How To Start Writing Your Scientific Paper: Tips For Non-English Speakers. Tip #6.

Tip Number 6: How to structure the paragraph.

This section is one that most non-English speakers find quite difficult – How to structure the paragraph. There are basic rules and I will go through them. And will give my experience and how I do it.

A paragraph begins with the topic sentence. The first sentence in a paragraph is the topic sentence. It is the sentence that introduces the reader about what the paragraph will be about. It is usually a statement or a claim that you make. Usually I do not put any reference in the topic sentence. Sometimes I do use a reference in the topic sentence. I do not know whether it is correct to use a reference in the topic sentence or not. I’d love to hear from some experts so do leave a comment.

I do not use a reference in the topic sentence, most times, because the rest of the paragraph I use references to verity or justify the claim I make in the topic sentence.

Decide how many sentences you are going to use in a paragraph. Some paragraphs can be just one sentence (more about that later). Usually 5-6 sentences in a paragraph is adequate to expand on the topic sentence. Too many sentences may drown the key point you are trying to make in that paragraph.

The last sentence in paragraph is a summary statement or sentence pointing back at the topic sentence and then wrapping up what the other sentences were trying to explain/show/verify in the paragraph.

Before writing the paragraph, plan how you will write the paragraph. Make bullet points – forming a layout of the paragraph. One bullet point for the topic sentence. And each bullet point for each sentence – what the sentence will be about, and insert references you will use in that sentence to support the topic sentence. Make a bullet point for the last sentence of the paragraph – the summary sentence of the paragrapah.

One key point per paragraph. Do not introduce any new idea in a paragraph. Stay focused on the main point what the paragraph is about and conclude the paragraph with the summary sentence, which is the last sentence in the paragraph.


About rodney itaki

Medical doctor and public health specialist from Papua New Guinea.
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