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Coherence

 

Overall coherence occurs at the essay level, as well as the paragraph and sentence level. Your response to the assessment task should read as a continuous, connected piece of writing. Each phrase or sentence is linked to those that come before and after. Key words and concepts are used to reinforce cohesion throughout the text.

The example below shows how the overall structure of the essay provides a sense of unity.

Note how:
  • the structure follows the outline developed from the task - describe, contextualise and analyse.
  • keywords and concepts connect the topic and linking sentences in each paragraph to the next
  • the conclusion also links back to the introduction

Click on the ‘next’ button to see how the paragraphs develop.

 

The sample essay below shows how the writer’s argument logically develops through the overall essay in response to the structure suggested by the assessment task. Each paragraph develops the main argument (thesis) using appropriate language (vocabulary and sentence structure) and links to the next paragraph, and/or back to the introduction, to build a coherent whole.

The paragraphs contain evidence grouped and categorised around one main idea. Keywords and concepts from the writer’s research are used to reinforce cohesion throughout the text.

Sample essay

Introduction

Wolfgang Weingart’s cover designs for TM demonstrated his objection to the perceived conservatism and design limitations inherent in Swiss Typographic style, reflecting broader, international politico-social unrest. His experimental media combinations and playful subjectivity … inspired the next generation of designers to create a post-modern aesthetic. [Keywords and concepts] Weingart’s philosophy of design practice calls for a commitment to the act of design, to focus on design as an iterative process of experimentation, prototyping and continuous refinement. [End keywords and concepts]

Describe

Between 1972 and 1973, Weingart created fifteen historically significant covers for Typografische Monatsblatter magazine which [Keywords and concepts] introduced a new paradigm to design [End keywords and concepts] (Heller 2004) … … [Keywords and concepts] His experimentation was criticised but respected [End keywords and concepts] because ‘maybe you need to break things to create something new’ (Schmid cited in TM RSI SGM 1960-902011, para. 100).

Contextualise

Paragraph 1: [Keywords and concepts] Post World War II, [End keywords and concepts] the increase in international trade, coupled with the growing speed and pace of communication, meant that the need for communicative clarity, multilingual formats, and universally comprehensible pictographs and glyphs became important (Meggs & Alston 2011) … … This new clarity and minimalist design was effective in helping [Keywords and concepts] satisfy the communication needs of a world in an era of immense change [End keywords and concepts] (Meggs & Alston 2011). Paragraph 2: [Keywords and concepts] By 1968, [End keywords and concepts] demand for changes in social relationships, the emancipation and politicisation of women and minorities, and increasing urbanisation contributed to [Keywords and concepts] a global expectation of rebellion, particularly against the social conservatism of the preceding decades [End keywords and concepts] … … The increasing awareness of global complexity and social turmoil encouraged experimentalism and a move away from anonymity to individualism in design.

Analyse

Paragraph 1: Weingart believed that for a designer to truly realise their personal typographic ideas, they must first [Keywords and concepts] explore all potential design paths via experimentation [End keywords and concepts] … … The inclusion of graphic design [Keywords and concepts] introduced new, expressive elements to typography. [End keywords and concepts] Paragraph 2: Weingart declared that these [Keywords and concepts] more aware and expressive attitudes in design [End keywords and concepts] were, ‘accelerated by the social unrest of our generation’ (Muller cited in Burton 2013, para. 8) … … Weingart’s teaching philosophy permitted and encouraged his students to take these concepts further.

Conclusion

[Keywords and concepts] Wolfgang Weingart’s critical questioning of assumed principles of design remains an important element of a designer’s philosophy of practice today. [End keywords and concepts] As a designer, Weingart has had his work applauded for its break from the conservatism of the International style and celebrated for its individualism. Yet his focus on experimentation and embrace of technology did not distract from his belief that a designer must understand the basic principles of design practice and graphic techniques to underpin their personal practice …

In the example paragraph below, each new point relates either directly to the last part of the previous point, or back to the main idea. This creates an organic flow within the text.

Example

Click on the ‘next’ button to explore the structure

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Idea 1 (introduction idea)

TM cover designs demonstrated dissatisfaction with Swiss Style

Idea 2 (relates to "demonstrated dissatisfaction with Swiss Style" in idea 1)

New paradigm = break established rules – ‘breathe new life into it [TM] (Grieman cited in Paradis 2010, para. 58)

Idea 3 (relates to "break established rules" in idea 2)

Experimental approach = moved from Swiss geometric grid

Idea 4 (relates to "moved from Swiss geometric grid" idea 3)

Innovations pushed typography to the limits

Idea 5 (relates to "pushed" and "to the limits" in idea 4)

Approach criticised but respected

Complete paragraph

The covers that Weingart designed between 1972 and 1973 for Typografische Monatsblatter magazine demonstrated his dissatisfaction with the perceived corporatisation of Swiss Style which he felt had become anonymous, sterile and dogmatic (Aynsley 2001; Kelley 2015). These covers also introduced a new paradigm to design (Heller 2004) and reflect his technical mastery of established typographic rules, and the determination with which he broke them, to ‘breathe new life into it [TM]’ (Grieman cited in Paradis 2010, para. 58). Weingart’s experimental approach freed letters from the restriction of the Swiss geometric grid, reshaping, respacing and reorganising them. His innovative use of techniques and processes blurred and contorted his typography, pushing it to the limits of legibility. His actions were criticised but respected because ‘maybe you need to break things to create something new’ (Schmid cited in Paradis 2011 b, para. 100).

Devices for reinforcing cohesion include:

  • repetition of keywords and phrases throughout the essay
  • substitution of one word or phrase with another, e.g. using pronouns and synonyms
  • using linking (transition) words to draw attention to relationships between ideas.

Example

Click the buttons in the paragraph below to explore how cohesive devices have been used.

Post World War II, the increase in international trade, coupled with the growing speed and pace of communication, meant that the need for communicative clarity, multilingual formats, and universally comprehensible pictographs and glyphs became important (Meggs & Alston 2011). Modernist graphic design had gained strong momentum in Switzerland and by the 1950s a distinctively Swiss graphic language of simplicity and formal discipline developed (Hollis 2016). Known eventually as ‘Swiss Typography’, ‘International Typographic Style’ or simply, ‘International Style’, it was recognisable particularly for its use of sans serif typography, photography, vibrant colour, asymmetry and negative space within a grid structure, which allowed the clear presentation of complex information (Paradis et al. 2013). This new clarity and minimalist design was effective in helping satisfy the communication needs of a world in an era of immense change (Meggs & Alston 2011).

Post World War II, the increase in international trade, [linking]coupled with[end linking] the growing speed and pace of communication, meant that the need for [repetition]communicative clarity[end repetition], multilingual formats, and universally comprehensible pictographs and glyphs became important (Meggs & Alston 2011). Modernist graphic design had gained strong momentum in Switzerland and by the 1950s a distinctively Swiss graphic language of [repetition]simplicity[end repetition] and [repetition]formal discipline[end repetition] developed (Hollis 2016). Known eventually as ‘[substitution]Swiss Typography[end substitution]’, ‘International Typographic Style’ or simply, ‘International Style’, [substitution]it[end substitution] was recognisable particularly for [substitution]its[end substitution] use of sans serif typography, photography, vibrant colour, asymmetry and negative space within a grid structure, which allowed the clear presentation of complex information (Paradis et al. 2013). [substitution]This new clarity and minimalist design[end substitution] was effective in helping satisfy the communication needs of a world in an era of immense change (Meggs & Alston 2011).

For more information, visit the Linking words and Writing clearly tutorials.