Analysis-Driven Paragraphs: "TEA"
In academic writing, your ability to persuade is based mostly on presenting successful logical arguments. In other words, you need to make points, supported by evidence, which support your thesis. One way of successfully accomplishing this is by using a simple formula. It's called TEA.
Let's pretend that you have a thesis like this one:
In "The Branding of Learning," Naomi Klein successfully persuades readers who might otherwise not care about the issue to hold a negative view about corporate presence in schools.
Now let's look at how you might develop a supporting paragraph using TEA.
Topic Sentence (T)
This is the sub-claim that you want to develop in support of your main claim (your thesis).
Examples of university-based medical research being hijacked by companies help Klein show her audience that corporate presence in schools creates problems that extend far beyond the schoolroom door.
Next, you give some evidence that helps support/illustrate the point you want to make:
For example, Klein writes about Dr. Nancy Olivieri, a research for the University of Toronto who was hired by Apotext to test the effectiveness of one of their drugs. When Olivieri discovered that the drug might be hurting the patients, she "wanted to warn the patients participating in the trial and to alert other doctors in her field" (65). However, the drug company had created a clause in her research contract that allowed them to prevent publication of findings for one year after the trials ended. Klein sees this event as an intrusion into "the sanctity of academic research conducted in the public interest" (65).
After you give evidence that relates to your point, you've got to make sure that your reader understands HOW the evidence supports the point AND how it connects to the thesis. Don't assume that your reader will make the connection on his/her own; instead, break the evidence down to show how it connects to the argument you're making.
In this example, we can clearly see that the goals of academic research are being controlled by corporate contracts that prevent the sharing of information. If this were an example of a company preventing publication about wigs in eighteenth-century England, readers would probably not be likely to care all that much. However, by presenting an example of suppressed research which could directly and seriously impact the readers' own health, Klein gives readers who may not have children of their own a reason to care about the presence of corporations in schools.
Eventually you'll become more and more sophisticated in your writing, and you'll discover that TEA has its constraints. Don't feel like every paragraph has to follow this format; instead, recognize that it can be a useful way of organizing your ideas and an easy way to check to see if you're providing adequate analysis of your evidence.