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The language of the question, especially the directive (task) words, will indicate the type of essay and suggest an appropriate structure to follow in your essay.More information on directive words is contained in the QUT cite|write booklet (PDF, 726KB). The most logical way to approach a multi-part assignment is to address each part of the task in the order that it is stated on the assignment task sheet.
The QUT cite|write booklet (PDF, 726KB) contains information on critical thinking.
Before you start, it is important to understand what type of essay you are required to write.
Examples of this type of essay include questions which ask you to take a position on a topic, such as a particular decision or policy, and present arguments which support your position.
An effective way to argue a point can be to present the opposing view first then counter this view with stronger evidence.
Examples of this type of essay include questions which ask you to state or investigate the effects or outline the causes of the topic.
This may be, for example, an historical event, the implementation of a policy, a medical condition or a natural disaster.
These essays may be structured in one of two ways: either the causes(s) of a situation may be discussed first followed by the effect(s), or the effect(s) could come first with the discussion working back to outline the cause(s).
Sometimes with cause and effect essays you are required to give an assessment of the overall effects e.g. Space must be allocated for this assessment in your structure.
The first sentence of each section of the assignment should be a direct response to each part of the task. Examples of this include questions which ask you to discuss, analyse, investigate, explore or review.
In an analytical structure you are required to break the topic into its different components and discuss these in separate paragraphs or sections, demonstrating balance where possible.