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Webinar Transcripts

Cohesion and Flow: Bringing Your Paper Together

Presented Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

View webinar recording

Last updated 7/9/2016


Visual: The webinar opens with a main pod for the slides and captioning, Q&A, and files pods stacked on the right side of the screen. The slide is titled “Housekeeping” and details how to use the webinar features that Beth discusses.

Audio: Beth: Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us today. My name is Beth Nastachowski. I'm the manager of multimedia writing instruction, and I'm gonna get started here before I hand over our session today to our presenter Veronica.

If you've been to a Writing Center webinar, you can kind of tune out for the next minute or two, but I wanted to make sure we're all on the same page here. I have started the recording for this session, so if you have to leave for any reason or if you'd like to come back and review the session, you're welcome to do so. I'll be sure to post the webinar in our archive by tomorrow evening. So if you've seen other sessions in our calendar that you haven't been able to make live, you're more than welcome to view those recordings in your webinar archive. We have over 50 sessions in there, so there are many options for you that you can take a look at.

Also note that there's lots of ways to interact with us today. We have lots of polls that Veronica will be using as well as some chat pods and things like that. But we'll also be pulling up some more quiz questions at the end of session. So I encourage you to do so.

And there's also links throughout these PowerPoint slides that you can click on and go to for more information about various topics. This session is, you know, a pretty good overview, so we encourage you to take a look at those links for more information and more sort of in depth information. And they are in the files pod at the bottom right-hand corner so just take a look at the slides file listed there.

And then you can also access myself and my colleague Rachel in the Q&A box, answering questions throughout the session, so we encourage you to submit any questions and comments you have there. And one thing I do like to note it's great for you to submit those questions as soon as you have them, that way you don't forget them and Rachel and I can get you answers as soon as possible too. However, if you do come up with a question after the session, please do email us at

If you have any technical issues, do let me know in the Q&A box. I'll try to help as much as I can but there is also a help button at the top right-hand corner of your screen, and that's Adobe's help button. So that's my spiel. And at this point, then I want to hand it over to our presenter today, Veronica.


Visual: The slide changes to an introductory slide. Veronica’s name and job title are listed below the presentation title.

Audio: Veronica: Hi, everyone. Thank you for those who were able to take the pre-webinar quiz. For those of you who weren't, we're gonna be covering that material in the quiz, and for those of you who have taken it, keep in mind what your responses are, again, because we're gonna be covering that material in the webinar itself and then there's also going to be a post-webinar quiz. The webinar today, "Cohesion and Flow: Bringing your Paper Together" is going to cover a lot of different topics, so just thesis statements, how to paragraph, work on transitions and what exactly cohesion and flow encompasses in a paper.


Visual: Slide #4 “Session Overview” opens and shows the goals for participants in this session. Veronica reads and discusses them.

Audio: So again, this session overview is you're going to be able to, after this webinar, understand how cohesion and flow affect your readers. Identify the elements of writing that create cohesion and flow at the global level as well as at the paragraph and sentence level. And identify revision techniques for cohesion and flow.


Visual: Slide #5 “What are cohesion and flow?” opens. The slide shows dictionary definitions for these terms which Veronica reads and discusses.

Audio: So what exactly do I mean when I say cohesion and flow? From Mer—sorry, Merriam Webster's dictionary, cohesion is defined as the act or state of sticking together tightly. And flow is a smooth uninterrupted movement or progress. What that means for academic writing is that your writing is focused. It's—it sticks together. Your points are—come together for readers in a logical order, and they also progress naturally from idea to idea. So they smoothly come together. For readers.


Visual: Slide #6 opens and continues the discussion on cohesion and flow. The top right corner has a photo of a book held open by a person’s hands. Just under the title is: It’s all about your readers. As Veronica discusses this slide, she populates a list for creating an academic paper. After she discusses creating an academic paper, she adds a textbox to the bottom of the slide: This means writing a focused paper that progresses naturally from one idea to the next.

Audio: So what is cohesion and flow? It's all about your readers. What you want to do when you're writing is, you want to think about your audience. How is your writing going to be received by the audience that reads it? While I was working on my thesis and my dissertation one of the things that my committee chairs reminded me was to always go back and read as though I was a reader as—and not a writer of the—of that particular piece. It's important to always consider your audience when you're writing.

So as an academic writer, you want to create a paper that is easy to understand, logically ordered, and enjoyable to read. And again, that's for all types of readers, not just for readers in your own academic discipline. Oftentimes in academia, people will read articles and other types of manuscripts from other disciplines, so it's really important that even though you have an academic discipline that might have its own academic terminology, that your paper is easy to understand and enjoyable for a wide audience to read. So this means writing—your writing is a focused—your writing should be focused, and that your points progress naturally from one idea to the next.


