The essay format

The term essay is used in a wide sense at university, and can refer to anything from a brief paper to a long degree project. The information below mainly refers to undergraduate-level essays.

Here we focus on argumentative essays, but there are other types of essay too, such as narrative and descriptive essays. You therefore need to check with your teacher what kind of text you are expected to write.

Developing an understanding of how to write your essay

Whichever format you write in, you need to have an idea of what information you are expected to present in each section of your essay, as well as how you are expected to present that information. If you have access to old student essays in your field and from your department, you can study their structure in order to identify what is said where in the text.

At university, there are two common types of essay structure, the IMRaD format and the three-part essay format:


IMRaD format

IMRaD stands for Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion, and this is a common format for research articles. If you are going to write an essay based on the IMRaD format, read more here:

Three-part essay format

Essays consisting of an introduction, main body, and conclusion are often referred to as three-part essays. Read more about that type of essay structure here:

Writing your degree project?

One way of gaining an understanding of text structure is to read previous articles, essays, or other relevant text types. At Lund University, users can access a large number of research journals in all disciplines through LUBSearch, via the LU Libraries:

Publications by LU researchers can be found in the LU Research portal:

BA degree projects and MA theses from LU can be accessed via the LUP Student papers:

The writing process

Essays take time to write. Learn how to plan your writing, carry out your writing, and revise your writing:

The writing process


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