What Is Structure in Writing an Academic Paper

Every academic paper or essay usually has a standard structure. There should be an introduction, body paragraphs (depending on the nature of the essay and the complexity of the topic), and a conclusion.

Every section usually has a unique approach a student should consider when writing the different parts of academic paper. This is because each section has a purpose it must meet after submission. For instance, the introduction section plays the role of introducing the reader to the topic/ paper as a whole.

The body paragraphs, on the other hand, have a major goal of defending the thesis statement, backing it up with crucial points supported with solid evidence. In the body paragraphs, each paragraph should represent a solid point without mixing ideas to give the reader a smooth flow while reading through the essay.

Finally, the conclusion is another significant section in academic papers. It simply sums up the context of the paper, from the thesis statement to the ideas presented in the body paragraphs. Let’s break down the concept into details below.

Types of structure in writing

Apart from the basic academic paper structure described above, anyone can write anything, which can be an article, a job application letter, a story, or any piece of writing. All these writings must have a structure, and below are other writing structures that a writer can apply to their piece of writing.

  • Categorical structure

The categorical structure in writing involves highlighting significant points when addressing a given topic. This structure suits best when writing a political speech, a state union address, or a campaign speech. This structure is also ideal for a job application when describing personal traits that make you a suitable candidate.

  • Evaluative structure

In this structure, you simply introduce the topic/problem, then highlight the pros and cons of the subject matter to weigh the options.

  • Chronological structure

This structure is applicable when narrating a story. Therefore, you need to highlight the happenings of events in a chronological manner.

  • Comparative structure

This structure is the same as the evaluative one. However, in comparative structure, there are more elements being weighed and compared to the other.

  • Sequential structure

The sequential structure is the same as the chronological structure, only that it involves giving step-by-step guides of “how-to topics.”

  • Causal structure

This structure involves discussing causes and effects on a particular topic.

A guide to the structure of academic writing

Once you have your academic topic to begin the research process, the next question to ask is, what is logical order in writing? This will help you to write and ensure your final paper has the required structure, with each section well-written. Therefore, follow the steps below when writing an academic paper.

  1. Begin with the research paper outline

Do not always begin the writing process once you have an academic paper task. Instead, write a simplified outline that you intend to follow.

In the outline, make sure you outline the following:

  • Thesis statement – this is a statement carrying your focus point for the whole paper.
  • Body paragraph points – these are the points you need to present in your paper backed up with evidence. The points should support the thesis statement.
  • A summary – finally, include the statement that summarizes the points you have discussed in the paper.
  1. Start the writing process

Once you have the outline, you can now begin writing the actual paper for submission. Start with the introduction section, where you should hook the reader based on the topic. You can introduce a question, a quote, or any relevant hook that will match your topic.

Next, write the body paragraphs, including strong points backed up with solid evidence from your research. Finalize with a summary in the conclusion section, describing all the ideas you have included in the paper.

  1. Proofreading and formatting

Now, you have your academic essay ready. However, do not submit the paper before revising it to highlight the errors and basic mistakes. Again, you need to format your paper to give it an academic writing structure based on the teacher’s requirements and guidelines. Once this is done, your essay is perfect and ready for submission


An academic paper structure is a significant element in essays and other academic tasks. Always review the guidelines and ensure you present your paper with the required structure for better grades.