Visual: Slide #7 “Cohesion and flow: Harder than it may seem…” opens. This slide has a large inverted triangle in the center. Three textboxes are superimposed on the triangle: Global Paper Cohesion, Paragraph and Local Cohesion, and Revising for Cohesion. Each of these textboxes has a short list of key points. To the left of the triangle is a hyperlinked resource for “Five Ways to Create Flow in your Writing.” Veronica discusses all of these.

Audio: Cohesion and flow, admittedly, is harder than it may seem. If you notice, there's a link here to "Five ways to create flow in your writing." It's Beth's blog, where she talks about the different ways flow is constructed in a paper, and that includes the global cohesion of your paper, the overall organization of your paper, the thesis statement, and how the thesis statement is argued throughout the paper through paragraph and local cohesion.

So paragraphing means the structure of your paragraphs, how transitions are created, both within a paragraph as well as from one paragraph to the other, and the word choices that you use. And it also encompasses revising for cohesion.

Again, one thing that you're going to learn through this webinar is reading is very important. Going back and reading your own work will help you understand how readers are going to be reading and receiving your ideas.


Visual: The next slide “Before you Write” opens and to the left side is a short list of considerations before you write: Focus your thoughts, Determine your thesis, and Outline your paper. On the right side is an abbreviated version of the inverted triangle graphic with “Global paper cohesion” in bold font. Veronica discusses prewriting.

Audio: One thing that you want to do is, before you write, think about the global cohesion of your paper. So focus your thoughts, determine what your thesis is. That doesn't necessarily mean that as you continue to writing your paper your thesis necessarily gonna stay the same. As you write, you might change your thesis. That's all part of the drafting stage. But another good thing to do is to outline your paper. So once you have determined what your thesis is, creating an outline can be really effective for helping you think about the global cohesion of your paper.


Visual: Slide #9 “Focus Your Thoughts” opens. There are five textboxes connected to show the sequence of steps that Veronica discusses.

Audio: So, again, focus your thoughts. Read carefully. So any time that you're reading academic prose, what you want to do is read carefully. You want to take notes. Pull out, you know, passages that you might want to use. Think about how those passages do or do not support what your argument is. Take notes that might help you better define or redefine your argument.

Find your overall purpose for the paper. Check your assignment. That's another important one. A lot of times when we're really invested in the topics that we're writing about, we might write a—write a paper that might not quite fit what the assignment is, so always check back to make sure that the angle that you have on your topic is jelling with the assignment. And then of course as you take notes, you think about your ideas, you think about the sources that you might want to use, pull out and identify what you think your strongest points are. So now what you'll have is your thesis and some of your strongest ideas, and now you can start thinking about creating an outline.


Visual: Slide #10 “Poll” opens and the layout shifts. The slide pod is slightly smaller on the left. The Q&A and captioning pods are side-by-side in the top right corner of the screen. Below them is a multiple choice question for participants’ response. The files pod is not available. Veronica reads the question and discusses the responses as participants answer.

Audio: So that said, what is a thesis statement? So I see a lot of you are noting an argument that gives the focus of the paper. And almost as many students are noting a sentence that tells what the paper is about. Okay. So it looks like the majority of you noted that a thesis statement is an argument that gives the focus of the paper. And then many of you also said a sentence that tells what the paper is about.

It is in fact an argument that gives the focus of the paper. And the key term here is that it's an argument. A thesis statement doesn't just tell readers what the paper is about. It's a very specific argumentative sentence. It might even be two sentences sometimes. That tells readers what your argument is for the paper. And basically, that's gonna let readers know, all the things that you're discussing in your paper, point back to that main argumentative point or those main argumentative points that you set up in your thesis statement. And some of you noted the first sentence in a paragraph. Well, it is the one first one or two sentences usually—or I'm sorry, the last one or two sentences of an introduction, I think when you wrote here, the first sentence in a paragraph, you're thinking about a topic sentence. And a topic sentence can be perceived as a mini thesis statement for that paragraph. And it does come in the introduction of your paper, but it comes at the end of the introduction.


Visual: Slide #11 “Constructing Your Thesis” opens and the layout shifts back to the original setup. The top of the slide has a definition of a thesis followed by a tip on how to construct your thesis. At the bottom of the slide is a textbox with a sample thesis statement. Veronica reads and discusses this slide.

