Essay is a brief, non-fiction composition that describes, clarifies, argues, or analyzes a subject from a personal point of view.

Types of Essays

Common Essay Structure

  • Introduction
  • general statements
  • topic sentence at the end of an introductory paragraph


Body consists of several paragraphs, each of which contains:

  • topic sentence
  • supporting details
  • concluding statement


  • restatement of thesis
  • summarizing arguments


Types of Essay


‘Painting a picture with words’

  • describing object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc.
  • conveying an idea about the topic by describing it in a ‘show, not tell’ manner
  • vivid language


‘Telling a story’

  • narrating something to the readers
  • expression of a particular point of view
  • precise details
  • vivid verbs and modifiers, dialogs
  • ‘conflict and sequence’ structure


‘Unleashing your creative powers’

  • writing about the things that never existed
  • sharp, clear details
  • descriptive language to help readers visualize events, people, objects or emotions



‘Showing similarities/show differences’

  • two subjects that are different enough to compare and analyze;
  • structure:
    1. introduction to controversy
    2. summaries of both subjects
    3. comparison of similarities between the two
    4. comparison of differences
    5. conclusion


‘Analyzing strengths and weaknesses’

  • strong thesis that summarizes the student’s arguments about a story, a play, a poem, etc.
  • critical assessment of the topic
  • structure according to the writer’s arguments
  • assumptions supported with evidence from the text


‘Observing and reporting’

  • explaining or informing the reader
  • visual techniques and features, such as graphs and charts
  • investigating an idea, evaluating evidence, expounding on the idea, and setting forth an argument concerning it
  • avoiding personal opinions

Cause and Effect

‘Explaining with proof’

  • expression of causes and effects of a particular situation
  • structure:
    1. introduction
    2. causes (cause 1, cause 2, cause 3)
    3. transition
    4. effects (effect 1, effect 2, effect 3)
    5. conclusion



‘Constructing argument’

  • logic and reason to show that one idea is more reasonable than another
  • persuading a reader to adopt a certain point of view or to take a particular action
  • structure:
  1. introduction (stating clearly a writer’s position, three supporting reasons stated)
  2. body (stating reasons and facts, giving logical reasons, using examples)
  3. conclusion (pointing out a solution or calling for action, summarizing the reasons)


‘Defining a meaning of something’

  • explanation of what a particular term means
  • structure:
    • introduction/thesis statement
    • body (examples to reveal the term from the necessary side)
    • conclusion (author’s final restatement)



‘Explaining how to do something’

  • instructions for readers to follow and successfully do what is being explained;
  • structure:
    • introduction (presenting a problem, telling the readers how to solve it)
    • body (describing the steps and materials needed)
    • conclusion (restating a thesis statement and informing the reader once again about the solution found)




‘Advertising yourself’

  • stating the reasons for applying to the course, university or company, the ability to benefit from and contribute to it
  • structure:
  • description of all positive features of character to the admissions committee.
    1. Introduction (a few words about yourself, values)
    2. Body:
      • obstacle: how did it affect your education , how you overcame it
      • education career/goals
      • native community
    3. Conclusion (briefly stating why a scholarship/studying in a particular college/university will affect your future life)

Personal statement

Selling yourself’

  • a brief personal summary given to prospective employers to stand apart from the competition
  • not more than 150 words in length and attached to a CV
  • answering the questions: who you are, what you can offer, and what you’re aiming for in your career


Term Paper

Term paper is a long essay or report written as a major assignment over the span of a semester. Completing this assignment, a student should identify, analyze, interpret, and draw conclusions from the facts and opinions of other people.




  • general introduction to the topic
  • thesis statement
  • review of the paper content and sources (stating what parts a term paper will consist of and what references will be used to complete it)

*Abstract is optional depending on the professor’s instructions.

Body (evidence and examples supported by citations and quotes)

  • first subtopic
  • second subtopic
  • third subtopic


  • restatement of the thesis
  • summary of the content of the paper
  • definition of learning outcomes
  • Length depends on the professor’s guidelines and topic.
  • Writer may be provided with a textbook since the paper should relate to what a student learned during the whole term; the book must be included in the reference list and cited in the text
  • The paper must be based on scholarly sources (i.e., special subject indexes, encyclopedias and dictionaries, reference books, scholarly journals, books, and newspapers).


