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Assignment Structure

Yes! Though the topics and issues change, assignments follow a set pattern. Following these concepts involved in writing will you an edge over others.

Make a map of the assignment:

When you get started on an assignment, read carefully through the question to check for the core idea. Based on this idea, make a map that you’ll follow throughout the assignment. When you start writing you’re bound to get varied ideas that may or may not contradict your original standing. In that case, hark back to the map and see where the new ideas fit and check whether they link with the preceding ideas.

Plan your content: paragraph

Every paragraph should start with the topic sentence. This topic sentence will convey to your readers what your main idea or the argument that the paragraph will revolve around. The main idea should be short, precise and to-the-point. It is advisable to make the point argumentative. After you propose the main idea, list out the points you’ll bring to the discussion. These points can be an amalgam of different ideas sourced out from various reliable sources such as journals, research papers, and periodicals. These points, in turn, could be either cause and effects or compare and contrast or even detailing the problems and solutions.

Link statements using linking words

Paragraphs that follow

  1. The listing can have: firstly, secondly, thirdly, finally, additionally, similarly, as well, next, another example etc.

  2. Cause and effect can have: results indicated, therefore, as a result,/consequence, consequently.

  3. Compare and contrast can have: alternatively, by contrast, similarly, conversely, in a similar way etc.

  4. Problem solution can have: other concerns were overcome, identified problems included, outcomes included etc.

Haven’t found your main idea yet? No worries.

Skim through your map and pin down the instrumental concepts that inhabit different parts of the assignment. There’ll definitely be a common thread in all the concepts discussed. This identified theme/idea could be the link connecting your paragraphs. Based on the nature of the ideas, (compare and contrast or cause and effects etc.) use the appropriate linking words. Your thinking will take different directions. The linking words used will help you denote that direction.

Different parts of the essay:

Different assignments have different structures. But the most basic and commonly used structure follows 3 crucial parts: Introduction, body, and conclusion.

To use the most appropriate structure, always look for the kind of assignment you’ve been requested to pen.

Also, remember that in tertiary level of education, you are not required to cap every paragraph with a heading such as introduction/body/conclusion.

Tips on writing each part of the essay:


An introduction of the paragraph, as the term denotes, introduces the readers to the topic/issue/question of the assignment. The key points to consider in writing it are background, context, your argument/stance/thesis and an outline of the areas you’ll be touching upon.


Every paragraph should be written in such a way that they’re contributing to the main idea or argument of the assignment.

Every paragraph should begin with the topic sentence which is to be substantiated with supporting statements that are backed by appropriate references. Each of these statements based on their nature should be linked with linking words. Finally, the paragraph should end with a concluding sentence that will sum up how the paragraph is contributing to the thesis.


A concluding paragraph should give a general overview of the pivotal points made, a comment on the points made, a verification of thesis and possible future directions of research in the area.

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