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Sandwich Method Writing Essay

Writing an academic essay means fabricating a coherent set of ideas. To line up those ideas in a perfect manner in order to make sense and reflect your knowledge and personality can be a daunting task. But there is an easy way out. Most of you must have heard of an analogy ‘an essay is like a sandwich’. So while writing an essay, you just need to visualize a sandwich.

Structure of an essay

Like a sandwich, essay also follows a three-layered structure (upper, middle and lower) discussed below:


It is a brief general statement that leads the readers into the topic, showing how the specific issue relates to bigger or to the disciplinary field. It is like a map that readers consult before initiating the reading jou

Main body

It consists of two or more paragraphs that deliberate ideas and arguments with illustrations or examples. These paragraphs must be linked together in order to connect those ideas.


It is considered to be a shadow of a huge tree. The readers should see the outline of the huge tree but not the whole tree. It incorporates the summary of the main points of your arguments. 

The three layers of an essay

We all know sandwiches attract our taste buds by their appetizing appearance. Similarly, the three-paragraph should be presented in an interesting manner to grab the reader’s attention.

Let’s now take a tasty ride into the three layers of essay in a detailed manner,

Top slice

As you reckon, the top piece of your sandwich is always little thin. So should be your essay introduction too. The very first paragraph of essay should follow certain specifications:

  1. The writer should understand the topic first before presenting it to the readers
  2. Introduction is the opening that frames the subject of the paragraph
  3. It must give reasons to the reader to continue reading further. For example, for a paper on top strategies to find a job, your introduction line should be, “Network is one of the most effective ways to find a new job.” This opening line introduces the topic of job networking and leaves the reader with a question, ‘Why?’


eath your top slice of bread is the filling of bread. The filling of your essay should be supported by the expanded version of the ideas you present in the opening sentences. Here are some regulations while constructing the main body:

  1. The second layer of your essay should follow story writing style but must be concise and to the point
  2. Following the sandwich method, the main body of an essay should built interest in the readers to remain involved in reading like a spicy patty of a sandwich
  3. Effective ideas should be introduced in this paragraph
  4. Your ideas and concepts should be backed by minute details and examples related to the main topic of the essay
  5. The trail of paragraphs should be written in such a manner that it excites the readers to link those ideas and draw a big picture.

Bottom Slice

This part is the base layer of the essay. This should be written strongly to demonstrate the main purpose of writing the whole essay. You should follow some standards to write your conclusion:

  1. Pull all the information together for the readers by summarizing the content of the previous paragraphs
  2. Restate the topic and remind its importance to the audience
  3. It should consist of the key elements of the topic. Taking the same networking example, your conclusion should be, ‘While you have the choice of using other methods as well, networking is proven to work most effectively because of the personal connection to an employer.’

Critical analysis of sandwich style essay writing

Though sandwich essay method is the best way to write an essay properly, there are some critics who don’t believe in the sandwich idea of essay writing. The reason is they anticipate its failure in terms of essay construction. According to their perspective, at some extent following a certain patte
of sandwich idea can confine the creativity of essay writers. In contrary, SAT (the standardized test for college) informs that they are looking for clear and concise essay that can be swiftly achieved by sandwich method of essay writing. After reviewing both the sides, it becomes pretty confusing for us to implement the sandwich method. But you have to admit that sandwich method is a good way of writing an effective essay.

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It is important that the majority of your writing in a research paper is YOURS. Even if you are citing your sources, the general rule is that 2/3 of the words in your research assignments should be your own. If your paper consists of nothing but quotes, you are not demonstrating that you understand the material nor are you providing your own analysis of that material. One writing method you can follow to help you do this is called the hamburger paragraph.


Hamburger Paragraph:

Some instructors will call this the sandwich paragraph method or even the Oreo method (which you may have heard before). Keep in mind that this method applies to body paragraphs, which are basically any paragraph in a paper other than the introduction and conclusion paragraphs. 

Here are the parts for an effective hamburger (or veggie burger) paragraph:

1)    Top bun: The topic sentence, or argument. The first sentence of a paragraph should clearly state the paragraph’s main idea.

2)   Condiments: Your evidence (quotes & paraphrased information from your sources). When using quotes, remember that a little goes a long way!

 3)   Cheese, pickles, onions, lettuce, tomato, burger: Your analysis. The bulk of the paragraph! This is where you explain the significance of the evidence in your own words. This section is crucial to your paragraph. Don't get caught in a quote trap. Which is stringing quotes together without explaining their purpose. If you do not back up your quotes or paraphrased information, your writing will be weak and your reader (which at TCC is your teacher) will not be convinced that you understand the material you are writing about.  

4)   Bottom bun: Sentence relating the paragraph back to the thesis statement and transitioning to the next body paragraph.

 Here's a diagram to illustrate the concept: 

Persson, M. (2013, April 28). Paragraph burger [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFOUGLmmn1w


Here is another example of a simple "evidence sandwich" paragraph in the middle of a research paper that paraphrases information about using social media in the classroom. If you were to use a direct quote instead of paraphrasing, this is where you would want to place the quote. 


  • You can use variations on this formula.  For example, you could make this paragraph longer by including more analysis of the researchers’ findings.

  • Or you could include a second piece of evidence (more filling!) to further back up your point.  If you add more filling, you might want to balance it by adding another slice of bread, too (that is, more of your own analysis).

Not every paragraph in your paper has to follow this formula, or even necessarily include outside evidence.  But this is a classic formula that can serve you well throughout your college career. Just remember, you can't just plop a quote into a paragraph and move on - you must explain what the quote means or why the information is important in your own words - this is your analysis. Don't use quotes to fill space. Adding information into your paper should do just that, ADD to it - compliment it. Don't include useless information, but be picky and use quotes only when you intend to talk about what they mean and why they matter to your argument! 


And again, making sure you correctly paraphrase, quote, summarize and CITE is key to avoiding plagiarism!

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