3 What is signposting?It’s the way you signal the path you have taken though an assignment.In other words, it’s the information you give about what topics are going to be covered, the order in which they come and the angle or focus of the discussion or argument.
4 There are two types of signposting: 1. Major signposts – these are the words and phrases that tell your reader the purpose, structure, your position, main points, direction of the argument and signal your conclusion.
5 Writing a really strong clear introduction is very helpful. This is where you have a chance to identify the key themes of your discussion, your main argument and focus.You can also indicate something about the order of the subject matter.
6 In your introduction. you also: • show that you are going to answer the question• show that you understand the issues and their implications• indicate the structure of your answer and make clear the main areas that you are going to write about• show evidence that you have carried out some research by making a reference to one of your sources
7 If you are writing a report, then you are usually expected to write a summary and include a contents page.The headings and subheadings also give a good indication of the order of your work. Click the link for more help on writing reports.The art of signposting is using key words and phrases to enable the reader to navigate their way through your argument.Here are some signposting words which will prove invaluable in that process. You may have your own favourites.
8 2. Linking words and phrases – use these to connect your sentences and paragraphs, showing the ‘route’ through your work.Showing cause and effect: accordingly, as a result, consequently, for that reason, for this purpose, hence, therefore, etc.
9 Placing ideas in time:again, at first, at least, at length, at once, at that time, at the same time, concurrently, during this time, earlier, eventually, finally, first, second, third, etc.Summarising ideas:all in all, altogether, as has been noted, finally, in brief, in conclusion, in other words, in short, in simpler terms, in summary, etc.
10 Signposting Essay Conclusions Try some of these:The aim of this study is to …; The purpose of this thesis is to …; This essay argues that …;The main questions addressed in this paper are …; This essay critically examines …;The above discussion raises some interesting questions.This paper begins by … It will then go on to ... Finally, …This chapter reviews the literature …In conclusion, …
12 Addingalso, and, as well (as); besides; furthermore; in addition; similarlyBuilding on the last sectionhaving established that; if so; in order to; in that/this case; in this connection; moreover; so; that/which implies; then
13 Concludingin conclusion; in summary; to conclude; to recap; to summarizeContrastall the same; by way of contrast; conversely; despite that; however; in contrast; instead;never the less; none the less; on the other hand
14 Examplesas an illustration; exemplifying this; for example; for instanceGiving reasonsbecause; because of; due to; for this reason; thereforeListfirstly, secondly, … finally; first and foremost; most importantly
15 Refiningeffectively, this suggests; in essence; more precisely; more specifically;to make this explicitReformulating an ideaagain; alternatively/an alternative is; in other words; on the other hand; or; rather; that isResultaccordingly; as a result; consequently; for this reason; hence; so; then; therefore
17 A good way to make your presentations effective, interesting and easy to follow is to use signpost language.'Signpost language' is the words and phrases that people use to tell the listener what has just happened, and what is going to happen next.
18 In other words, signpost language guides the listener through the presentation. A good presenter will usually use a lot of signpost language, so it is a good idea to learn a few of the common phrases, even if you spend more time listening to presentations than giving them.Signpost language is usually fairly informal, so it is relatively easy to understand.
19 Signposting sentences What are signposting sentences?Signposting sentences explain the logic of your argument.They tell the reader what you are going to do at key points in your assignment.They are most useful when used in the following places:
20 In the introductionAt the beginning of a paragraph which develops a new ideaAt the beginning of a paragraph which expands on a previous ideaAt the beginning of a paragraph which offers a contrasting viewpointAt the end of a paragraph to sum up an ideaIn the conclusion
21 You may also wish to add your own sentence stems to the list below: Signposting stems for an introductionTo understand the role of ... (your topic) this essay aims to provide a discussion of ... (the ideas you will develop)This essay seeks toinvestigate/evaluate/illustrate/discuss the impact of ... (your topic) in relation to ... (the ideas you will develop)
22 Firstly, this assignment examines. (your topic) and its links with Firstly, this assignment examines ... (your topic) and its links with ... (your first idea) Next, it closely examines ... in relation to ... (your next idea) Finally, it focuses on ... and how this affects ...(your next idea)
23 Signposting stems for a paragraph which introduces or develops a new idea One aspect which illustrates ... (your topic) can be identified as ... (the idea you want to develop)The current debate about ... (your topic) identifies an interesting viewpoint on ...(the idea you want to develop)
24 This first/next/ final section provides a general discussion of This first/next/ final section provides a general discussion of ...(the idea you want to develop)Signposting stems for a paragraph which expands upon a previous ideaBuilding on from the idea that ... (mention previous idea), this section illustrates that ... (introduce your new idea).