Audio: Okay, so constructing your thesis. The Writing Center notes that a thesis is the brief articulation of your paper's central argument and purpose. You want to examine your ideas and notes to discover what they collectively suggest to inform your thesis. So for instance, here's a very specific thesis. The S.A.T. test's cultural insensitivity contributes to low scores among male minority students. That's a very specific thesis. Just to give you an idea about how specific that is, consider this is as a thesis: Cultural insensitivity exists. Now, while that's something that might be argumentative—something that people might argue about, it's not necessarily something a loft people would argue about and it's not specific enough, right? So, again, this example is not really arguable. Many would really not argue that cultural sensitivity doesn't exist, at least in some form.

Another example might be: Cultural insensitivity exists within education. While this is a better thesis statement because it's more specific, again, it's not specific enough. So here you'll notice with this thesis statement that it's very specific. It's very narrowed down.


Visual: Slide #12 “Constructing Your Thesis” opens and lists two key points. At the bottom left is a hyperlink for the webinar “Practical Skills: Writing Strong Thesis Statements.”

Audio: So constructing your thesis, you want to use this thesis to focus your paper and guide your organization. That's why it's important when you want to start thinking about organizing your paper that you have a solid thesis down. That doesn't mean that you're not going to maybe change your thesis as you begin drafting, but it does mean that a thesis, knowing where you want to drive readers, is really important for you to start building the organization of your paper. And then the sources and research that you—that you want to use, make sure that you have that on-hand so you can consider how you want to use that to support your thesis.


Visual: A textbox appears at the bottom of the slide that Veronica reads and discusses in depth.

Audio: That said, anything that doesn't work toward the thesis doesn't belong in the paper. Which is very important. You only want to choose sources and points that are relevant to your overall argument. And that contributes to the cohesion and flow of your paper.


Visual: Slide #13 “Outlining Your Paper” opens. A photo of a map in a person’s hand is next to the title. The body of the slide has a bulleted list of key points for outlining: Visual representation of your paper, Map the progression of your argument for your reader and yourself, Order by major elements: Introduction, main points/body, conclusion, and Use headings. The last bullet point has “headings” hyperlinked. Veronica reads and discusses all of these.

Audio: So outlining your paper. An outline is effective because it provides a visual representation of your paper. You kind of want to think of it as a map. It's a way for you to have a visual representation that maps the progression of your argument for your readers and for yourself. So as you're drafting your paper, an outline helps you kind of conceive of where you want your main points, main argumentative points to fall in order in your paragraphs. And it also helps you understand how your readers are going to be reading those points. You're gonna know, you know, am I writing this paper and helping my readers, like, smoothly flow from one point to the next, or do I need to maybe do some adjustment with my paragraphing? Using headings can be effective. Oftentimes those students will think that an introductory paragraph needs a heading, which it doesn't, but if you have a long paper with several different sections, you might want to consider using APA headings, and that is something that can be used to help readers as they move through your different sections.


Visual: Slide #14 opens and shows a sample bulleted outline with five main sections each with two subtopics. As Veronica discusses the outline, she adds large green arrows to point out the sections of the outline.

Audio: So here is an example of how you might format an outline. So here you start with an introduction. The introductory paragraph provides readers with some background and any necessary definitions. And then it ends with a thesis statement. So like our example before, the thesis statement here is, "The S.A.T. test's cultural insensitivity contributes to low scores among male minority students." So we might have our next section be "Impact on student achievement." When I say subtopics here, what I mean is some main points within that overall topic. So for example, subtopic A might have to deal with how male minority students who live in low socioeconomic urban areas might not have the same access to educational tools to help support their S.A.T. test scores than those who are more socioeconomically advantaged would.

Subtopic B here might have to do with maybe linguistic differences. So maybe with minority males, some of them, maybe they—their home language is different or maybe that they have some linguistic differences that the S.A.T. scores do—or the S.A.T. test itself does not take into consideration.

And then, you know, you can consider, of course, counterarguments. So it's always a good idea when you're writing your paper to consider what counterarguments are, if you can support—if you can acknowledge and then counter counterarguments that creates a very strong argument. And then of course the conclusion. And again, this is just one example of how you might make an outline for a paper. With the overall idea that this provides you with a visual representation of how your argument is mapped out.


Visual: Slide #15 “Poll” opens and has a question and potential thesis statement for participants to consider. The layout switches back to show the multiple choice poll in the bottom right with the Q&A and captioning pod above. Veronica reads the question and thesis, and then discusses participants’ responses in the poll.

