Good Paragraph Development:

As Easy as P.I.E.

A paragraph is a group of related sentences detailing one clear point related to your thesis. A good paragraph is thoughtful, unified, coherent, and well-developed. If you are having trouble developing or explaining your key points within your paragraphs, check to see if your paragraphs have these three essential structural parts: a point, information, and an explanation.

One way to understand and remember paragraph structure is to think of the word P.I.E.

Point Often, the point is the TOPIC SENTENCE.
  • What is the point of this paragraph?
  • What claim is being made?
  • What will this paragraph prove or discuss?
Information The information is the EVIDENCE used to support/develop the point.
  • How is the point supported with specific data, experiences, or other factual material?
  • What examples can you use to support your point?
Ideas for What Kind of INFORMATION You Should Include:
  • Facts, details, reasons, examples
  • Information from the readings or class discussions
  • Paraphrases or short quotations
  • Statistics, polls, percentages, data from research studies
  • Personal experience, stories, anecdotes, examples from your life
Explanation The explanation is the writer’s ANALYSIS, elaboration, evaluation, or interpretation of the point and information given, connecting the information with the point (topic sentence) and the thesis.
  • What does the provided information mean?
  • How does it relate to your overall argument?
  • Why is this information important/significant/meaningful?


Short Example of P.I.E. at work

(your paragraphs, of course, will be longer and more detailed):

Ironically, rock climbing accidents can also be caused by user error. Of the many dangers that rock climbers face, many can be prevented. Each year nearly one out of every three accidents is preventable (Climbing 35). According to certified guide Jessie Guthrie, “many people—even advanced climbers—get hurt every year because of careless errors” (304). Careless errors typically involve failure to check partner’s equipment and lack of basic rescue skills. Because of user error and other avoidable mistakes, rock climbing can be harmful.

(point, information, and explanation)

Proprietary Information of Ashford University, Created by Academics, CR 215591.