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Short paragraphs happen because an author is unsure what to say, or has not properly thought through how a point or a set of points fit together or can be sequenced into the overall argument.

Some reflect miscellanies of points that the author has not acknowledged as such.

Or again they may skip forward here, feeling that paragraph 2 only repeats., extending beyond the acceptable research text range of 100-200 words to take up 300 words or more.

Often this happens because tokens have multiplied or swollen outside the limits that can be handled easily.

For a research text this occurs if it falls below 100 words, and especially if it consists of just one sentence or is less than 50 words.

Normally, short, bitty paragraphs like this look terrible on the printed page of a journal or a research book, and they undermine the usefulness of paragraphs as argument building blocks.

And they will read the displaced wrap sentence as signalling the topic of paragraph 2 (which it doesn’t).

They may puzzle through paragraph 2, feeling that it was not what was promised at the start, or that it does too many things.

So critical readers’ common reaction is to downgrade or skip the paragraph (or sequence of such paragraphs) and move on.

The easy solution to this problem begins by not thinking in terms of individual authors, but focusing instead on the schools of thought, or ‘sides’ in an empirical controversy, that the authors to be cited represent. Then explain the core ideas or propositions of one or more schools of thought involved in the body sentences.


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