Producing Non-Fiction

Organising Your Essay

Organising Your Essay

Similar to a non-fiction text, an essay that is organised well is clear, flows well and makes it easier for its readers to engage with ideas. Structure is the key to organisation, providing an effective framework for arguments and evidence to link.

Essay Structures

CaptureThe general structure for essay paragraphs is Point, Evidence, and Analysis (PEA). For example, here is a paragraph: (Point) According to the text, elderly people are now turning to the internet and improving their computing skills. (Evidence) This is evident by the fact that ‘over 50% of people over the age of 60 now have email addresses, compared to the 10% of people 5 years ago’. (Analysis) What this suggests is that the internet is taking over everyday life and, as more and more services become available online, the convenience of not having to leave the home appeals to the elderly. It is likely this percentage will continue to increase as the generation which has grown up with the internet becomes elderly.

However, there are more features to the structure of a text than PEA. When writing a text to argue, you should put your points in a hierarchy with the strongest point first. After this, in order to appear fair if you are writing an article for an impartial organisation, you should present the counter arguments. The BBC, for example, is not meant to take sides in any argument.

As you present the counter arguments, you should argue against them and present reasons as to why they do not work. There are also ways to cast doubt in these counter arguments to make them sound more subjective, such as adding some people say’, ‘it has been suggested’ or ‘according to’.

Introduction

The introduction of any essay will set out exactly what it is going to discuss. It should start with an opening sentence which draws together the entire essay. For example, if you are analysing a text, you could write a sentence giving your opinion of whether is fulfils its purpose: Davidson’s article uses presentational devices well to convince the reader that they should go to the cinema to see Avatar in 3D. The introduction can also list what will be in each paragraph to make it clear to the reader exactly what the content of the essay is going to be and to signpost it.

Conclusion

As the end of your essay, the conclusion should return to the original statement and sum up your overall message. It should not simply repeat what was said in the introduction or main section of the essay, but should use strong language to reinforce any argument presented in a new way. Writers often use conclusions to confront the reader with the clear superiority of their argument over the counter argument and leave them thinking about the topic.