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"Writing an Academic Paragraph"

Being able to write a well-written academic paragraph can be an underrated skill. If an author maps the thesis statement and major claims of an essay but doesn’t outline how those claims will be argued within the paragraphs, the author may not stay on topic while writing them. Without a plan, it’s easy to end up with wordy paragraphs that are difficult to understand and that don’t sufficiently demonstrate the author’s critical thinking. All it takes is one distracting idea during the writing of the paragraph to take the discussion in an unrelated and unhelpful direction that can affect the rest of the essay.

To help students stay on track in their writing, I encourage them to plan how they’ll present the following elements in each body paragraph of their work: topic sentence with the argument or claim of the paragraph, evidence, analysis, conclusion, and transition. I recently completed a major revision of “Writing an Academic Paragraph”, which is a 19-minute long video that explains each of those elements, what function they have within a paragraph, and how they serve to support the overall discussion of the essay. The previous version was a Collaborate recording, but the new and improved version is a narrated video with an updated presentation, new information, and better examples. If you’d like to learn more about paragraphing, or you’re curious to see the new version, please give it a try! The video and links to its sections are also via Paragraphs. While you’re watching the video, click on “Menu” to see the slide navigation. Clicking on “Notes” when the menu is visible will take you to the transcript for each slide.

If you have any questions about the video, paragraphing, or any other writing-related topic, please contact the Writing Centre.

Theresa Bell
Manager, Blended Learning Success

(Originally pulblished in Crossroads August 26, 2015)