Author: Rafael Repiso – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

An academic text is the argumented exposition of data and ideas in a logical and orderly way, usually with an expository, persuasive and pedagogical intentionality. That is to say, it is the ideas that structure the text, and in turn are represented by the paragraphs that develop each concept through a set of sentences where it is explained, contextualized, in short, it goes deeper into each concept. A good text is characterized because it contains good ideas and data and also presents them properly. Therefore, everything we work on the compositional quality of our paragraphs will benefit the quality of the text. In this post three simple tips are given but with a big load of meaning to improve the quality of the paragraphs.

1. Underline in bold the substantial terms. Each paragraph represents a substantial idea in the context of the document. A trick to visualize these ideas is to underline in black the terms “with weight”. In such a way that we can appreciate in each paragraph the load of meaning that it contains. A paragraph with many underlined words would indicate a high density of important concepts, which may mean that that paragraph has two or more ideas, so it should be subdivided into two or more paragraphs. On the contrary, if after indicating the text in bold text we find paragraphs that do not have words highlighted, we are probably before a paragraph that hardly adds anything new to the document, so it should be eliminated. Logically, before making the work public, we must eliminate the words in bold.

2. Check the connection between the first paragraph and the previous one. The paragraphs represent ideas and these ideas must be related to each other in the natural development of reading the paragraph. That is why you have to check that there is a logical relationship for the reader between the successions of paragraphs. If it stills exists a relationship that is not completely obvious to the reader, a trick is to connect the last sentence of the paragraph with the following one or vice versa, make the first sentence of a paragraph connect to the previous paragraph. Typically, the development of ideas goes from the most general to the most specific.

3. Study the size of the paragraphs. We keep insisting that the ideas are represented in the paragraphs, a paragraph an idea. The size of the paragraphs is a true reflection of the depth with which ideas are developed in the text. Therefore, it is recommended that in order to have a balanced text all the ideas are developed with the same depth, therefore, having similar paragraphs in terms of size is a true reflection of a balanced text. On the other hand, when we find ourselves very bulky paragraphs, we may be finding two scenarios, the first one being the one in which we are developing an idea excessively and the other in a paragraph in which two or more different ideas are presented, so the text should be subdivided into two or more paragraphs.

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