Answered By: Paul Lai
Last Updated: Jul 17, 2023     Views: 4404

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.

Paragraphing tips

To create strong paragraphs, consider the following:

  • 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.
  • Connect your ideas to one another within the paragraph. Use strong transitions and connecting words to show how your ideas are related.

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
  • A—Analysis
  • L—Lead out or concluding sentence

See "What is the MEAL plan?"

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.


Additional Resources:


Further Questions?

Would you like a current or future assignment to be reviewed by the Writing Center?  If so please visit the Writing Center's Paper Review Website and make an appointment with us! 

Do you have other general writing questions? Ask OASIS

Other questions about your doctoral capstone or the Form & Style review? E-mail the Dissertation Editors at [email protected].

Want to peruse other writing resources? Go to the Writing Center’s homepage

Related Topics

More Information

Need more information? Ask us!

Or browse Quick Answers by Topic.