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11 Cohesion and Flow: Bringing Your Paper Together Rachel Grammer Writing Tutor.

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Presentation on theme: "11 Cohesion and Flow: Bringing Your Paper Together Rachel Grammer Writing Tutor."— Presentation transcript:

1 11 Cohesion and Flow: Bringing Your Paper Together Rachel Grammer Writing Tutor

2 22 Session Overview Importance of cohesion and flow Techniques, tools, and language to use – Focusing ideas – Thesis development – Outlining Tips for evaluating your own work

3 33 Housekeeping Issues Questions Recording:

4 44 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”).

5 55 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.

6 66 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

7 77 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)

8 88 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

9 99 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

10 10 Before you write... …focus your thoughts, determine your thesis, and outline your paper

11 11 Focus Your Thoughts Read carefully Take notes Determine purpose Determine particulars Determine strongest ideas

12 12 Constructing Your Thesis Thesis: “a position or proposition that a person…advances and offers to maintain by argument” (Merriam-Webster, 2011) Examine your ideas or notes 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.

13 13 Constructing Your Thesis: Example Prompt Discussion post question: “Should colleges admit female minority students with lower SAT scores than their peers who belong to the majority?” Providing two clear reasons, explain why or why not. Sample Position: The SAT test’s cultural insensitivity contributes to low scores among female minority students

14 14 Constructing Your Thesis: Example Notes SAT questions have been skewed toward experience of middle class white Americans (Hykerman, 2009). – Sample SAT question that highlights this claim. A larger percentage of minority students are in a position of low socioeconomic status and, as a result, cannot afford the same SAT prep programs as many within the majority (Smith, 2012). – Statistical example (over x percent of minority students taking SAT are below poverty line.) Recent statistics reveal that the SAT is a less accurate indicator of female collegiate success than grade point average and extracurricular activities (Snyder, 2012) – Statistics concerning relationship of GPA and success, etc.

15 15 Constructing Your Thesis: Example Thesis “Because current SAT questions are skewed to reflect white, middle class life experience and are often an inaccurate indicator of academic success, colleges should admit female minority students with lower SAT scores than their peers who belong to the social majority.”

16 16 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.

17 17 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

18 18 Outline Thesis Main points Evidence

19 19 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 !

20 20 As you write......focus on local elements of your paper that will create cohesion: – Paragraph structure and organization – Use of transitions – Language choices

21 21 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

22 22 MEAL Plan Main Idea Evidence Analysis Lead Out

23 23 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.

24 24 Paragraph Connecti ons How do the paragraphs relate? – Add onto the previous one? – Contradict the previous paragraph’s argument? – Conclude an entire section of paragraphs?

25 25 Types of Transitions RelationshipTerm/Phrase Addition Also, moreover, furthermore, besides, first/second/third/etc., too Concession However, in spite of, nevertheless Causation Hence, accordingly, consequently, because of, therefore Summation Altogether, finally, in conclusion, hence, consequently For a comprehensive list of transitional terms, make sure to check out:

26 26 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...

27 27 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.

28 28 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.

29 29 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...

30 30 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:

31 31 After you write......how do you know if it flows?

32 32 After you write... Reading aloud – Halts/stops – Audience reactions Reviewing visually – Balance Use of headings Paragraph/section length

33 33 In review… 1. Prewriting for cohesion and flow 2. Focusing one’s thoughts 3. Writing a clear thesis 4. Organizing a draft 5. Writing “funnel shaped” paragraphs 6. Using transitions effectively 7. Using consistent language 8. Reading aloud 9. Revising visually

34 34 Templates Reference Examples & FAQ Search Function Blog Did you know? Webinar Archive

35 35 Questions

36 36 Contact Information: the Writing Center anytime at


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