Skip to content
RMIT University Library - Learning Lab



Essay writing overview

This short video gives you an overview of how an essay is structured. It briefly explain what to include in the introduction, the body and the conclusion of your essay, and shows some writing models of each part.



Student asking mentor a question

Student: Any tips on structuring an essay?

Mentor: It’s pretty easy once you know it. Essays have three parts. A beginning, a middle and an end.

Mentor pointing out an essay structure has a beginning, middle and an end.

Student: Ok. I see that’s what they mean by an introduction, body and conclusion.

Picture that describes the beginning of the essay is the introduction, the middle of the essay is the body and the end of the essay is the conclusion.

Mentor: Yeah. But it’s really important to have a structure or you lose the flow of your argument.

Diagram of an introduction structure that shows it starts broadly and narrows down and should introduce the topic, state your argument and outline your main points.

Student: I find writing an introduction quite hard. What do you put in it?

Paragraph of text with the first sentence [topic sentence] highlighted.

Same paragraph with the key words highlighted.

Same paragraph with the linking words highlighted.

 Mentor: You’ve got to put three bits in. Start by introducing the topic, then state your argument, then outline your main points.

Student: I see. Basically you’re just telling the reader what you’re going to say.

Mentor: Have a look at this introduction.

Sample essay introduction: Self confidence means possessing a positive yet realistic view of one’s self and abilities. Self confident people have trust and faith in their abilities. Self confidence can be affected by a variety of factors. [topic and context] This essay will argue that self confidence develops through a complex interaction between a range of factors. [argument] The essay will firstly define self confidence of an individual. I particular these are personality style, situational factors/life experiences, self efficacy and self esteem. [what will be covered]

Student: What goes in the body?

Mentor: It’s a series of paragraphs that all support the argument.

Mentor pointing out main idea, topic sentence and beginning

Student: Do you just put one main idea in each paragraph?

Mentor: Yeah. Put the main idea in the topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph.

Student thinking about the structure of a conclusion being from narrow to broad

Student: I suppose the conclusion is like the introduction in reverse?

Diagram of the structure of a conclusion highlighting that it restates the argument, sums up what was covered and states what this means in relation to the broader topic.

Mentor: You got it! You go from the detail of the essay out to the big picture. Here’s an example of how to structure a conclusion.

Sample essay conclusion. Self confidence is not engrained within individuals and can be influenced by a variety of factors. [restate argument] The personality style of an individual can determine whether the individual is an introvert or an extrovert which will affect self confidence. Life experiences and situational factors have a large impact on the stability of personalities and confidence. [sum up main points covered] Self efficacy and self esteem are major factors that can contribute to a lack of self confidence. Self confidence is essential for effective and positive engagement in all professional and personal activities. [relate to broader topic]


Writing an essay
This resource takes you through the process of writing an essay from analysing the task, to planning and researching, writing and reviewing.

Critical Essay: Landscape Architecture
This resource provides a guide for writing a critical essay in landscape architecture. It models how key words, from the abstract and your research, are used to express the concepts or themes that run through the framework. These themes allow you to structure your essay, paragraphs, and flow of discussion.

Critical Essay: Communication Design
This resource provides a guide for structuring and writing a critical essay in communication design. It will show you how to critically discuss key historical, technological and theoretical developments in communication design, and their relationships to contemporary communication design in the Design, Commerce and Culture course.

Assignment slammer
This short tutorial walks you through the process of preparing, planning and writing an assignment with quick links to the resources you can use at each stage.