Every piece of coursework requires an introduction (generally 10% of word count) and a conclusion (generally around 5-10% of word count)
In an essay, you don’t need to use the headings introduction and conclusion – you do in a report. Note that “Main body” is not a heading – where you are using headings and sub-headings in the main body of your coursework, these should reflect the content of the sections. Check your module handbook or assessment guidelines for this.
- Presents relevant background information that provides a rationale for this piece of writing. This can be research findings and/or real-world information that shows why the issue is important.
- Outlines the aim and scope of the essay.
- Often indicates the writer’s position or line of argument
Main Body (not a heading)
Identifies and develops main themes and issues in paragraphs and sections. In a report, you use headings and sub-headings to identify different sections. It is not unusual to find headings in essays nowadays – there isn’t a hard and fast rule. It will often depend on the preference of the marker – check with your lecturer if you’re not sure.
Read more about the differences between essays and reports
- Restates the main argument made in the essay.
- Refers back to the issue raised in the introduction
- Do not provide a summary of the structure of the essay – focus on issues, not structure.
- Considers future implications or possibly recommendations
- Why the issue is important
- What the main arguments are; what the writer’s position is
This is a poor example as it focuses on structure... “the first section discussed the importance of planning, and illustrated this with corporate examples.”
This is a good example which focuses on issues... “The importance of planning cannot be understated: as the examples provided show, failure to plan can lead to significant financial losses”
The above provides an overview on essay content. Further information on structuring an essay can be found here.