Audio: So let's come back to the idea of a thesis statement and support. Which gives the best supporting idea for the given thesis statement? The thesis statement is "Smoking is unhealthy for people of any socioeconomic status or age." Okay, it looks like a lot of you are choosing B. And then also a good majority are choosing A. Okay. So the best response is B, and the reason is, is Ramkin and Donalds are supporting the idea that smoking is unhealthy regardless of somebody's socioeconomic status or age. So if your thesis is smoking is unhealthy for people of any socioeconomic status or age, you might support that by saying, you know, this—or as Ramkin and Donald showed that the risk of heart disease, lung cancer, throat cancer, could not be correlated to socioeconomic status or age.

So again, the whole idea is that, no matter what somebody's personal background is, smoking is unhealthy. So that one is a more effective way of supporting that point, because the first one, for example, is more just of a general statement about how many people have smoked tobacco at some point in their life. The last one, chewing tobacco, that one's not really specific to what we're looking for here. Again, we're looking for a source or a point that's supportive of the idea that no matter what somebody's background is, that smoking is unhealthy. Okay. So does anyone have any questions about any of the material that we've covered so far?


Visual: The next slide “Questions?” opens.

Audio: Beth: You know, Veronica, we haven't had too many questions so far, so maybe we can keep pushing on. And we can return and we have more time for questions at the end.

Audio: Veronica: Okay, that sounds good.

Audio: Beth: Great.


Visual: The next slide “As You Write:” opens and on the left are three bulleted key points to keep in mind as you write. The abbreviated, inverted triangle graphic from earlier is shown on the right. The textbox for “paragraphing and local cohesion” is in bold font. Veronica reads and discusses the key points.

Audio: Veronica: Okay. So once you have the organizational map down, you can start drafting. And what you want to think about is filling in those paragraphs as you draft and thinking about the structure and organization of those paragraphs, how you use transitions between sentences as well as between paragraphs. And the language—your language choices.


Visual: Slide #18 “Paragraphing” opens. It shows the MEAL plan acronym on the right. On the left are key points: A paper is a collection of paragraphs and be strategic: categorize information, support with evidence, and use the MEAL plan. The MEAL plan is hyperlinked. Veronica reads and discusses the information.

Audio: So paragraphing is what you're doing throughout your paper to build those chunk—those main argumentative chunks of your paper. It's a—your paper is a collection of paragraphs. At the Writing Center, we use the M.E.A.L. plan as an acronym often, and what it stands for is the—M is the main idea, also called the topic sentence. The E is the evidence, or examples that you use in support of the main idea. The A is the analysis that connects that evidence through discussion back to the main claim for readers. So both evidence and analysis work together to support that main idea. And then the L is the lead out. We also like to sometimes refer to it as, like, that conclusion of the paragraph. That anticipates what is going to take place as – as an argument in the paragraph that follows.

So what you want to do, in other words, is, when following the M.E.A.L. plan, it's asking you to be strategic. So categorize your information to make it very effective for readers to understand what your main claim is in that paragraph, what your support is, and how you're analyzing that evidence or those examples in support of your main claim.


Visual: Slide #19 “Paragraph Structure” opens and shows details about the MEAL plan. Veronica reads and discusses the details on how to use the MEAL plan.

Audio: So the main idea also known as the topic sentence, it introduces the focus of the paragraph. You can conceive of it as a mini thesis. It should come as the first or maybe the first – the first one or—and maybe two sentences of a paragraph. So your paragraph should always start with that main idea topic sentence, and that serves as a guide for readers of what that paragraph is focused on. The evidence serves to support that main idea. And evidence can come in a variety of forms depending on the source that you're using. But evidence should be supportive of that main idea. So it needs to be relevant to your argument. And then analysis works to explain how that evidence and example supports that main claim. So, again, evidence and analysis work together to support your main claim, slash, topic sentence. And then the lead out concludes that topic or concludes the topic of your paragraph. You can think of it as a conclusion for that paragraph.


Visual: Slide #20 opens and shows a chat prompt and an example of an academic paragraph. The Q&A and captioning pods shift back to the top right corner with a chat pod below. The paragraph is: Electronic medical records (EMRs) allow patients to view their medical records in a password-protected online environment, print out immunization records, and perform other necessary tasks with an immediacy that paper records do not allow (James, 2011). Also, rather than spending the time and money copying, faxing, or printing records, healthcare professionals can simply transfer information via the EMRs programs (Hunter, 2009). This ease of access for patients and medical personnel creates transparency. Veronica reads the prompt and then discusses participants’ responses.

