Writing in the social sciences building strong paragraphs writing with coherence
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Writing in the Social Sciences Building Strong Paragraphs: Writing With Coherence. Creed Greer University Writing Program Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication. Paragraphs and Coherence. Logic

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Writing in the Social Sciences Building Strong Paragraphs: Writing With Coherence

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Writing in the Social SciencesBuilding Strong Paragraphs: Writing With Coherence

Creed Greer

University Writing Program

Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication

Paragraphs and Coherence


Visual Layout: Artificial units of print that you create on the page to make units of meaning accessible (external logic)

Logical Structure: Cohesive units that you construct to advance a persuasive argument (internal logic)

Paragraphs and Coherence

Paragraph Length

Dependent on the issue and the document length.

Parcel the information into manageable units, breaking long paragraphs at logical points.

Paragraph often for easy access to information and visual appeal.

Paragraphs and Coherence

Focus and Development

Revise to make each paragraph unified and focused on a single issue.

Within sections, paragraphs should build logically on one another to develop your ideas smoothly.

Paragraphs and Coherence


You should almost always place the main issue or topic at the beginning of the paragraph as scaffolding.

After this initial definition of the main issue, provide the discussion and supporting details.

End the paragraph with a resolution. (A transition to the next paragraph can be helpful, though the transition usually occurs at the beginning of the subsequent paragraph.)

Paragraphs and Coherence


Connect sentences using

Transitional words and phrases

Repetition of key words

Pronouns or reference words (this, these, such)

Paragraphs and Coherence

Transitional Words and Phrases

We will not meet our target date for implementing the new system because the two departments have failed to coordinate with one another. Also, our vendors failed to ship equipment on time. However, we can be operational by March 15 if we take thefollowing three steps immediately.

Paragraphs and Coherence

Transitional Words and Phrases

I don’t wish to deny that the flattened, minuscule head of the large-bodied "stegosaurus" houses little brain from our subjective, top-heavy perspective, BUT I do wish to assert that we should not expect more of the beast. FIRST OF ALL, large animals have relatively smaller brains than related, small animals. The correlation of brain size with body size among kindred animals (all reptiles, all mammals, FOR EXAMPLE) is remarkably regular. AS we move from small to large animals, from mice to elephants or small lizards to Komodo dragons, brain size increases, BUT not so fast as body size. IN OTHER WORDS, bodies grow faster than brains, AND large animals have low ratios of brain weight to body weight. IN FACT, brains grow only about two-thirds as fast as bodies. SINCE we have no reason to believe that large animals are consistently stupider than their smaller relatives, we must conclude that large animals require relatively less brain to do as well as smaller animals. IF we do not recognize this relationship, we are likely to underestimate the mental power of very large animals, dinosaurs in particular.

Stephen Jay Gould, “Were Dinosaurs Dumb?”

Paragraphs and Coherence

Repetition of Key Words

Quality problems in production are often the result of inferior raw materials. Some companies have strong programs for ensuring the quality of incoming production materials and supplies. These programs.

Paragraphs and Coherence

Use of pronouns or reference words (this, these, such)

SocioWweb has a three-point program to assist scholars. This program includes written specifications of research methods and materials.

As production increased, employees were given a bonus in the form of cash, vacation days, or company stock. This became a real incentive to employees. (unclear referent)

Workshops can help employees recognize and avoid sexual harassment at work. This can foster a more harmonious work environment. (vague referent)

Paragraphs and Coherence

Essay Coherence: Connections Between Paragraphs

Create logical connections between sentences and paragraphs to guide your reader through your thinking and show relationships.

Transitional words, sentences, and paragraphs flag a progression or shift in thought.

Transitional sentences usually summarize what has gone before the paragraph and anticipate what is to come.

e.g..: Although the proposal has several clear disadvantages, it also has the following significant advantages.

Paragraphs and Coherence

Essay Coherence: Connections Between Paragraphs

Use signposts/cues to establish the logical relationships:

Cues signaling additional information

Cues signaling chronological development

Cues signaling contrast or difference

Cues that add details or emphasis

Cues that sum up or conclude

Paragraphs and Coherence

Essay Coherence: Signposts

  • Chronology

  • Soon

  • Afterwards

  • Finally

  • Then

  • Previously

  • Formerly

  • Next

  • Immediately

Additional Info






What’s more


In addition

Equally important




In conclusion


On the whole

As a result


In brief



In fact

For example

For instance

To illustrate


In other words

In short


That is






In contrast



On the other hand


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