Of course, papers should always be typed, double-spaced on 8-1/2 x 11 paper on one side of the page only, and letter-quality print or better is always expected. Often you are expected to supply a cover sheet giving the date, your name, the title of the paper, the class, and the professor’s name. Tables and figures should be numbered consecutively throughout the text, and if there are a good number of them, then separate lists of tables and figures at the beginning of the paper may be expected. Tables and figures should always have descriptive captions, and if they come directly from sources, the sources must be specifically credited in the captions with the same citation style that you use throughout the paper.
Think of it this way. As the writer of an essay, you're essentially a lawyer arguing in behalf of a client (your thesis) before a judge (the reader) who will decide the case (agree or disagree with you). So, begin as a lawyer would, by laying out the facts to the judge in the way you think it will help your client best. Like lawyers in court, you should make an "opening statement," in this case, an introduction. Then review the facts of the case in detail just as lawyers question witnesses and submit evidence during a trial. This process of presentation and cross-examination is equivalent to the "body" of your essay. Finally, end with a "closing statement"—that is, the conclusion of your essay—arguing as strongly as possible in favor of your client's case, namely, your theme.
Organize the information to present the more general aspects of the topic early in the Introduction, then narrow toward the more specific topical information that provides context, finally arriving at your statement of purpose and rationale.
Subtitles also have the advantage of reminding the weary reader (who has just read 137 term papers before starting yours and has 79 yet to go) where he has got to in your argument.
Conclusions wrap up what you have been discussing in your paper. After moving from general to specific information in the introduction and body paragraphs, your conclusion should begin pulling back into more general information that restates the main points of your argument. Conclusions may also call for action or overview future possible research. The following outline may help you conclude your paper:
Authors often theirargument in their conclusion; however, a good summary introductionoften makes a full summary conclusion redundant. If so, recapitulatequickly and then use your conclusion to explore the of your argument. What policy prescriptions follow from your analysis?What general arguments does it call into question, and which doesit reinforce? What further research projects does it suggest?
These are not arbitrary requirements. Introductions and conclusions are crucial in persuasive writing. They put the facts to be cited into a coherent structure and give them meaning. Even more important, they make the argument readily accessible to readers and remind them of that purpose from start to end.
In the introduction above, the opening line does not serve to grab the reader’s attention. Instead, it is a statement of an obvious and mundane fact. The second sentence is also not very specific. A more effective attention grabber may point out a specific, and perhaps surprising, instance when adults use math in their daily lives, in order to show the reader why this is such as important topic to consider.
These aims can be given more or less emphasis depending on the length and type of essay. In a very short essay (less than 1000 words), for example, there is not much room to give a full and detailed context or structure. A longer essay has room for greater detail.
An introduction should seek to engage readers so that they will become invested in your writing. In some contexts this means finding a way to persuade a reader who is reading 60 papers on the same topic that yours is worth paying special attention to. In other contexts this means helping a reader already committed to your work to recognize what unusual or exciting question your paper will address.
Notice that this introduction begins by situating the paper in the context of larger conversations about British attitudes towards French politics and ends by promising a specific argument that the rest of the paper will support.
Remember, there is no one correct way to say anything. There is no one correct way to order or word your paper. There are, however, ways that are clearly wrong. And, in most cases, there is only one way to spell a given word! Most of you have probably written less than a handful of term papers. Writing clearly and concisely is more difficult than you may think. Remember not to feel too bad if a fellow student, Writing Fellow, or professor has a large number of "negative" comments on a paper you think of as being nearly perfect. It's like playing music. If you've never spent much time listening to the symphony, not only will you have a tough time playing classical music well, you probably will have a hard time even if you sound well. Since the purpose of your paper is to convey information to other people, other people's opinions of your work matter! Have other's read your paper, and listen to their comments. Accepting criticism is not easy, but it's the only way to learn to write.
This order of introduction elements is not set in stone, however. Sometimes the thesis statement is followed by a breakdown of the essay's structure and organisation. Ultimately, you must adapt the order to suit the needs of each particular essay.