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Building a coherent argument

The structure of your essay provides a framework for the logical development of your argument, from the introduction through the body and to the conclusion.

Each paragraph should develop your main argument (thesis) and link to the next paragraph to build coherence. The repetition of key words from the concepts and themes of the framework reinforces cohesion throughout the text.

The diagram below shows how the writer’s argument logically develops through the overall structure of the essay. Each paragraph contains evidence grouped and categorised around one main idea.

The diagram represents a sample essay structure. The introduction description states 'Thesis/argument: The search for idealistic utopian visions of the future nevertheless led to breakdowns in the social and cultural life for the residents of modernism'. Paragraph 2 covers 'modernist design principles', paragraph 3 covers design rationality, paragraph 4 overs negative impacts - separation/segregation, paragraph 5 covers negative impacts of separation/land use, and the conclusion covers 'the principles of Modernism applied to Brasilia did not achieve the expected goals'.

The diagram below shows how the writer uses key words and concepts from their research to reinforce cohesion throughout the text.

Note how the linking sentence in each paragraph connects to the topic sentence of the following paragraph and the conclusion links back to the introduction.

Click on the ‘next’ button to see how the paragraphs develop.


[Keywords and concepts] The search for idealistic utopian visions of the future nevertheless led to breakdowns in the social and cultural life for the residents of modernism... [End keywords and concepts]

Modernism in Brazil arose from [Keywords and concepts] optimistic visions of progress and stability.[End keywords and concepts] Brasilia, the new federal captital, was based on modernist principles on a very large scale...

...This initial planning was to be repeated in the [Keywords and concepts] utopian vision for the interior spaces.[End Keywords and concepts]

Modern planning is derived from the design rationality: informed by the context of a site and the [Keywords and concepts] organisation of interior spaces [End Keywords and concepts] according to the needs of the inhabitants (Treib, 1993)...

...The separation of space and purpose is illustrated by Costa’s attempts to order aspects of daily life following [Keywords and concepts] his modernist, functional ideology. [End Keywords and concepts]

The Modernist ideals of [Keywords and concepts] rationality and utilitarianism [End Keywords and concepts] have pervaded all levels of Brasilia with unexpected consequences...

[Keywords and concepts]...Separation [End Keywords and concepts] of services and functions in Brasilia has generated and amplified the [Keywords and concepts] segregation [End Keywords and concepts] of the inhabitants.

The [Keywords and concepts] separation of land use [End Keywords and concepts] as part of modernist design is also demonstrated in the circulation networks, with roads and pedestrian pathways disconnected from each other...

...This incongruity is an illustration of how [Keywords and concepts] the pursuit of modern ideals [End Keywords and concepts] by Costa and Niemeyer was unwavering, and where inflexible conceptual thought [Keywords and concepts] does not fulfil the needs of the residents of this utopia.[End Keywords and concepts]


[Keywords and concepts] Brasilia was an attempt to advance a nation by rejecting history and embracing new ideas and technologies based on ideologies of a utopian future… [End keywords and concepts]

...The concepts of functionality and rationalism that are fixed in modernism can be useful in planning civic spaces. [Keywords and concepts] However, rejection of historical context and denial of freedom of thought of its occupants has led to a refusal to accept these theories as a way of living. [End Keywords and concepts]