How to Structure and Organize Your Essays


The Difference Between Structure and Organization

· Structure simply means that each individual paragraph does what it is supposed to do.

· As far as what is a paragraph supposed to do, it depends what type of paragraph it is.

· The types of paragraphs are as follows:

a)     The introductory paragraph.

b)    The body paragraphs.

c)     The concluding paragraph.


Basically, it is important to make certain that:

· The introductory paragraph does its job.

· The body paragraphs do their job.

· The concluding paragraph does its job.

· For a one page handout that explains exactly what each paragraph must do, see "The 5 Paragraph Essay Format."


· Organization has to do with the order in which body paragraphs appear.

· Everything located between the first paragraph and last paragraph is a body paragraph.

· Essays are mostly made up of body paragraphs.

· Organization is how the information is ordered. In your essay you make a number of claims and provide much information that supports those claims. How you order claims and information is organization.


· You are writing a paper on the current state of research on human cloning.

· You decide to include two paragraphs of background information on the history of cloning research.

· The two paragraphs appear on page four of your five page paper.

Your professor suggests that the organization requires revision because there is an abrupt shift in the essay's narrative. In other words, after almost four full pages about the current state of cloning research, the paper shifts into two paragraphs on history.

The inclusion of history is fine, but perhaps it should be included at the beginning of the paper, so that your narrative moves from the early days of cloning research to the current state of cloning research.

It is the same information, but ordered differently, which is a matter of organization.




· Structure: each individual paragraph does what it is supposed to do. Again, see "The 5 Paragraph Essay Format," which is accessible from the “Handouts” sidebar.


· Organization: It is how you order the information.