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The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing
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Section 1.1.4


Look for ways to improve the coherence of your writing. Coherence is the quality of hanging together, of providing the reader an easily followed path. Writers promote coherence by making their material logically and stylistically consistent, and by organizing and expressing their ideas in specific patterns. Efforts to emphasize the relationships among the elements of a document strengthen its impact. Coherence can dramatically improve the reader's ability to understand your material by promoting its flow or readability. Coherence is especially valued in science and technology because of the inherent complexity of the subjects.

At the level of the whole document, coherence helps to provide the larger picture, in which the connections among the parts of the document are made clear by the writer. Give readers a road map to help them anticipate the content of your work. Abstracts, clear titles, introductions, and problem statements all promote coherence by linking various parts of a piece of writing.

The paragraph is one of the most powerful instruments of coherence. By organizing material into a topic sentence and supporting sentences, paragraphs pull together material and emphasize various forms of conceptual development. Paragraph development is achieved partly through the specific strategies of exemplification, analysis, comparison and contrast, definition, enumeration, and description, all of which furnish distinct approaches to developing ideas. Transitional devices also operate at the paragraph level to provide links between sentences and between paragraphs.

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## Coherence ##
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