Structuring Your Writing
It is important to use language in academic writing that signposts the flow of an argument and shows how the different parts of the assignment fit together. These useful phrases are referred to as transitional phrases, signposting or connecting words - they help to control your argument and allow the reader to understand the way you have structured your assignment.
Structuring your Paragraphs
Properly constructed paragraphs are the foundations upon which academic writing is built. They help you to focus and clarify your argument as you write and they help the reader to understand the topic by dividing it logically into sections. They also help the argument and ideas to flow coherently and persuasively. As with punctuation, the key word here is “help” : they help you to express as clearly as possible what you want to say, and the reader to follow your intended meaning.
Academic paragraphs share certain key features as follows –
It follows from this that paragraphs which are too short will not allow you to develop your argument in sufficient depth or detail. Conversely, overly lengthy paragraphs run the risk of being rambling and unfocused, and would probably benefit from being further divided into distinct topics. Tutor feedback suggests that these are two very common pitfalls.
John Seely (Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation, 2009) proposes that a typical paragraph has three sections. This is a useful way of thinking about your paragraphs :
1:1 bookable appointments can be made with your Academic Skills Advisers for your subject area.
Students from Ipswich can book two appointments per week (if you are a student from the Learning Network, please contact your library) -
Appointments are scheduled in 30 minute slots.