How can I make my ideas clearer and more logical?

People who read your writing will find it clear and logical if it is easy to see the structure of your writing, and how it fits together. You can achieve this in several ways:

  • Spend time creating a good plan for the paragraphs of your text (e.g. essay or report). You need to have a clear idea of what each part of your text is saying, before you can make this structure clear to someone else. (If you like to write several drafts to develop your structure, then make sure you keep drafting until the structure is clear in your mind.)
  • Use the end of the introduction to show the reader what structure to expect. (See the Help Yourself page on the structure of an introduction.)
  • Use headings and sub-headings, (if these are acceptable for your discipline and assignment type), to show the reader what the parts of your text are.
  • Use topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph, to show the reader what the main idea is, and to link back to the introduction and/or headings and sub-headings.
  • Show the connections between sentences. The beginning of each sentence should not be a surprise to the reader, but should link back to the main idea of the paragraph or a previous sentence. For example: "Quantitative methods provide results which are robust and comparable. However this reliability and robustness comes at the cost of the richness of findings which qualitative methods can produce."
  • Use conjunctions and linking words to show the structure of relationships between ideas. For example: however, similarly, for this reason, as a result, on the other hand, moreover, etc.

If you are writing persuasively, to argue in support of an interpretation or a point of view:

  • Make sure that your text develops a coherent argument: i.e. that all the individual claims work together to support your overall point of view
  • Make sure that your reasoning for each claim is clear to the reader
  • Ensure that you have evidence for every claim you make
  • Use evidence which is convincing and directly relevant

For more on this topic, see the links on the right...