How Students Should Structure Their Writing

Academic writing makes up a huge portion of modern students’ lives. This kind of assignment is widely used in schools and colleges everywhere in the world to help students develop core skills and test their knowledge.

Although this form of task is so common, it’s not easy at all. According to students themselves, academic papers are something they struggle with the most while acquiring their education. Such tasks are incredibly time-consuming and require solid knowledge and skills. And at the same time, they have a huge impact on your final grade. So, there is no way to avoid them.

An easy way to tackle numerous academic papers is to get professional help. These days, students can easily buy essay of any kind and on any topic, thus saving their time and ensuring a high grade. This is a simple yet effective solution to the problem. But, since essays are also often a part of exams during which you can’t rely on external help, it’s crucial that you learn to cope with them on your own. So, read on to find out how to do this!

Common Structures in Academic Papers

If you want to learn how to handle any type of writing assignment with ease, the main thing you should master is structure. So, this is what our guide will be about.

It’s not hard to guess that the structure of every particular paper should depend on the specific type of assignment you were given. That’s true. Different papers can have different must-have sections. However, in general, all academic papers follow one of the two most common structures:

The Three-Part Structure

This is the most basic way to write an academic paper. As you can say from its name, this type of structure consists of three main elements:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

This kind of composition is widely used in essays. Since these often are short pieces of text, essays look the most appropriate and full when they follow this construction. So, if you are assigned to craft an essay, chances are that you will have to include the elements mentioned above.

The length of the text, however, can vary. Depending on the discipline, academic level, and other factors, essays can be as short as 200-300 words or get longer than 1,000. Depending on the required length, the three parts of your work can consist of a different number of paragraphs. But, most often, every section is 1-3 paragraphs long. However, in longer assignments, you can have every part several pages long too.

The IMRaD Structure

The second common structure in academic writing is called IMRaD, which stands for the sections it consists of:

  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion

As you can see, this composition is much more thorough and complex. Due to its complex nature, this construction is widely used for different planned, systematic, and empirical research in different areas of study, including social and natural sciences, engineering, etc.

This structure is not typically applied to simpler assignments like essays. However, when it comes to more complex tasks like lab reports, research papers, coursework, dissertations, and similar, the IMRaD method is the most widely used composition.

How to Know Which Structure You Should Use

How to Know Which Structure You Should Use

As was mentioned earlier, the two types of composition are generally used for different types of tasks. In general terms, you could say that the three-part structure is applied to short papers, and the IMRaD method is applied to more complex, longer tasks. However, that’s not a strict rule.

In the academic world, there are plenty of exceptions. Different departments and disciplines may require students to stick to a specific construction regardless of the type of task they are working on. Thus, even a simple essay can sometimes use the IMRaD construction, even if the sections are not titled.

So, how do you know for sure what is expected of you?

The best way to figure this out is to read the provided guidelines thoroughly before you get to completing the assignment. If the guidelines are unclear or missing, you can also double-check this matter with your instructor. By doing so, you can rest assured that you will get the task right and do everything possible to receive a deserved high grade.

Other Structural Elements in Academic Papers

So, we’ve already told you about the most common compositions in academic writing and how to define what exactly is expected of you. But is there anything else you need to know? In fact, yes.

Apart from the introduction, body, and conclusion (in the three-part construction) or the introduction, methods, results, and discussion (in the IMRaD construction), there are other structural elements too.

1. Title page

This is the first page that follows before the introduction and provides such details as the title, author’s name, course number, deadline, professor, etc. The contents of this page can vary depending on different factors, so it’s good to check this with your professor.

2. Title

The title is inherent in every kind of work and serves two key purposes – to engage the reader and tell them what the paper will be about.

3. Abstract

This is often an optional element. An abstract is basically a brief summary of the work’s contents and thesis. It is used by readers to understand whether a particular text is relevant to them or not.

4. Table of contents

This element can be used in longer works to indicate the sections and chapters and make the navigation simpler for readers.

5. Reference list

The last section is used to make references to external resources used in the process of writing. This page should be structured according to the assigned reference style. It’s crucial to check this with your instructor too.


So, this is how you should structure your writing for school or college. Hopefully, this guide will help you grasp the construction of academic writing and help you handle your assignments with ease!