PETAL: What is it, and how can I use it?

PETAL: What is it, and how can I use it?

It’s a way of writing essays, and you can use it by readingthis article.

There are a few different ways to structure the paragraphsin an essay, and when it comes down to it, they all aim to get you doing thesame thing – having an argument, and making points in favour of it beforecoming to a grand conclusion that shows you know your stuff.

PETAL is one way of doing this. The letters stand for Point, Evidence, Technique, Analysis and Link. Write a sentence for each one and you’ll have the foundation of a solid paragraph. Here’s what each one means, in more detail.

POINT: I believe that…

Start off with the basis of your argument. Use the questionyou’ve been asked to kick things off, and explain your viewpoint in clearlanguage. What do you believe? Preach it. But you have to back that up, ofcourse.

EVIDENCE: This isshown by…

Specifically, you have to back that up with something fromthe text you’re talking about. Use a quotation to support your point – makesure it’s specific and something you can analyse. It might be tempting to throwin your favourite quote or the easiest one to remember, but it’s here tosupport your point and prove you know both the text and how to talk about thetext.

TECHNIQUE: This is anexample of…

Speaking of talking about the text, this is where you showoff the skills you’ve learnt. Identify the technique being used in the text – isthe quote being used to build a mood? Does it reveal something about acharacter? Does it use a metaphor or the pathetic fallacy to get a messageacross?

ANALYSIS: This provesmy point because…

Now you’ve IDed the technique, you can go more in-depth. Discussthe meaning and/or effect of the element you’ve quoted or referenced. How havethe technique and evidence combined to support your point? This bit is aboutyour point of view – how you break down the details of the text and figure outwhat it’s doing, and why.

LINK: Therefore, Ibelieve that…

Finally, connect your ideas back to the point you made atthe top and the question. Wrap it upwith a bow and move onto the next point/paragraph.

Do that three or so times, and then it’s just the grandconclusion to finish. Like this!



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