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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Writing paragraphs


A paragraph is a group of connected sentences. It is generally made up of one main idea and a group of supporting sentences. Paragraphs are the basic unit for building longer pieces of writing.

The importance of paragraphs

This short video explains why writing good paragraphs in your assessment tasks is important. It also introduces the easy to follow TEEL structure for your paragraphs to improve your writing skills.

If information is organised and your main points are clear, you will get better marks. Making your ideas and arguments stand out is mostly done through having clear and well-structured paragraphs. A really good way to write paragraphs is to use the TEEL structure: 

  1. Topic Sentence: The topic of the paragraph
  2. Explain: Why is the topic important?
  3. Evidence/Example: Support the topic (references)
  4. Link: Link back to the topic

This is an example:

“One factor within the team that seems to be important is the notion of team cohesiveness. Team cohesiveness enables a diverse group of individuals to work towards common goals. Addison (1996, p. 107) argues that highly cohesive teams ‘are more effective at achieving goals they set for themselves, and have higher member  satisfaction’. For example, cohesive teams are more likely to have high morale (Smith 1996) and the ability to cooperate, and so work effectively together (McAlfee & Champagne 1987). Therefore, team cohesiveness enhances team effectiveness.”

See how the topic sentence tells you the main idea of the paragraph. The rest just supports this main idea. If it doesn’t relate to the main idea, it doesn’t belong in the paragraph. It is sort of like a formula for writing.

Linking your ideas helps the paragraph to flow and it shows how your analysis has developed. Have a look at the examples. The paragraph with linking words flows and it easy to read.

Separate sentences: “Many countries are in recession”, and “China’s economy is growing”.  These are two separate ideas, so how do we link them?

Revised sentence: “Although many countries are in recession, China’s economy is growing”. The linking word in the paragraph here is “Although”.

Here are a few more linking words: “furthermore…”, “in addition…”, “however…”, “as a result…”, “although…”. “therefore…”.

The paragraph with linking words flows and it easy to read. Without linking words, it is disjointed and more difficult to follow. By using linking words, it looks like you have thought more deeply about your research.   

For more information about paragraphs, try the tutorial.

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In this tutorial