Research Paper

Research paper is the culmination and final product of an involved process of research, critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition based on scholarly sources.




  • presentation of the problem or the research inquiry
  • purpose and focus of the current paper
  • summary or overview of the writer’s position or arguments
  • thesis statement

Literature Review

  • evaluation and presentation of the references used to write a paper


  • methodology and special materials used to perform the research (questionnaires or interview questions, lab reports, data-gathering instruments, etc.)


  • data presented in tables, charts, and graphs


  • learning outcomes
  • consequences or meaning of the results
  • referral to the introductory statements

Conclusions and Recommendations

  • research results and discussion and their significance to the thesis
  • outcomes of the research
  • recommendation of a course of action, solution to a problem, judgment, or implications and consequences of ideas
  • Research paper flows from the general statement to the specific one and back to the general in its organization.
  • There are 2 types:
  • Argumentative (presenting arguments supported by examples to convey a certain idea or research outcome).
  • Analytical (making critical interpretation of primary and secondary sources throughout the paper and analyzing the research topic).
  • The goal of a research paper is not to inform the reader of what others have to say about a topic, but to draw attention to what scientists have to say about a topic and engage their works in order to thoughtfully offer a unique perspective on the issue at hand.
  • Clear thesis and focus are essential.
  • All sections should be written in the present tense, ‘Results’ section – in the past.



Coursework is a final paper of a course that can be written in a form of narrative essay, research paper, book report or any other type of academic writing.




  • general introduction to the topic
  • thesis statement
  • remarks concerning the structure of the work


  • subtopics with examples and arguments


  • restatement of the thesis
  • final remarks and recommendations

*The structure is defined by the type of assignment given to the student, but mainly it conforms to the above presented common essay outline.

  • May adopt an essay or report structure, but usually is more substantial in size and requires a greater depth of research and analysis.
  • There is no standard format of coursework writing, it depends on university requirements, course, and professor’s instructions.
  • The most common types:
  • Business plan (a formal statement of business goals, reasons why they are attainable, and plans for reaching them)
  • Case study (up-close, in-depth, and detailed examination of a subject (the case), as well as its related contextual conditions)


Book report

Book report is an essay discussing the contents of a book, written as a part of the class assignment.




  • title and author
  • publication information: publisher, year, number of pages
  • genre
  • a brief (1-2 sentences) introduction to the book and the report


  • theme
  • setting
  • plot
  • characters
  • analysis and evaluation
  • recommendations


  • impression from the book
  • emphasis on the things that an author wants the reader to know
  • Book reports tend to be a little more descriptive (what is this book about?) than book reviews that are usually more persuasive (why a reader should or shouldn't read this book).
  • It is a combination of summary and commentary.
  • It presents content and structure of a book as objectively as possible.
  • Its purpose is to give enough information about a book to help decide whether it will be of use or interest to the reader.


Book review

Book review is a descriptive and critical or evaluative account of a book.




  • background (identifying the book and author under review, essential historical or historiographical background)
  • thesis (the main argument of the book is, evaluation)

Summary of Key Arguments


  • explaining and developing the evaluation made in the thesis, examples and quotations from the book


  • Book review can be a primary source, opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review.
  • Its length may vary from a single paragraph to a substantial essay.
  • Reasonable arguments must be supported by examples from the book.


Movie review

Movie review is an article that describes and evaluates a movie.



Overall Impression

  • opinion about a film
  • title
  • genre
  • director
  • lead actors
  • year of release

Plot Summary


  • evaluation of actors’ performance
  • author’s expectations and if they were fulfilled

Film Techniques

  • assessment of camera angles, editing, lighting, set production, costumes, etc.
  • failures/successes of the film


  • message the film conveys


  • closing remarks
  • recommendations
  • Film reviews are concise, descriptive, and persuasive.
  • Positive reviews usually start with a brief analysis of the WEAKER points and then develop to the STRENGTHS of the film.
  • Negative ones tend to acknowledge the few STRONG points first and then go into depth on the FAILINGS of the film.


Research summary

Research summary is a brief summary of a research article, thesis, review, conference proceeding or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline, and is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper's purpose.



