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Signposting sentences.

HEAT Stage 5: Writing your assignment.


5.3 Signposting sentences

 

What are signposting sentences?

Signposting sentences explain the logic of your argument. They tell the reader what you are going to do at key points in your assignment. They are most useful when used in the following places:

  • In the introduction
  • At the beginning of a paragraph which develops a new idea
  • At the beginning of a paragraph which expands on a previous idea
  • At the beginning of a paragraph which offers a contrasting viewpoint
  • At the end of a paragraph to sum up an idea
  • In the conclusion

A table of signposting stems: These should be used as a guide and as a way to get you thinking about how you present the thread of your argument. You may need to adapt certain words and phrases for your own purposes. You may also wish to add your own sentence stems to the list below:

 

Signposting stems for an introduction

To understand the role of ... (your topic*) this essay aims to provide a discussion of ... (the ideas you will develop)
This essay seeks to investigate/evaluate/illustrate/discuss the impact of ... (your topic) in relation to ... (the ideas you will develop)
Firstly, this assignment examines ... (your topic) and its links with ... (your first idea) Next, it closely examines ... in relation to ... (your next idea) Finally, it focuses on ... and how this affects ...(your next idea)
Signposting stems for a paragraph which introduces or develops a new idea
One aspect which illustrates ... (your topic) can be identified as ... (the idea you want to develop)
The current debate about ... (your topic) identifies an interesting viewpoint on ...(the idea you want to develop)
This first/next/ final section provides a general discussion of ...(the idea you want to develop)
Signposting stems for a paragraph which expands upon a previous idea
Building on from the idea that ... (mention previous idea), this section illustrates that ... (introduce your new idea).
To further understand the role of ...(your topic or your previous idea) this section explores the idea that ... (introduce your new idea)
Another line of thought on ... (your topic or your previous idea) demonstrates that ... (introduce your new idea)
Signposting stems for a paragraph which offers a contrasting view
However, another angle on this debate suggests that ... (introduce your contrasting idea)
In contrast to evidence which presents the view that ... (mention your previous idea) an alternative perspective illustrates that ... (introduce your contrasting idea)
However, not all research shows that ... (mention your previous idea). Some evidence agrees that ... (introduce your contrasting idea)
Signposting stems to sum up an idea in a paragraph
This evidence highlights that ... (sum up your idea)
There is general agreement that ... (sum up your idea)
The strength of such an approach is that ...(sum up your idea)
Signposting stems for a conclusion
Clearly, this essay has shown that the main factors which impact upon ... (your topic) are ...(summarise your main ideas)
The evidence presented in this assignment has shown that ... (mention the conclusions you have drawn)
To conclude, this assignment has addressed a number of significant issues which show that ... (mention the conclusions you have drawn)

The word 'topic' refers to the subject area you are being asked to discuss and is usually referred to in an assignment title or brief.

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