Audio: So let's look at this particular paragraph. Does this paragraph have all of the elements of the M.E.A.L plan? I see a lot of great points. There needs to be clearer analysis. Not complete details. Not complete. So a lot of you seem to be saying no. Someone asked, where's the main idea? Seems to be missing the main point. And this is a great exercise too because you're reading this as readers, right? So as we'll discuss a little bit more later, it's really important when you start drafting yourself that you go back and read your work. And read it as a reader would. Okay.


Visual: Slide #21 “REVISION with a topic sentence and analysis/explanation” opens. The body of the slide has this paragraph with the topic sentence and analysis in bold font. Electronic medical records promote patient satisfaction in their ease of access. Certain programs allow patients to view their medical records in a password-protected online environment, print out immunization records, and perform other necessary tasks with an immediacy that paper records do not allow (James, 2011). The convenience of immediacy spans also to healthcare professionals who may need to transfer records to other medical institutions for a patient's procedure. Rather than spending the time and money copying, faxing, or printing records, healthcare professionals can simply transfer information via the EMRs programs (Hunter, 2009). This ease of access for patients and medical personnel creates transparency. Veronica reads some sections of the paragraph and discusses how this is a stronger academic paragraph.

Audio: So let's go ahead and look at a revision. As many of you noted, the topic sentence wasn't very strong or clear. And there wasn't a whole lot of clear, effective analysis and explanation. So this example is revised to create a nice, clear topic sentence. So the topic sentence is, "Electronic medical records promote patient satisfaction in their ease of access." And then what we have is, we have some evidence and explanation to support that. So, for instance, as evidence, we have that—the fact that "Certain programs allow parents to view their medical records in a password-protected online environment, print out immunization records, and perform other necessary tasks with an immediacy that paper records do not allow." So again, that's a nice example to support our overall main claim or topic sentence for this paragraph, the whole idea of electronic medical records promoting ease of access.

And what this writer does is, also they analyze that information. So they analyze it in a way to add that this convenience also spans to healthcare professionals who may need to transfer records to other medical institutions for air patient's procedure. So rather than spending time and money copying, faxing, or printing records, healthcare professionals can simply transfer the notification via the EMRs programs. So again, this nice analysis supporting the idea of ease of access and adding in that analysis that that access is holistic. It's more than just providing password-protected online environment. It's also making it easier for that information to be transferred where—when and where necessary. And then we have the conclusion, the overall conclusion of the paragraph is that "This ease of access for patients and medical personnel creates transparency."


Visual: Slide #22 “Transitions Between Paragraphs” opens. It says Note the relationship between two or more paragraphs at the start of the next paragraph and has an example of this in a textbox at the bottom of the slide. Veronica reads and discusses this.

Audio: Another thing that you want to think about when you are drafting your paper in terms of cohesion and flow is not just, like, the overall construction of the paragraph, so moving through that M.E.A.L plan, but transitions between paragraphs as well. So what you want to do is think about the relationship between two or more paragraphs at the start of the next paragraph. So let's look at this example. So here, this first part is the end of one paragraph. So "Jones confirmed that the many CEOs have no future plans to offer health benefits to their part-time employees." The next paragraph starts, "While health benefits may not be in the future of many part-time employees, government officials are tackling the issue of healthcare in other ways. For example..." So you see this writer helps me move very smoothly from one paragraph to the next because their next paragraph provides this clear transition. The first paragraph is talking about the lack of healthcare benefits provided by part-time employees. This paragraph says, while that is true, government officials are tackling the issue in different ways.


Visual: Slide #23 “Transitions Within Paragraphs” opens and says Note relationships between sentences within a paragraph. At the bottom is an example of two sentences with no transition. Veronica reads and discusses this slide and the example.

Audio: So here is an example without transitions. So "Fillmore found that social workers are often overworked. Mitchell and Van surveyed"—or I'm sorry, transitions within paragraphs. So here this—here's a segment of a paragraph that does not provide readers with a transition. So "Fillmore found that social workers are often overworked." Then jumping to the point of, "Mitchell and Van surveyed social workers to gain insight in their stress levels." As a reader, the connection between those two sentences, while I can get it, it's just not very smooth for me to read. I kind of have to go back and read it again to make sure I understand what that writer is trying to relate to me.


Visual: Slide #24 opens and continues transitions within paragraphs. Three textboxes show different types of transitions based on the goal of the argument. Veronica reads and discusses the transitions and examples.

