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Cohesion and Flow: Bringing Your Paper Together with Jessica Barron Writing Consultant Walden University. Session Overview. Importance of cohesion and flow Techniques, tools, and language to use Tips for evaluating your own work. What are cohesion and flow ?.

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Cohesion and Flow:Bringing Your Paper TogetherwithJessica BarronWriting ConsultantWalden University


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Session Overview

  • Importance of cohesion and flow

  • Techniques, tools, and language to use

  • Tips for evaluating your own work


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What are cohesion and flow?

From Merriam-Webster’s Online:

  • Cohesion: “the act or state of sticking together tightly”

  • Flow: “a smooth uninterrupted movement or progress”

    • In academic writing, this means writing a focused work (“sticking together”) that progresses naturally from idea to idea (“smooth movement”).


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Why do they matter?

As an academic writer, you want to create a paper that is

  • easy to understand,

  • logically ordered, and

  • enjoyable to read.


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Example Paragraph #1

I went to the market. I got a bunch of apples. I went to the park. I like birds. Birds eat worms and sometimes berries. There are many different types of birds like blue jays, hawks, and pigeons. I like to feed pigeons and sit down. My back hurt. I go to the doctor.

Problems

What is the focus? Is it the market? The park? Birds?

Short, clunky sentences

No relationship between sentences/events

Verb tense shifts


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Revised Example Paragraph #1

I had a rather eventful day. First, I went to the market, where I picked up a bunch of fresh apples. Next, I walked to the park and sat down on a bench to feed the pigeons. When I stood up again, my back began to hurt, so I took a cab to the doctor’s office.

Solutions

Establish topic/focus of paragraph

Use time cues as transitions

Vary sentence structure and length

Eliminate unnecessary information (birds)


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Example Paragraph #2

Cook (2010) supported the idea of differentiated instruction. Jones (2007) stated that students work best by rote memorization. Educators should focus on teaching to the individual needs and abilities of their students. Some students will slip through the cracks. Applying varied strategies in the classroom helps “encourage each student’s potential without the need for traditional intervention” (Nygaard, 2010, p. 64).

Problems

Buried topic sentence

No relationship between researchers’ ideas

Casual language

No closing sentence


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Revised Example Paragraph #2

Educators should focus on teaching to the individual needs and abilities of their students. Cook (2010), for instance, supported the idea of differentiated instruction. Though Jones (2007) stated that students work best by rote memorization, recent research has shown that some students do not respond well to this style of teaching. Instead, teachers need to apply varied strategies in the classroom to help “encourage each student’s potential without the need for traditional intervention” (Nygaard, 2010, p. 64). Such strategies meet each student’s individual learning style and pair low achievers with high achievers to promote sharing and collaboration.

Solutions

Move topic sentence to first position Include transitional expressions

Maintain formal scholarly voice Close idea of paragraph and hint at the next idea


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Before you write...

  • ...organize your research,

  • determine your thesis, and

  • outline your paper


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Organizing Your Research

  • Take notes while reading

  • Categorize

  • Use organizational tools

    • Matrices (examples found here: http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/50.htm)

    • Electronic note cards and prewriting tools (see http://waldenwritingcenter.blogspot.com/2010/12/organize-organize-organize.html and http://waldenwritingcenter.blogspot.com/2011/05/demystifying-prewriting-yeah-theres-app.html)


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Constructing Your Thesis

Thesis: “a position or proposition that a person…advances and offers to maintain by argument” (Merriam-Webster, 2011)

  • Examine your research categories to discover what they collectively suggest.

  • This suggestion will inform your thesis.

    Sample: The SAT test’s cultural insensitivity contributes to low scores among male minority students.


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Constructing Your Thesis

  • Use this thesis to focus the text and guide organization.

  • You’ll need to effectively prove the argument through examination of research.

Anything that doesn’t work toward the thesis doesn’t belong in the paper.


