In scholarly writing, I'm often confronted with having produced a very long paragraph that has the structure with: a single topic sentence, then an internal list of sibling supporting points, with multiple sentences per point, sometimes with citations and quotations lengthening each point.
(Here I'm using First/Second/Third to mark the different reasons but the question isn't about that aspect, lots of other ways to mark sequence, or use none :)
The interviewees provided three reasons that they participate. First, they are paid to participate. Income is crucially important to this group, often being expressed after a thoughtful intake of breath.... Second, they enjoy participating, often laughing and saying things like, "it's just fun, isn't it?.... Third, participants relate the impact of the work they are doing, echoing the findings of Park and Tensing (2012) who identified impact as a rising explanation. In these interviews, impact was often personalized.
These paragraphs can get very long! The obvious solution is to break them up so that each paragraph covers just one supporting point. Thing is, then I'm left with a single sentence introduction "The interviewees provided three reasons that they participate".
Does anyone have suggestions? I usually either:
- Just deal with the short one sentence paragraph
- Make that sentence into a paragraph (making it longer), so that it at least spans two or three lines (but this is just adding words to make the page look better!)
- Run the sentence into the First supporting point paragraph (but now that paragraph is odd, because the topic sentence is not for that paragraph).
Pointers on what to search for here also very appreciated, I think I'm missing some vocabulary on how to search for guidance on this. I guess this is about organizing sections of a paper, rather than paragraphs ... but I'm still left with the dangling intro sentence.
Browsing the suggested answers, I'm seeing
- endorsements of single paragraph sentences (although those seem to be more for punchy effect than introducing sibling points).
- And I'm seeing advice not to be so rigid with the paragraphs.
- I think I'm also seeing advice to use section headings liberally.