Audio: There are definitely different ways in which you want to use transitions. So a transition might be used for – or chronologically. So, for example, "Jones found that pigeons were dirty animals, but previously, Fillmore stated that pigeons made great pets." Contradictory. So "Jones found that pigeons were dirty animals. On the other hand, Fillmore stated that pigeons made great pets." A concession, so, "Despite this, that." Or, "Jones found that pigeons were dirty animals. Nevertheless, Fillmore stated that pigeons made great pets." So you can see there are several different ways in which you might use transitions to move from one sentence to the next within the paragraph. So here, chronological: "Previously." That's one example. Contradictory, so, "On the other hand," "that said." Concession: "Nevertheless," "Despite this."


Visual: Slide #25 “Chat” opens and has a chat prompt and example for participants to work with: ….Fuller (2014) suggested that students typically reticent to participate in a traditional classroom may feel more comfortable participating in an online class’s discussion board. Evans (2015) found that students felt they could express their ideas more clearly in an online discussion board than in a face-to-face class discussion… The layout changes to add the chat pod. Veronica reads the prompt and discusses participants’ responses.

Audio: So here, what I would like you to do is look at this paragraph and add a transition to these sentences to improve their flow. So between the Fuller and the Evans, what would be an effective transition between those two sentences? Okay, so if you notice, the evidence paraphrasing complements Fuller's point. So Fuller suggested that students typically – are typically reticent to participate in a traditional classroom. And they might—and they often feel more comfortable part—those that are reticent about participating in a traditional classroom may feel more comfortable participating in an online classroom discussion board. Additionally, Evans found that students felt they could express their ideas more clearly. So here, what it is, is this is an additional—it's a supportive point but it's an additional point. So Fuller's point is that some students feel more comfortable, just more in general, participating online. Evans specifically found that, not only, you know, do they feel more comfortable, that they also feel like they can express their ideas more clearly.


Visual: Slide #26 “Revisions with Transitions” opens and the layout reverts back to the main setup. Two examples in textboxes show possible revisions for the activity from the chat. Veronica reads and discusses the transitional phrases.

Audio: So here are two examples of how you might revise to include transitions. So supporting this view, Evans found that students felt they could express their ideas more clearly. In a related study, Evans found that students felt they could express their ideas more clearly. Or additionally, Evans found that students could express their ideas more clearly. So again, here you'd be looking for a transition that was, like, related to supporting this, "Additionally."


Visual: Slide #27 “Types of Transitions” opens and has Transitions hyperlinked. The body of the slide has a table with Relationship on the left and Term/Phrase on the right with four rows of detail below. Veronica reads and discusses the details in the table.

Audio: And here's kind of an overview of the types of transitions. So if there's a transition where it's an addition, the term or phrase you might use is "also, moreover, furthermore, besides." A concession: "However, in spite of, nevertheless." A concession might be something if you found a source countering an argument that you have and you want to use that to point out that, yes, I'm agreeing that this is an issue or this is a point. However, or nevertheless, I argue this. Causation, so hence, accordingly, consequently. And then summation, all together, finally, in conclusion.


Visual: The next slide “After You Write” opens and on the left shows the inverted triangle graphic with Revision for Cohesion in bold font. Veronica reads the question for consideration shown on the right.

Audio: So after you write, how do you know it flows?


Visual: Slide #29 “After you write…” opens and has a screenshot of two pages of a paper in a side-by-side layout. Two strategies are listed for revising for flow: (a) Reading aloud: halts/stops, audience reactions, and (b) Reviewing visually for balance: use of headings and paragraph/section length. Veronica reads and discusses how to revise for flow.

Audio: So one thing that I like to do as a writer is to read out loud. A lot of times when we're really invested in what we're writing, again, we might get caught up in the material itself without thinking about how it might be received by readers. So reading out loud, if you're able to, helps you visualize how your argument is mapped out for your reader. Again, another thing that might be of use is to include headings. Sometimes, like, if you have a very long paper, it might be sectioned off into main, like, sectioned areas.

So for example, sometimes when people do a study, what they'll have is they'll have the introduction, the literature review, they'll have like a research methodology section. They'll have the results section and they have the discussion section. Providing APA headings for-- papers like that is helpful because it helps readers follow how all those different parts are connected to that global whole of your thesis and also helps them transition from section to section.

And then, too, thinking about paragraph section length, one or two sentences does not make an effective paragraph. A paragraph has to be one solid argument. One that includes a main claim, evidence, and analysis to support the claim and then a lead out. Okay. So, Beth, did you want to ask if anybody had – is there any question that you want me to address?


