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Paragraphing

PARAGRAPHS WORKING TOGETHER

Introductions and Conclusion
Thesis and Research Question
Outlining

BODY PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE

Common ElementsAXES
FEET
PIE

 


Paragraphs Working Together

Introductions and Conclusion

To learn more about how to start and end your writing, check out our Introductions and Conclusions page.

Thesis and Research Question

To learn more about the how to communicate the focus of your writing, check out our Thesis and Research Questions page. 

Outlining

Outlines help writers organize their ideas and plan how they will build on and connect with one another. 

Reverse outlining, also known as post-draft outlining, allows writers to map the ideas in their writing as they were actually presented. Using reverse outlining mid-process can help a writer determine which ideas to add, remove, expand, and move--a powerful strategy when one runs out of words. Readers can also employ reverse outlinig to better understand what they are reading. 

Webinar

CSUSM Writing Center webinars may be assigned by instructors for credit. Interested instructors can visit our Assigning the Writing Center page. Students visiting for credit can learn more about confirming visits at our Visiting for Credit page.

Practice

CSUSM Writing Center quizzes may be assigned by instructors for credit. Interested instructors can visit our Assigning the Writing Center page. Students visiting for credit can learn more about confirming visits at our Visiting for Credit page.


Body Paragraph Structure

Paragraphs can be made up entirely of narrative, description, exposition (background or information-giving, or argument. They can even serve the sole purpose of transtioning from one paragraph to another. Paragraphs are very versatile in this way; however, one thing is certain: paragraphs should always be focused. 

Academic writing employs a few common elements in paragraphs to help them acheive their focus. Some of those elements are topic sentences, evidence or examples, some form of commentary, and transitions.

Common Elements

  • Topic sentence
     Topic sentences are typically the very first sentence of a paragraph. Sometimes a transition sentence might precede it. The topic sentence is meant to establish an idea around which the rest of the paragraph will revolve. 
  • Evidence

    Evidence can come in many forms. It can be paraphrased or directly quoted textual evidence, summary, hypothetical examples, anecdotes, and more.

    To learn more about using evidencein your paragraphs, go see our Evidence page. 

  • Commentary

    Commentary involves the writer's interpretation, analysis, or explanation. More often than not, the commentary address on evidence in the same paragraph. 

    Student writer's sometimes summarize the evidence they present when they meant to provide commentary for it. 

  • Transitions

    Transitions can come in the form of phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. Transitional phrases prepare the reader for the sentence-level ideas that follow them. Transitional sentences and paragraphs prepare the reader for paragraph-level ideas. 


AXES

CSUSM Writing Center - AXES Paragraphs

  • Assertion
    What It Does

    The assertion is the topic sentence of the paragraph. It explains what the paragraph will be about or set out to prove. 

    What It Looks Like
    Throughout the play, the character Medea acted upon many powerful emotions, thus arguing that Athenian women should hand over their rights because they are far too emotional to make important decisions.

  • eXample
    What It Does

    The example presents evidence that supports or demonstrates the paragraph's assertion. Whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, the evidence is followed by an in-text citation. 

    What It Looks Like
    Medea’s nature is described by some characters in the story as “dangerous,” “fierce and intractable,” and “miserable” (Eurip. 1.20).

  • Explanation
     What It Does

    The explanation details how the example supports or demonstrates the assertion. In academic writing, we do not presume that evidence speaks for itself, so it is the writer's responsibility to make sure the reader understands what to learn from the evidence. 

    What It Looks Like
    According to the play, women were viewed as emotional beings, leaving the audience thinking to themselves: if someone is “dangerous” and “miserable,” how can they be trusted to make decisions outside of the home? Bombarding the audience with strong traits to describe Medea’s behaviors, was a tactic to make Athenian’s fearful of increasing women's power in society.

  • Significance
    What It Does

    The significance is where you state the importance of the paragraph's point, especially as it contributes to the thesis. 

    What It Looks Like
    This tactic was a way of warning society that women could disrupt the stability of their civilization if they were given too much power. 


TAXES is the same as AXES, except it employs as transition before the assertion.

Webinar

CSUSM Writing Center webinars may be assigned by instructors for credit. Interested instructors can visit our Assigning the Writing Center page. Students visiting for credit can learn more about confirming visits at our Visiting for Credit page.

Practice

CSUSM Writing Center quizzes may be assigned by instructors for credit. Interested instructors can visit our Assigning the Writing Center page. Students visiting for credit can learn more about confirming visits at our Visiting for Credit page.

FEET

 The FEET model is fundamentally the same as AXES model of paragraphing. The FEET model, however, emphasizes how the end of the paragraph references and reiterates the thesis of the paper. 

  • Focus

    What It Does
    The focus sentence is the topic sentence of the paragraph. It explains the point around which the paragraph will center.

  • Evidence

    What It Does
    The evidence presents details or source material that supports or demonstrates the paragraph's assertion. Whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, the evidence is followed by an in-text citation.

  • Explanation
    What It Does

    The explanation details how the evidence supports or demonstrates the point in the focus sentence. In academic writing, we do not presume that evidence speaks for itself, so it is the writer's responsibility to make sure the reader understands what to learn from the evidence. 


     

  • Tie-in (Thesis Callback)
     What It Does

    The tie-in is where you connect the paragraph's focus to the thesis of the paper. It establishes the evidence and point's relevance to the writer's entire purpose.


PIE

The PIE model is very similar to the AXES and FEET models, but PIE does not include an ending element that states thes significance or relevance of the pararaph. 

  • Point

    What It Does
    The point is the topic sentence of the paragraph. It very clearly establishes an idea that the paragraph will set out to make convincing. 

  • Information
     What It Does

    The information portion is where writer shares the evidence or examples that support  the point.

  • Explanation
    What It Does

    The explanation lays out how the information supports the point, ensuring that it is enough to convince the reader. In academic writing, we do not presume that evidence speaks for itself, so it is the writer's responsibility to make sure the reader understands what to learn from the evidence.