Essay and research paper topics & ideas

Writing different parts of an essay

Getting the format right on your essay is crucial for readability. Even an interesting essay can be spoiled if you jumble up the parts and get the sequence wrong. Writing a good essay is all about getting a good chain effect going. How you do that is not as simple as we may make it sound, but by following these guidelines and engaging yourself with a lot of writing practise, your essay skills are sure to improve.


Sketch out your essay with some key points. If your essay is going to be about a trip to the beach, then figure out what the highlights of the trip were and write down easy to remember keywords that depict those highlights. Do this with the intention of dedicating a paragraph to each keyword. In a test situation, points are often awarded per paragraph, so the reader will try to assess whether the paragraph has a point to it, or if it’s just a ‘going nowhere’ paragraph filled with hollow facts and boring details. Keep this in mind before you progress further.

The grand opening

Don’t think of your introduction as something that’s uninteresting. Consider it the grand opening that will hook your reader to read further. Do things like starting your first sentence with something completely unexpected. Add a bit of mystery to this first section of your essay and leave the reader burning to find out what happens next. A good exercise for practising your introduction writing skill is to write five introductions to the same topic. Read them over when you’re done and vote for the one that you enjoyed reading the most. Get some insight into why it was so great and keep up that style for your next essay.

The meat and potatoes

The body of your essay could consist of 3 or more paragraphs, depending on how long you’re permitted to write. This is where you’ll implement your outline points and key words or phrases. Try think of your main body as a chain and be sure to link your key words in a smooth, readable fashion. Gaps will kill your body, but so will too much information about a given subject. Figure out where you climaxes are and focus more attention on those than you would on other areas.

The finale

Your conclusion should leave your reader nodding their heads, not shrugging their shoulders. Make a connection with them in a way they can identify with the characters, events and circumstances of your essay. If your conclusion is fresh and culminates well with the introduction and body, you’ve nailed a great essay and your reader will know it.

It’s always a good idea to read through the essay one more time before you write your conclusion. The introduction and body may remind you of something that you need to add to your conclusion, and knowing your body ‘keyword chain’ well, will ensure that you conclude with a final link to your chain that fits in well with the rest of your paper.