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PEEL paragraph - an effective essay structure

Updated on September 9, 2018
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Author Erwin Cabucos has a Master in English Education from the University of New England, Australia.

PEEL that essay.

Image by E.C.
Image by E.C.

Write an essay effectively using PEEL

By E. Cabucos

PEEL stands for 'point', 'explain', 'evidence' and 'link'. This structure is known to be the best way to scaffold your body paragraphs. Once you have written your introduction that introduces the topic, states the main argument or hypothesis, and previews the points you wish to discuss, you are then ready to compose your PEEL paragraphs.

'Point' refers to the idea or perspective that supports your hypothesis. It becomes the topic sentence for the paragraph. It is the focus of the discussion for the paragraph. It is the first sentence of your paragraph. In most school essays, three points are enough to give content or substance to your hypothesis. These points have been previewed in the introduction and you must now discuss each in your paragraph.

'Explain' refers to the details that you supply to make your point meaningful and significant for the essay. It is where you name persons, authors and give their points-of-view to substantiate your hypothesis. It is where you give facts, information, statistics, survey results that justify your claim. It is where you mention the reasons, rationale and related background that may add impact to the analysis, evaluation and overall insights of the topic and the arguments. Related to explain is 'elaborate'.

'Elaborate' allows you to explain further on the idea, and give more depth to the arguments or insights presented. It is where you freely appraise and assess the feasibility of points-of-view for usefulness or applicability. It is where you compare and contrast ideas and concepts across cultures, societies, movements, places and times. It is where you judge and offer recommendations for suitability, ethics and future functionality. It is where you interrelate ideas, peoples, concepts, occurrences and decisions with related perspectives, societies and cultures to make more sense in terms of the arguments being discussed. It is where you make more meaning, impact and deeper insights into the points of the hypothesis. Sometimes, in elaborating a point, you will need to give examples.

'Examples' demonstrate how divergent your breadth of ideas is. By giving examples, you illustrate and exemplify what could have been an unclear point, situation or option. Giving examples is proving that your propositions or resolutions are agreeable,doable, preventable, foreseeable, dependable, evident. It is a resolving way to prove a particular point. Give examples by using facts, history, statistics and other forms of evidence.

'Evidence' is imperative. Without evidence your claims are easily dismissed. That is why references, whether through paraphrasing or direct quoting, make an essay complete. In our society where critical literacy is ruled by rationality and evidence-based proofs, one can never write an essay without first knowing how to include references and researched materials into the discussion. Evidence come in myriad of ways, including primary, secondary, and in the forms of interviews, ethnographic, researched, filmed, photographed, etc. Other common evidence in an essay include: what the author has said, what the character has said, what took place in the novel, what findings the scientist has discovered or unearthed, etc. Evidence makes your point convincing, believable and justified.

Therefore, PEEL is not just having 'point', 'explain', 'evidence' and 'link' in your mix. It is actually PEEEEL to add 'elaborate and 'examples' in the equation. In fact you may have PEEEEEEL that repeats those elements within paragraphs as you see fit.

Lastly, there is 'link'. It is often the last sentence of your paragraph - one that sums up and ties up your ideas to make them relevant to your hypothesis. It is therefore linking your body paragraph to your hypothesis. It makes your paragraph important to your hypothesis. How do you write your linking sentence? Many writers find that their linking sentence is easily written when you rewrite the point you have initially set out in the beginning of your paragraph, only this time,make it more obvious and intelligent.Oh, and don't forget to use linking words in each of your paragraph; they make your discussion seamless. Examples of which include: whereas, on the other hand, furthermore, moreover.

Have fun writing your essay.

PEEL Structure

© 2015 Saya Education


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