Title of the paper


  • statement of the problem
  • research question


  • ways to answer a research question
  • a brief summary of the topic

Delineation of the specific problem areas

  • allusions to the theoretical or ethnographic contextualization, and some of the specific areas to answer the research question


  • further elaboration of the problem
  • wider implications of the research
  • Often should be written as an abstract to the paper.
  • Summarizes the significance of the work, the hypothesis and major objectives of the project, the procedures to be followed to accomplish the objectives, and the potential impact.
  • Summary should be edited last, as a concise overview of the proposal.
  • Length depends on the professor’s guidelines (from ½ to 2 pages).


Case study

Case study is an in-depth study of a particular situation rather than a sweeping statistical survey. It is a method used to narrow down a very broad field of research into one easily researchable topic.




  • background of the case

Presentation and investigation of the case

  • multiple aspects and methods of analysis of the discipline



Conclusion and recommendation(s) for future action.

  • Types of case studies are:
  • business start-up
  • company report
  • organization analysis
  • patient case notes
  • Library research, interviews, questionnaires, and observation are among the methods of writing a case study.
  • A person, a group or an organization can be subjects of the study.


Lab report

Lab report is a type of academic paper that is written to describe and analyze a laboratory experiment that explores a scientific concept.



  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Methods and Materials (or Equipment)
  4. Experimental Procedure
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Conclusion
  8. References
  9. Appendices (calculations, graphs pictures or tables, not included in the report itself)
  • Past tense is used to talk about the experiment.
  • Raw data should be placed in appendices.
  • Discussion is the most important part of the report as it contains comparison of expected and received outcomes, analysis of experimental errors and strengths/limitations of experimental design.
  • References should include lab manual and all outside readings used to complete a report.


Power Point Presentation

Power Point Presentation is a presentation of research project in images, graphs, charts, etc. It is created in slides and is used to present the student’s work on a particular subject.



The PPT should be structured in a similar manner to the structure of the paper that it represents. The main sections are:

  1. Title page (done according to the required formatting style)
  2. Outline of the PPT (done accordingly with the paper structure)
  3. Main points of the research (approximately 1 slide per point)
  4. Conclusion
  5. Reference slide (if required)
  6. Speaker’s notes.
  • Must include both visual elements (graphs, pictures, charts, etc.) and text (short paragraphs, bullet points, tables).
  • Background must be creative and correspond to the subject of PPT.
  • Pictures must be of good quality.
  • Format must correspond to the standards of chosen formatting style (APA, MLA, etc.), which concerns title and reference pages, in-text citations/footnotes, subheadings, etc.
  • May include also musical elements and videos.



Article is a written composition, aiming to describe and analyze some particular events. In most cases, it includes a breadth of theoretical and practical generalizations, in-depth analysis of facts and events, a clear social orientation.




  • literature review
  • hypotheses
  • key words


  • subjects of the research
  • procedures and instruments


  • received outcomes
  • statistical significance of results


  • evaluation of results and if they confirm the hypotheses
  • discussion of study limitations
  • suggestions for future studies


  • Must be based on research outcomes.
  • Often published in academic journals and required for Ph.D. level holder.
  • An author should elaborate on the topic from different perspectives.
  • Only scholarly sources are acceptable, using websites as references is inappropriate.


Article critique

Article critique is an objective analysis of a literary or scientific article with an emphasis on whether the author supported his/her main points with reasonable and applicable arguments based on facts.




  • title of the article
  • author
  • thesis statement


  • brief summary of the content


  • most important conclusions about the text
  • strengths and weaknesses of certain points
  • recommendations for improvements


  • restatement of author’s opinion
  • brief recommendations
  • explanation of judgement


  • Not a summary, but an evaluation and commentary regarding its content.
  • Key sentences: ‘This article shows…’, ‘According to the author’s position,…’, ‘As demonstrated in the research…’, etc.
  • Summarizing and paraphrasing are the main techniques to complete an article critique.
  • ‘References’ section should always include the article itself and outside sources if there are any.


Annotated bibliography

Annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. Its purpose is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.



