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Video Transcripts

Academic Paragraphs: Examples of the MEAL Plan

Last update 11/13/2017

 

Visual: Walden logo at bottom of screen along with notepad and pencil background.

Audio: Guitar music.

 

Visual: The video’s title is displayed on a background image of a table with a computer, notebook, and phone. The screen opens to the following slides: Conceptualizing Paragraphs: The MEAL Plan

Main idea:

─      Introduce the focus of the paragraph, like a mini thesis

Evidence

─      Support the main idea with source information

Analysis

─      Explain and analyze the source information

Lead out

─      Conclude the topic, like a conclusion paragraph

 

Audio: Before we see examples of the MEAL plan, let’s review the MEAL plan and how it’s a helpful way of conceptualizing paragraphs. Following the MEAL plan means you have these kinds of sentences in a paragraph:

The Main idea, often also called the topic sentence, which introduces the focus of the paragraph.

Evidence, which is source information from the research you’ve read. These are the sentences that require citations.

Analysis, your own explanation, commentary, and ideas based on the evidence, helping to link the evidence together.

Lead-out, or a concluding sentence, that wraps-up a paragraph, like a conclusion helps wrap-up a paper.

 

Visual: The following is added to the slide:

a template for paragraphs

= a way to conceptualize the elements in most paragraphs

Audio: Of course, the MEAL plan isn’t a template for your paragraphs, but instead is a way to conceptualize the components that should be present in your paragraphs.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Does this paragraph have all the elements of the MEAL plan?

                  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.

Audio: Let’s look at the MEAL plan in action. The MEAL plan is actually a really helpful tool for analyzing paragraphs after you’ve written them to see if you’ve left anything out. Many people don’t naturally write paragraphs that include all of the elements of the MEAL plan, so what’s essential is that you analyze your paragraphs after you’ve written your first draft and add in those missing components.

Here’s a sample paragraph that we’re going to use to practice analyzing a paragraph for the components of the MEAL plan. Feel free to pause the video to read the entire paragraph.

 

Visual: The paragraph example is updated to the following:

                  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.

Audio: We can see that the first two sentences are sentences of evidence. We know this because they include source information. A clue that these are sentences of evidence are these citations I’ve underlined as well. So that’s great—we have the Evidence component of the MEAL plan.

 

Visual: The paragraph example is updated to the following:

                  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.

Audio: The next thing we see is that we have a sentence of analysis after the evidence. This sentence is explaining what this evidence means, helping to show the significance and contextualizing this information. It doesn’t include a citation because it’s coming from the author’s perspective—it’s the author’s addition to the paragraph.

 

Visual: The following is added to the slide: Analysis + Evidence

Audio: So, we have the Evidence and Analysis components of the MEAL plan, but we’re missing the Main idea sentence and with just one sentence of analysis, we don’t have real closure to the paragraph.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following:

            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.

Audio: Let’s look at a revision of this paragraph with these missing components added. Here you can see I’ve added a sentence to start the paragraph. This sentence is now the main idea or topic sentence of the paragraph, introducing the paragraph’s focus—electronic medical records. We can see how adding this sentence helps ease the reader into the paragraph, preparing the reader for the specific information that’s coming next. It helps improve the flow of this paragraph.

Then I’ve also added another sentence of analysis between my two sentences of evidence. This helps add more of my own voice to the paragraph, as well as contextualize and add to the evidence.

By adding more to this paragraph, my last sentence also now acts more like a lead out or concluding sentence; it provides more closure to the paragraph, wrapping up my ideas. One other thing we might notice is that this wrap-up sentence includes a little bit of analysis too, right? It helps conclude the paragraph, giving it closure, but it also adds a bit to the paragraph’s ideas. It’s not an entirely new idea—you wouldn’t want to make a large, new claim in the last sentence of the paragraph—but it does add a bit to the paragraph.

This is now a great example of a paragraph that has all of the components of the MEAL plan, and we’ve seen how analyzing and revising our paragraph for the MEAL plan helps strengthen the paragraph.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following with a picture of a woman typing at a laptop on a table: Look at your own writing to see if it follows the MEAL plan!

Audio: Now what I encourage you to do is look at your own writing and analyze it to see if it follows the MEAL plan. You may want to look at a paper you completed recently or maybe you’re currently writing a paper you can look at. Either way, be sure that generally, your paragraphs are including the components of the MEAL plan.

 

Visual: The screen changes to end with the words “Walden University Writing Center” and “Questions? E-mail writingsupport@waldenu.edu.”