Answered By: Rachel Willard Last Updated: Aug 09, 2015 Views: 655
A paragraph should thoroughly explore one idea or aspect of a topic. Paragraphs in academic writing are usually a minimum of 4-6 sentences long with a clear focus, evidence, analysis, and mini conclusion.
To create strong paragraphs, consider the following:
- Use strong topic sentences that clearly preview the paragraph’s topic.
- See some tips on using strong topic sentences.
- Discuss one topic at a time. When the topic shifts, the paragraph should shift as well.
- Use evidence to support or negate your ideas, and clearly analyze and discuss the evidence.
- See some tips on using evidence.
- Connect your ideas to one another within the paragraph. Use strong transitions and connecting words to show how your ideas are related.
- Use these transition examples to help create flow in your paragraph.
The MEAL Plan
Additionally, follow the MEAL plan to help you fully develop your paragraphs:
- M—Main idea or topic sentence
- E—Evidence or source information
- L—Lead out or concluding sentence
Make a mini outline for each paragraph. This process will allow you to more clearly visualize the progression of ideas in your paragraph as you support your topic sentence and move the reader toward the next paragraph.
- View the Writing Center's paragraphs webpage and subsequent resources for more tips on effective paragraphs.
- Review the recorded webinar "Writing Effective Academic Paragraphs" for further examples of paragraphs using the MEAL plan.
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Want to peruse other writing resources? Go to the Writing Center’s homepage.