Accessible version | Skip to content | Change your text size

Table of contents

Previous pageNext page

Signposts

Imagine trying to find your way around a new city if there were no street signs or traffic signs. In academic writing, signposts are very important. In a longer essay, it is not sufficient to simply outline the intended essay structure in the introduction – you need 'signposts' throughout the essay to remind the reader where he has come from and to tell him where you plan to go next. Signposts can take the form of words signalling the order in which ideas are presented or sentences explaining the transition from one section of your writing to another.

Transition sentences

Example 1

Having examined the role of the liver in breaking down alcohol within the body it is now necessary to consider the effects of excessive consumption of alcohol on other parts of the digestive system.

Example 2

To this point the focus has been on the potential health benefits of genetic modification of foods, particularly in addressing specific dietary deficiencies. However, it is important to recognize that genetic modification is not always motivated by a desire to address health issues. I will therefore now consider some examples of genetic modification which appear driven more by marketing than health considerations.

Example 3

In the above discussion several advantages of the proposed new surgical techniques have been considered. It is important however to also examine some potential disadvantages. In terms of patient recovery times, for instance, there are real concerns regarding…

Example 4

Clearly bioterrorism presents a number of serious challenges for law enforcement agencies in Australia, and these have been outlined above. However, dealing with bioterrorism is even more complex in regions where the impact may affect populations in several countries at once. This requires agreements on jurisdiction and a high level of cooperation between enforcement agencies from the different countries. Issues related to this situation will now be considered, with a focus on Western Europe.

Reminders

Often in discussing a particular point within an essay we list several factors, sometimes using 'sequence markers' ( Firstly , Secondly, Thirdly). If there are a number of factors to consider, it is useful to remind the reader of the point to which they relate. In the examples below the particular point is underlined.

Firstly,…

Secondly,…

A third factor in healthy liver function is…

You will notice this involves a linking word or phrase + restatement of particular or central point.

If there are several factors then a suitable phrase can be used to introduce additional ones:

Firstly,…

Secondly,…

Thirdly,…

Another significant factor in assessing the risks of bioterrorism is…

Another key implication of the shift to new surgical procedures is…

A further factor to consider in the debate on genetic modification is…

Finally,…

word outputDownload a printable version of this page (.doc)
Problems? Questions? Comments? Please provide us feedback.