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Several steps that will show you how to write a five paragraph essay

  1. Introduction – It is important for your essay to have a sound introduction where you discuss the topic and what will be covered so do this in paragraph one. It can be useful to point out your approach to the essay, and how it is different to previous research (this will lend an element of originality to your assignment that will score higher marks). You do need to have done thorough research for this to work, to ensure yours is an original idea.

  2. Key words/definitions - it can be useful in your second paragraph to discuss any key words/definitions that appear in your title or that will be used a lot throughout the essay, and how you intend to use them in your essay. It’s necessary to unpack the key words from your title, find solid dictionary definitions – then search further afield to find out how other people have used these terms. Look for good academic uses in journals and academic texts, rather than definitions from internet websites. If you can refer to specific theorists who have been mentioned on your course, this will be beneficial.

  3. Literature Review – In your third paragraph look at lots of good academic texts. Look at lots of journal articles. Electronic journal articles are good because they’ve been proven to be academic by going through a peer review and are much more trustworthy academic sources than much information found on the internet. They’re also quick and easy to search for useful sections by doing Ctrl & F, and searching for key terms. Summarise the findings of the research in this paragraph. It is ideal if you can find at least two or more academics’ work who have differing viewpoints or approaches, to compare and contrast, and it’s worth saying which one you believe to be more correct and why.

  4. Main Points - State here up to three key points that you intend to discuss throughout your essay in this fourth paragraph, this should also probably be your longest paragraph. You can list the points then take them one-by-one and expand upon these. This is the real meaty content of your essay here. Do remember to support and back up all the points you make with solid evidence, you can include quotations, use quote marks for short quotes, and indent longer ones. Always reference all quotes to avoid any allegations of plagiarism. Refer back to people you’ve mentioned in the literature review. Be critical and analytical and not simply just descriptive.

  5. Conclusion – Your final paragraph needs to be signposted as the conclusion. Use phrases such as ‘to conclude’ and ‘in summary’. Reiterate your key findings here, and finish positively, confidently, with a strong convincing argument that leaves the reader in no doubt as to what your viewpoint is that you’ve expressed in the essay.

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