Visual: The layout changes and the final slide “Questions” opens and shows ways to contact the Writing Center with questions. The bottom of the slide shows hyperlinks for related webinars “Practical Skills: Thesis Statements” and “Building and Organizing Academic Arguments.” The Q&A and captioning pods are in the top right corner with the slide and files pods stacked below. The left side of the screen has three post-webinar quiz questions.

Audio: Beth: Yeah, we're gonna open up these questions here, and why didn't you all go ahead and answer these questions, kind of test your knowledge here, and then once you've answered those questions, you can type in the Q&A box any last questions you have for Veronica. And we'll give you maybe three minutes to answer those questions. And then we can spend the last 15 minutes answering questions. Does that work for you, Veronica?

Audio: Veronica: That sounds great. Sure.

Audio: Beth: Okay. So we're gonna mute for next the three-ish minutes and then I'll send out the answers to the quiz questions too. It looks like we've had about 60% of people responding. So keep at it. Keep answering those questions. If you haven't already, we'll give you another minute or so here. All right. So I'm gonna go ahead and post the answers in the Q&A box. So if you have not finished answering the questions, that's perfectly fine. Just don't look in the Q&A box yet because we will explain the answers there. So setting those out right now. And feel free to let us know in the Q&A box if you have questions about those answers.

But I thought at this point then we could submit some of the questions we've had from students earlier in the Q&A box. So we've had a number of questions about the M.E.A.L plan, just kind of clarifying how that works. And I wondered if we could start with this question about the main idea topic sentence. A student had asked about whether it should have a citation or could have a citation. And I wondered if you could talk about that a little bit.

Audio: Veronica: Absolutely. The main claim, the main claim, topic, sentence, should not be a paraphrase or a quote from a source. That main claim is your main claim for that particular paragraph. So you want to use sources to support your main claim, that's perfectly fine, but you never want to start a paragraph with either a quote or a paraphrase from a source because that doesn't allow readers to know exactly and clearly what your main claim is for that paragraph. And you also don't want sources to be speaking for you.

Audio: Beth: Awesome. Thank you. And kind of similar to that, going to the end of the M.E.A.L plan, we had a couple questions about lead out sentences. And could you kind of remind us how lead out sentences work, sort of their function within a paragraph, what they do, and then how they work or don't work to create transitions between paragraphs? Sorry, I was trying to phrase that in the form of a question instead of a statement, but do you see what I am?

Audio: Veronica: Definitely. So the lead out you want to think of as a conclusion to a paragraph. So you have your claim, your evidence and analysis to support the claim, and that—the lead out is like the conclusion to wrap up that idea for readers. Sometimes you might even—your lead out might even, like, anticipate the next paragraph. But, again, it's not the lead out is not a transition from one paragraph to the next, it should just be – a lead out that would logically flow to the next paragraph. So it's your responsibility as a writer in the next paragraph to make sure that next paragraph logically flows from the previous one, but the lead out itself is kind of conceived of this wrapping up of this paragraph. So really like bringing that point home in the paragraph.

Audio: Beth: Awesome. Thank you. Thank you for that. And could you confirm too that that last sentence shouldn't have a citation or talk a little bit about that?

Audio: Veronica: Yes, yeah. Again, neither your first nor your concluding sentence or sentences of a paragraph should either be a paraphrase or a quote. You want to begin and end on your own claims and points, and you only want to use sources as that evidence to help support your claims. But, again, the analysis—the main claim, the analysis, the lead out, those three points of the M.E.A.L plan should be in your own words. So, again, emphasizing that it's not effective to include paraphrasing or quotation as a topic sentence or as a final sentence, because it makes it confusing for readers what your claim is and what the focus of that sentence is because the focus becomes that secondary support.

Audio: Beth: Yeah, and I just sent out a link to the paragraph page on the Writing Center website as well. Paragraphing is tricky, right? But we have some great information online. So if you have more questions about the M.E.A.L plan and paragraphs, that's a great place to go to after the webinar is done. I have a sort of more general question that I thought might be useful and it's kind of I thought also you'd have a really great perspective on having gone through our own dissertation, Veronica, but a student asked about in a longer document like a dissertation or a master's thesis or anything really that gets to be 20 pages or more, isn't repetition needed for cohesion, and what strategies would you suggest or think about for cohesion in such a long document compared to some of the shorter papers or discussion posts students might be working on?