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Outlining Your Paper

  • Offers visual representation of your paper

  • Allows you to map out the progression of your argument

  • Order by major elements: Introduction, body of the paper, and conclusion

  • Use headings to organize body


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Creating an Outline

Definition of the disposition

Addressing other dispositions

Refuting other dispositions as more significant

Impacts on teacher flexibility and instruction

THESIS: Disposition 3 is the most significant for teachers to model.

Enhances student achievement

Personal classroom experience

Positive changes to curriculum based on disposition


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Outlining Your Paper

  • Introduction

    • Background and Definitions

    • Thesis

  • Impact on Student Achievement

    • Subtopic A

    • Subtopic B

  • Impact on Teachers and Curriculum

    • Subtopic C

    • Subtopic D

  • Counterarguments

    • Subtopic E

    • Subtopic F

  • Conclusion

    • Restatement of thesis

    • Interesting thought

Provide context and establish argument

Subtopics expand on the general topic of the heading

Provide closure, ensure cohesion!


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As you write...

  • ...focus on local elements of your paper that will create cohesion:

    • Paragraph structure and organization

    • Use of transitions

    • Language choices


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Paragraphing

  • A paper is a collection of paragraphs

    • Be strategic when creating paragraphs

      • Categorize information

      • Support with evidence

    • Create a funnel shape for each paragraph


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Paragraph Structure

1. What you put in the top of the funnel must relate to what comes before it. Use this opening sentence to introduce an idea, like a miniature thesis for the paragraph.

2. Follow your topic sentence with scholarly support and start to narrow the topic with this evidence.

4. What comes out of the funnel should conclude the topic of that paragraph and lead into the next.

3. Analyze your evidence to narrow your topic even more and contextualize it within that paragraph.


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MEAL Plan

Main Idea

Evidence

Analysis

Lead Out

  • http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/900.htm


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Paragraph Connections

  • How do the paragraphs relate?

    • Add onto the previous one?

    • Contradict the previous paragraph’s argument?

    • Conclude an entire section of paragraphs?



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Transitions Between Paragraphs

  • Note the relationship between two or more paragraphs

    ... Jones (2009) confirmed that the store manager had no future plans to provide apples to his patrons.

    While apples were no longer available, oranges were still an option at Market X. They are not as popular of a fruit, according to...


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Transitions Within Paragraphs

  • Note relationships between sentences within a paragraph

    Without a transition:

    Jones (2009) found that pigeons were dirty animals. Fillmore (2006) stated that pigeons made great pets.


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Transitions Within Paragraphs

With a transition:

Chronological:

Jones (2009) found that pigeons were dirty animals. Previously, Fillmore (2006) stated that pigeons made great pets.

Contradictory:

Jones (2009) found that pigeons were dirty animals. On the other hand, Fillmore (2006) stated that pigeons made great pets.

Concession:

Jones (2009) found that pigeons were dirty animals. Nevertheless, Fillmore (2006) stated that pigeons made great pets.


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Transition Tips

  • Do not overuse transitions, either in word choice or frequency

    Additionally, the author found....Also, he discovered....Furthermore, the study noted...Moreover, the results displayed...Finally, the article...

  • List of transitional terms and techniques: http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/js/502.htm


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Language and Word Choice

  • Importance of consistent language

    • Papers with multiple authors

    • Longer documents written sporadically

  • Avoid intensifiers, colloquialisms, and clichés

  • Links to scholarly writing handouts: http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/js/798.htm


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After you write...

  • ...how do you know if it flows?


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After you write...

  • Reading aloud

    • Halts/stops

    • Audience reactions

  • Reviewing visually

    • Balance

      • Use of headings

      • Paragraph/section length


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Questions

Thanks for joining us this evening!

  • Use the Question box to ask for clarification

  • All of the resources discussed in this presentation can be found on our Scholarly Writing page: http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/312.htm


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Resources

  • Walden Library: http://library.waldenu.edu/

  • Residencies: http://residencies.waldenu.edu/

  • Center for Research Support: http://researchcenter.waldenu.edu/


Contact information email the writing center anytime at writingsupport@waldenu edu l.jpg

Contact Information:Email the Writing Center anytime at [email protected]


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