  1. Title should be ‘Annotated Bibliography’ formatted according to the requirements
  2. Reference
  3. Annotation
  4. Reference list
    1. There are 3 types of annotated bibliography:
  • Informative (brief summary of the source, thesis of the work, arguments or hypothesis, proofs and a brief conclusion)
  • Evaluative (assessment of the source's strengths and weaknesses in terms of usefulness and quality)
  • Combination (summary of the topic and evaluation of the source's usefulness)
  1. Sources should be formatted in accordance with the required formatting style (i.e., APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) and be listed alphabetically.
  2. No in-text citations are acceptable.
  3. Annotations usually are not more than 150 words in length.


Reaction paper

Reaction paper is a type of assignment that asks a student to provide a response and evaluation of the book read, film watched, etc. A student needs to provide personal attitude regarding a particular work and think of the ways in which it could be improved.



Brief summary of the material

Thesis statement:

  • the main idea argued for/against
  • emphasis
  • point of view


  • comparison of work with similar ones
  • ways in which it could be improved
  • suggestions for expanding the work
  • arguments for/against
  • strengths/weaknesses


  • Length is not more than 5 pages.
  • Real-life examples are acceptable for supporting arguments presented in the paper.
  • Bibliography page should include a reference to the book/film/video the paper is written about.



Dissertation is a required part of doctoral study, the final hurdle in completing a PhD or other doctoral degree. It is expected to make a new and creative contribution to a field of study and to demonstrate the student's expertise.



Structure & Peculiarities

Thesis Proposal


Statement of what the thesis will be about, what type of research will be carried out, and what sort of problem will be solved with the help of it.

Consists of:

  • introduction/thesis
  • problem statement
  • background
  • purpose
  • theoretical framework
  • significance
  • brief outline of methodology
  • dissertation structure
  • possible research outcomes
  • open questions
  • references

Other sections may be added upon request.


Brief summary of the dissertation; an overview of the research study including the conclusions.

  • Found at the beginning of a dissertation right after the title page.
  • Of optional length (usually 150-250 words).
  • Consists of:
  • study background and significance
  • components of the research strategy
  • findings
  • concluding remarks


Chapter-link to other sections of the writing, an introduction to the research.

  • Connects the present research with what has gone before.
  • Justifies it.
  • Identifies its aims.
  • Leads into the main text.
  • May be several pages long.

Literature Review

Extensive reference to related research and theory in the field.

  • Identifies the sources used to back up the research
  • Consists of:
    • Introduction (identifying the topic, establishing your position, reviewing the literature, outlining the review)
    • Body (organizing literature, providing insight between specific and general areas of research, moving from general view of literature to a specific focus of research)
      • Conclusion (summarizing the points of lit. review, evaluating the current state of literature, outlining areas for future studies, linking research to the existing knowledge)


Systematic, theoretical analysis of the methods applied to a field of study. It comprises the theoretical analysis of the body of methods and principles associated with a branch of knowledge.

Consists of:

  • problem
  • approach
  • reproducibility
  • precedence
  • justification
  • rationale
  • reliability and validity
  • sampling
  • appendix
  • generalization


Experimental results, including any statistical analysis and whether the results of these are significant.

  • Every result included must have a method set out in the ‘Methodology’ section.
  • Results have to be well presented, i.e. in figures, tables, graphs or text.
  • Statistical tests should include details of values or confidence intervals and limits.


Final part of the dissertation; review of findings in the context of sources presented in the lit. review and of implications of the received findings for practice.

  • Interprets and explains the received results
  • Answers the research question
  • Justifies an approach
  • Makes a critical evaluation of the study


Rewriting and Editing





Complete rewriting of the content of the paper in different words.

Editing the paper, which means to make it grammatically correct, formatted according to the requirements, revised according to the comments.



  • Content of the final paper must not be different from the original one.
  • No new information must be added.
  • There might some specific requirements, but they do not imply adding any new details.


  • Basically, it is retelling the same text but in different words.
  • Structure of the rewritten paper must not differ from the original version unless the instructions say to shorten/expand the text.
  • Formatting and proofreading are required.
  • Structure of the original paper can be slightly changed (some paragraphs might be shifted or copied and pasted in a different section).
  • Formatting and proofreading are required.
  • Only grammar and punctuation must be corrected.
  • No formatting is required.