The Science Of Scientific Writing    Set C     Paragraphs with something extra: points and tails    Paragraphs that end with a bang!   Using maps to write Point-final paragraphs  Exercise 1   Exercise 2    Exercise 3   Further ideas on Point-final paragraphs   Exercise 4     Paragraphs that are short, or have a tail     Final Page.

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OVERVIEW: The way to well-written science

How to do the Course


PART I: Paragraphs and Sentences

SET A: Paragraphs: The Maps Behind Them

SET B: Paragraphs: Using Maps to Meet Readers' Expectations

SET C: Paragraphs with Something Extra: Points and Tails

SET D: The Generic Section: Expectations and Maps as Blueprints

SET E: Scientific Sections: The Methods and Results

SET F: Scientific Sections: The Discussion

SET G : Scientific Sections: The Introduction

SET H : Sentences

SET I : The Paper as a Whole



PART II: The Paper and its Sections


SET 1: Argument Parts

SET 2: Indicator Words

SET 3: Refining Claims

SET 4: Locating Arguments in Prose

SET 5: Rationale's Essay Planner

SET 6: Evidence in Arguments: Basis Boxes

SET 7: Assessing

SET 8: More on Assessing

SET 9: Analysis Maps

SET 10: Assessing Again

Synthesis 1: Position-Early Paragraphs

Synthesis 2: Position-Final Paragraphs

Synthesis 3: Writing a Discussion I

Synthesis 4: Writing a Discussion II

Short paragraphs, and paragraphs that end with a flourish


As mentioned previously, short paragraphs (of three or less sentences) are easier to write (and read) in isolation, but if used too frequently in a Section their combined effect is often a marked decrease in readability.

One sentence paragraphs

These can be used to emphasise content of great importance. The sentence (or at least one of its parts) will express a Point that you want the reader to remember.

Two sentence paragraphs

Generally, these will consist of

  • a Framing Sentence followed by a one-sentence elaboration, or
  • a non-core introductory sentence, followed by a paragraph-concluding Point sentence

Two sentence paragraphs

Given that an Elaboration need not necessarily be more than one sentence in length, even with just three sentences there are many possible combinations of:

  • non-core introductory sentence/s
  • a Framing Sentence
  • Elaboration sentence/s
  • a paragraph-concluding Point sentence


A flourish to end by..

In expository writing a paragraph will occasionally end with a sentence whose content steps away from the primary focus of the text. The remark could, for example, be humorous, philosophical, political or highly speculative. Technically such an appendage to a paragraph is referred to as a coda, the Latin word for tail. When using a coda, the writer might also adopt a more sophisticated style (or use a quote), to emphasise the shift in focus. In scientific papers, I doubt the coda is used much now. Expressing such sentiments would always be unacceptable in the main body of a research paper, but sometimes at the very end, if the writer feels their scientific credibility is established beyond doubt, he or she may treat themselves to a sliver of humanity! As Konrad Lorenz said: “We do not take humor seriously enough”.