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The MEAL Paragraph
Transcript of The MEAL Paragraph
So, What's a MEAL Paragraph?
The MEAL Paragraph!
A paragraph is a collection of sentences that talk about a single claim or idea.
Main Idea = CLAIM
Designed by ME
With a lots help
from Joanna Taylor's Notes!
Main Idea is the sentence that states the claim or idea that will be discussed in the paragraph.
What is a claim?
Well, if you “CLAIM” you can do something, you have to back it up.
If I “CLAIMED” I could play basketball, I’d have to back it up right? Right. If I “CLAIMED” I didn’t steal your phone, I’d have to back it up.
To claim something is to take a position on a topic, which requires evidence to support it.
This part of your paragraph is often also known as your topic sentence: the idea that holds the paragraph’s sentences together.
A CLAIM IS A STATEMENT THAT REQUIRES PROOF TO SHOW THAT IT’S TRUE!
EVIDENCE = BACK UP YOUR CLAIM
Evidence is the specific details:
definitions, facts, statistics, quotes, etc.
that will support your main idea.
Evidence can be a lot of different things
and comes from many places.
FACTS: things that we know to be true, at least for now. This is the most important type of evidence to collect. There are several kinds of factual evidence:
- Scientific data
EXPERT OPINION: these are the opinions of experts who have studied and understand the field. Using quotes from these people in a research or analysis paper can be very useful for supporting your claims.
ANALOGY: an analogy is when you show the similarities between two things. Use analogies to help explain complicated ideas in ways that let your reader connect to something they know more about.
EXAMPLES: these are stories or experiences you’ve read about or heard about. Like personal experiences, these should be backed up with facts.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: sometimes we can support our ideas with personal experience. You may know something about what you’re writing because you’ve lived through it. This is good evidence, but should be further supported with factual evidence.
Analysis is your explanation, interpretation, judgment, evaluation, or conclusions about the evidence you’ve provided to further support your main idea.
Analysis is the most challenging part of writing well, but it’s also the most important. This is where you do something new and original with the information you have found, and you can show your own thinking. Like with evidence, there are many types of analysis. Here are a few:
LOOK FOR WHAT’S INTERESTING:
You chose your evidence for a reason! Why is this evidence interesting? How did it change the way you think about your topic? "What’s interesting about this is…" "What’s strange about this is…" etc.
Inferences are the messages you take away or conclusions you draw from the evidence you have. A lot of time, the inferences you draw from a source will feel obvious. That’s okay. Go ahead and use those obvious messages on the way to more hidden ones.
DEFINE THE PARTS AND SHOW RELATIONSHIPS:
What is this made of?
How do the parts help me understand the whole thing?
LOOK FOR PATTERNS:
Patterns are things (words, phrases, images, emotions) that are repeated within a source several times.
Link is your concluding thought about this claim that also helps launch into the next paragraph and ties back to your thesis in a larger paper.
After analysis, the link is the hardest thing to get right. You want your link sentence(s) to do several things:
oTie up the ideas in the paragraph and connect back to the main idea.
oIf the paragraph is part of a longer paper, your link should also show connection to your thesis statement.
oIf possible, the link should also help transition your reader towards the next paragraph.
oThe link should leave your reader sure that he or she has understood the claim you were making in that paragraph.
As you become a better writer, you will find that you don’t always have to use these pieces in the same order. You might lead with a piece of evidence before stating your main idea. You might even have whole paragraphs of evidence, followed by analysis.
Making sure you have each of the elements of the MEAL paragraph in a piece of writing, large or small, will ensure that you are writing a good, interesting, and original piece.
TRY IT OUT FOR YOURSELF!
To sum it all up...
Try it out now! State YOUR claim!!!
Write a main idea about any topic.
And please don't write things like...
My main idea is...
or my claim is...
That is for amateurs.
Or you can think of it as your
The main idea, or topic sentence, is a DEBATABLE claim that requires
relevant support or evidence
Evidence should be relevant and directly support the writer’s main idea.
EVERY TIME EVIDENCE IS PRESENTED, THERE MUST BE AN ANALYSIS STATEMENT.
Let's check out an example
So, basically... Evidence shouldn’t be plopped down in a paragraph and left to “speak for itself.”
If you leave your evidence unexplained, your reader may interpret it differently than you intended
If that happens, your main idea doesn’t get the support it needs.
Therefore your paragraph should carefully analyze the evidence it provides;
It should, in other words, explain exactly how the evidence you’ve cited proves what you think it proves.
Analysis is the writer’s perspective on the evidence.
Always explain HOW the evidence proves the Main Idea.
Be SPECIFIC!!! Explain WHY? Just keep asking yourself, "How? WHy?"
Understand your topic. You can't write about a topic intelligently if you don't know your topic. Now that's just common sense!
Please don't write like an amateur. Don't say things like, "This proves that..." or "This evidence shows..." Just say what you want to say without all of the extra introductory fluff.
Explain why your evidence is relevant.
What is important about the evidence you just wrote down?
Why should your readers care about that piece of evidence?
What does it show or prove?