Welcome to the site! If you’ve managed to find your way here, you are most likely looking to beef up your GP skills.
I hope that this page will be able to refine your understanding of certain GP concepts (especially for writing!) and help you have an easier time during your papers.
If you’re running low on time, read through this page for a quick refresher. If not, click on the topic headers to go into a more in-depth
This page will provide you with basic guidance on how to get yourself back on track. This page is the culmination of my 8 years of experience after observing the many struggles students face.
Writing an effective introduction
Writing an effective introduction doesn’t have to be a painful process. Just stick to this 3 step checklist and you’ll be able to present your ideas clearly.
- “Hook” in your reader
Your teacher probably has been mentioning the idea of starting with a “hook” since your J1 years. To simplify it even further, it’s the most interesting thing you can say about a topic to draw me in!
It could challenge the reader’s worldviews:
“Green technology has been touted to be the magic bullet that will solve the world’s energy issues. However, Solar panels prior to 2013 were highly energy inefficient and used more energy than they produced. Experts estimate that it’s only possible to break even on the energy costs from 2020. Should we truly be placing so much hope in the promises made by scientists in creating a better world? Or should humanity be focused on reducing consumption instead?”
It could be a trend that the reader is unfamiliar with:
Traditional jobs in the energy sector are slowly shrinking as the world shifts towards renewable resources. Despite there being a contraction in the oil and gas industry, there is much optimism in the renewable energy sector which is expected to grow 12 times faster than the rest of the American economy.
It could be a quote from a famous person whom is immediately recognizable to the reader:
The issue of eugenics is a politically volatile issue as the couples clash with the state over the extent of control that the latter has. On this matter, Lee Kuan Yew has once famously said, “Every person, genius or moron, has a right to reproduce himself.”
2. Let them fight – clash of ideas
As an astute and well-informed academic, your job is to look at the clash of ideas and justify which of the 2 sides presented should come out on top.
Many students run the risk of sounding contradictory in presenting the 2 main ideas within their essay (e.g positives vs negatives), so remember to use effective signposting language to help your reader:
“On one hand, XYZ argues that…which implies that the ends justifies the means. However, a stronger case could be made that…is more pertinent for the good of society on a whole”
Don’t be afraid to elaborate and develop your introduction further, especially if you have received feedback that you tend to assume that reader will understand the full extent of your argument in a few short sentences.
3. Take a stand
Finally, cap off your paragraph by reiterating which side of the argument you’ll be supporting. The strongest thesis statements will further add on potential evaluative points that you’ll reference back to in your conclusion. Do this if you’re comfortable with being more stylish with your writing.
Making sense of PEEL
If you’re having trouble with the PEEL format, you MUST read this section closely and carefully. If it still doesn’t make sense, or if you’re looking to clarify your personal understanding of the format, send me an email via the contact page or use Twitter to get in touch.
It would be too simplistic to just refer to a point as being an idea. But rather, remember that your point must have an opinion that you’re trying to argue for. Most students score badly for their essays because they can make differentiate between ideas and examples.
A point: Apple Inc makes the best phones on earth
An example: The iPhone is made by Apple Inc and has many functions
Anything that backs your argument up and displays one or more of the following characteristics (non-exhaustive):
- Reasonable – likely to be accurate
- Tangible – it can be experienced with your 5 senses
- Chronological – it can be represented on a timeline
- Unbiased – should not be slanted towards favoring an outcome
- Reliable – backed by institutions or people of repute (not anecdotal)
Your elaboration will help your reader to understand how your example applies to the point you’re trying to make. Casually inserting an example without attempting to help the reader make sense of it will end in a disaster for your grade.
So how should you elaborate? Simply tell the reader how it strengthens your stand. A good elaboration leaves the reader nodding his head more with regards to your writing.
An elaboration tackles the issue of “what could go wrong” from your argument’s perspective (e.g can renewable energy really revitalize an economy to the extent that it can justify its initial costs?).
Take your example and demonstrate how your point should stand up to scrutiny.
The link is what makes or breaks your entire argument, which is strange because it also happens to be the most misunderstood component of a paragraph.
Most “links” end up as paraphrased points which serves little to no purpose in making a strong argument.
At the end of a long winding paragraph, your reader is inevitably going to ask himself…”so what was the significance of everything I’ve just read?”
Your job is to prevent him from asking any other additional questions and plug up holes in your argument. Common ways to provide a linking statement include:
- Comparing the past and present
- Providing alternative solutions
- Acknowledging that time is needed to contribute to the solution
- Acknowledging that your idea while not perfect, fits the context better
What’s the conclusion for?
Your conclusion is essentially one big linking statement for why every single thing that you’ve written is pertinent to the question at hand. Students lose out when they merely rehash their stand again.
There’s no harm in borrowing elements from the section on linking statement characteristics in order to craft a better than average concluding paragraph.
Remember that you can reference your introduction to create a sense of unity and flow in your writing, though this takes practice and is a reason for why I encourage my own students to always start early.
I tend to be busy with my classes but I make it a point to check my inbox at least once a day to answer questions. Feel free to use the contact form to get in touch and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! This site is still a one man show so please be patient 🙂