sets up the necessity of your essay. The next part is the most important part in the essay. A very good essay always has a very good thesis. The thesis is the statement you prove to be true. It’s never vague, it’s never a question. it can be the answer to a question. It’s never unclear. If you’re not sure what your thesis is, you don’t have a good essay yet. The body of the paper is the simplest one to explain, it’s the proof. It’s the evidence, explanation, or examples that show that your thesis is true. And it’s usually organized into paragraphs, sometimes subsections depending on whether or not they’re allowed for your essay. One thing to throw out is the old high school idea of three body paragraphs. Sometimes, you’ll be writing an essay that requires three body paragraphs, that’s probably maybe a four page paper. But most of the time, you’ll have more than that. Don’t try to limit yourself to just three. The last section is called the conclusion, and the conclusion has two very specific tasks. First, you restate your thesis, not in the same words, but you recap what you’ve proven in your paper. The second is to give implications based on the truth of the paper. This means my thesis is true, so what? What happens next? What do we have to think about because of this? Where do we go from here? Anything like that. And remember to keep your conclusion very short. Sometimes you’ll hear that the conclusion is supposed to summarize all of your arguments and maybe in a hundred page paper, you need to remind the reader of what happened on page 46, but not in anything shorter than that. So don’t summarize in your conclusion. Now, one other final word to remember is that these are general instructions that are usually true. If a course instructor tells you do something different from what I’ve told you, DON’T listen to me. Listen to the person who’s marking your paper. We’ll go into other kinds of things that you need to know, such as analysis in other smol talks, but right now this gives you an idea of basic structure. Now, I have to tell you that every smol talk we usually try to provide you with a little entertaining or informative gif or image, but we couldn’t think of anything to go with essay structure. So for absolutely no good reason whatsoever, here are some puppies. Enjoy. [Puppies whining.]