Writing

La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library

Writing

Achieve@Uni
La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library

Achieve@Uni
La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library

Writing

Achieve@Uni

Paragraphs

Paragraphs are the main building blocks for any type of writing assignment. To write well at university, it is important that you master the basic skill of paragraph writing.

Paragraph structure: TEEL

  • Ensure each paragraph contains only one main idea or theme
  • Start each paragraph with a topic sentence - a short and simple sentence that introduces and summarises the main idea
  • Elaborate and explain any key terms or ideas early in the paragraph
  • Use evidence to support any claims you make about a topic 
  • Link back to the topic sentence or link forward to the next paragraph in the final sentence

The acronym TEEL can help you remember this structure

T – topic sentence

E – elaboration/explanation

E – evidence

L – link

Example TEEL paragraph: [All bolded text in brackets identify parts of the paragraph and should not be included in your own writing]

[Topic sentence] Biotechnology has long sought to improve human life through developing technological advances in human stem cell therapy. [Elaboration/Explanation] Human stem cells are unspecialised cells that have two important functions: the ability to differentiate into specialised cells such as muscle cells, nerve cells and cells of the organs; and the ability to self-renew indefinitely (Ramsay, 2002). [Evidence] While there are several different types of stem cells, human embryonic stem (hES) cell research continues to yield promising results for potential therapeutic purposes (Lerou & Daley, 2005). Such benefits include the potential for stem cells to improve quality of life and extend life expectancy by providing a way to treat diseases that are currently incurable (Ramsay, 2002). In addition to benefiting individuals suffering from such diseases, hES could also have a significantly positive impact on health care systems. However, there are several ethical and moral issues surrounding hES cell research (McLaren, 2001) which have caused international debates about whether the potential benefits outweigh the possible maleficence of destroying human embryos in the process. [Link] Many countries have introduced legislation to address such concerns (Park, 2010), so the proper application of ethics is now essential in all biotechnological clinical contexts.

Paragraph adapted and used with student permission.

Flow (cohesion)

Cohesion is about how your writing flows or joins together. Good flow can be achieved by organising ideas logically and by linking ideas within and between sentences.

To help ensure your paragraphs flow well and are logical:

  • move from more general ideas to more specific ideas
  • move from previously stated information to new information
  • use some (but not too much) repetition of key terms throughout the paragraph
  • use linking words within and between sentences to show logic

[General and previously stated information] Biotechnology has long sought to improve human life through developing technological advances in human stem cell therapy. Human stem cells are unspecialised cells that have two important functions: the ability to differentiate into specialised cells such as muscle cells, nerve cells and cells of the organs; and the ability to self-renew indefinitely (Ramsay, 2002). [Specific and new information] While there are several different types of stem cells, human embryonic stem (hES) cell research continues to yield promising results for potential therapeutic purposes (Lerou & Daley, 2005). Such benefits include the potential for stem cells to improve quality of life and extend life expectancy by providing a way to treat diseases that are currently incurable (Ramsay, 2002). In addition to benefiting individuals suffering from such diseases, hES could also have a significantly positive impact on health care systems. [More new information] However, there are several ethical and moral issues surrounding hES cell research (McLaren, 2001) which have caused international debates about whether the potential benefits outweigh the possible maleficence of destroying human embryos in the process. Many countries have introduced legislation to address such concerns (Park, 2010), so the proper application of ethics is now essential in all biotechnological clinical contexts.

Paragraph adapted and used with student permission.

Biotechnology has long sought to improve human life through developing technological advances in human stem cell therapy. Human stem cells are unspecialised cells that have two important functions: the ability to differentiate into specialised cells such as muscle cells, nerve cells and cells of the organs; and the ability to self-renew indefinitely (Ramsay, 2002). While there are several different types of stem cells, human embryonic stem (hES) cell research continues to yield promising results for potential therapeutic purposes (Lerou & Daley, 2005). Such benefits include the potential for stem cells to improve quality of life and extend life expectancy by providing a way to treat diseases that are currently incurable (Ramsay, 2002). In addition to benefiting individuals suffering from such diseases, hES could also have a significantly positive impact on health care systems. However, there are several ethical and moral issues surrounding hES cell research (McLaren, 2001) which have caused international debates about whether the potential benefits outweigh the possible maleficence of destroying human embryos in the process. Many countries have introduced legislation to address such concerns (Park, 2010), so the proper application of ethics is now essential in all biotechnological clinical contexts.

Paragraph adapted and used with student permission.

Biotechnology has long sought to improve human life through developing technological advances in human stem cell therapy. Human stem cells are unspecialised cells that have two important functions: the ability to differentiate into specialised cells such as muscle cells, nerve cells and cells of the organs; and the ability to self-renew indefinitely (Ramsay, 2002). While there are several different types of stem cells, human embryonic stem (hES) cell research continues to yield promising results for potential therapeutic purposes (Lerou & Daley, 2005). For example, there is considerable potential for stem cells to improve quality of life and extend life expectancy by providing a way to treat diseases that are currently incurable (Ramsay, 2002). In addition to benefiting individuals suffering from such diseases, hES could also have a significantly positive impact on health care systems. However, there are several ethical and moral issues surrounding hES cell research (McLaren, 2001) which have caused international debates about whether the potential benefits outweigh the possible maleficence of destroying human embryos in the process. Many countries have introduced legislation to address such concerns (Park, 2010), so the proper application of ethics is now essential in all biotechnological clinical contexts.

Paragraph adapted and used with student permission.

Pathfinder link

Still have questions? Do you want to talk to an expert? Peer Learning Advisors or Academic Skills and Language Advisors are available.