Audio: Veronica: Definitely. When people talk about often how you don't want to be repetitious in your paper, they're often talking about creating paragraphs that make the same claim as previous ones or constantly kind of repeating the same point. In longer documents, you will find that you go back and include a claim that you made earlier because it helps support your point. So, again, say you have a section in your paper where you're talking about, you know, public rhetoric strategies of disenfranchised Hispanic speaking students in Tempe, Arizona. You might in talking about the different rhetorical strategies refer back to a point you made previously, but just, like, reiterating it maybe in a different way so it makes sense for that particular argumentative point. So it's not that you're not going to sometimes include previous points that you made. I do suggest, though, that you never do, like, as—you never make the statement of, like, "As stated earlier" because that can be confusing for readers. They already went through the materials. Just go ahead and reuse that claim or that point again and that's very specific to the new complementary point you're trying to make, because if you say, you know, as noted earlier, as previously stated, it can sometimes be confusing to readers, especially if it's been, you know, like two pages since you talked about that particular point. If that makes sense. It's tricky.

Audio: Beth: Yeah. Yeah, no, and I—one thing that you're kind of talking about too I think is that transitions can look different, and I don't know, I kind of like to talk about implicit or explicit transitions. And it can be a little jarring if you use those over and over again or too much. But implicit transitions like reusing keywords or talking, you know, I'm trying to think of other kinds of implicit transitions, but using keywords is one I like to use a lot, especially in a longer document. Does that make sense?

Audio: Veronica: Yes, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, transitions become very important, especially, like, the longer the document, the more you need to be very savvy with the types of transitions that you create to help readers, like, understand the different sections and the different parts and how they work towards that entire whole paper. Absolutely.

Audio: Beth: And I just included a link until the Q&A box too. I actually found out today while I was looking through for a different post a blog post to answer a student question that the blog is doing a series on cohesion or flow. I don't know if someone planned that and I just didn't know. But they're talking about cohesion and flow all month this month too. So do everyone else, check out the blog posts that are going to be published I think every Monday of this month about cohesion and flow which I think will get to some of what you're talking about Veronica too.

Audio: Veronica: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, and I mean, cohesion and flow is—it is difficult. There is a lot 6 elements with creating cohesion and flow in your paper. So as you work on drafting your paper, just make note of, you know, the tools that you can use to assist yourself with improving the cohesion and flow of your paper. So just organization, doing, like, an outline. Reading your drafts. And then, you know, taking advantage of these sources like the source Beth just talked about. You know, we have blogs and other types of sources at the Writing Center that can helpful for giving you some tips, some additional tips on how to approach drafting your paper.

Audio: Beth: All right. Are we good for maybe just a couple more questions before we wrap up?

Audio: Veronica: Yeah.

Audio: Beth: Okay, cool. So these are about thesis statements. And so we had a couple questions just kind of clarifying what the thesis statement was and such, but specifically a student was asking about discussion posts, and I wondered, do you recommend that students include a specific thesis statement for a dugs post as well as their—discussion post as well as their papers?

Audio: Veronica: That's a good discussion. I do. I always encourage students to create a thesis statement. One, I think it's just good practice, good, like, write practice. You might have professors that don't require it. You might even have professors that don't want you to do it. I mean, you always want to follow, you know, ultimately the professor's guidelines. But I do encourage discussion posts including a thesis statement, because you are creating an argument, right? You'll get the prompt for the question, and you're creating some type of argument. That said, sometimes you might have a discussion post where, depending on how that particular prompt is worded, it might have you—ask for you to, you know, consider, likes, several different things. To include in your paper. In that case, you might use a purpose statement instead of a thesis statement.

And what I mean by the different—the difference between a purpose statement and a thesis statement is a thesis statement is your main argumentative claims for that paper. Some papers, depending on how the prompt is written, it might be more effective to actually create a purpose statement. So, you know, this is—this means you're saying that in this paper, I plan to discuss A, B, and C for the purpose of D. Or, you know, whatever it is, like that's the span of the particular paper takes. Again, though, more often than not, you'll want to write a thesis paper—or a thesis statement, but there are some times when given what the prompt want ease you to do that you might—wants you to do that you might write a purpose statement instead. But for discussion posts, yeah, I encourage it for discussion posts.

Audio: Beth: Great. Well, it looks like that is the end of our questions, and I don't see any others coming in, so I think maybe we can just end with any last thoughts from you Veronica, about cohesion and flow?

Audio: Veronica: No. I mean, again, it's difficult and encompasses a lot of things. Just keep, you know, keep at it. And always, you know, consider your audience as you're writing.

Audio: Beth: Awesome. That's—that's a great point. So thank you, everyone, so much for coming. Thank you for the fantastic presentation, Veronica. And we hope to see you at another webinar coming up this next month in July. Thanks, everyone. Have a great day.