TRY IT TODAY!

PEE: The secret to writing a good paragraph

Some jurisdictions refer to paragraphing in schools as having the P-E-E or P-E-A structure. These refer to Point-Evidence-Explanation or Point-Evidence-Analysis. In my teaching, I used to call this structure the Point-Proof-Explanation style. Regardless of what you want to call it - a rose by another name would smell as sweet - this structure is extremely helpful if you are learning to write paragraphs for school or other academic contexts. This structure also works in professional settings too. Here are some practical tips for creating PEE/PEA paragraphs, whether as stand-alone paragraphs in answer to particular questions on school exams or as body paragraphs that create part of an essay.

 

PEE/PEA: 

What PEE (point-evidence-explanation) and PEA (point-evidence-analysis) mean is that you as the student must make the point that you want to prove or develop and then support it with a specifically chosen piece of evidence - like a data point, statistic, or quotation - and then explain briefly how that particular piece of evidence relates to the point you are trying to make.

For instance, if you simply wrote:

Climate change is something that governments should take seriously.

That would be your point. The point that you want to convince someone of is that we need to be serious about climate change. What a great start! Then you would need the evidence. You probably want something like:

NASA scientists at the Earth Observatory report that the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880, with two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade. (remember to provide your citation; I got this data from this website).

So now my paragraph has a point, and it also has evidence. I've found a data point about climate change. However, what is missing is the connection between my point and the evidence. Just because I've provided evidence that climate change is a real thing, doesn't mean that I've provided an explanation or analysis as to why increasing temperatures are either a problem or something that governments should take seriously.

So the explanation/analysis portion of a PEE/PEA paragraph is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. It's the part where your teachers and professors can judge your critical thinking skills. Even though it feels like the most important part is finding the evidence; in fact, the most important part is tying it all together with the final explanation/analysis section.

It could be something like this:

Global climate change matters, because with significant increases (or decreases) in global temperature, the earth can become inhabitable for humans either in its entirety or at least certain parts of the plant may no longer support human life. If one goal of governments is to provide safety and security for its citizens, then governments owe their citizens policies that aim to limit global climate change.

Now whether the reader agrees or disagrees in total or in part with the argument being built, we can see that through a PEE/PEA structure, there is, in fact, an argument being constructed, which allows for disagreements to take an orderly format. For instance, we might disagree with the data, or we might disagree with the conclusion, or we might disagree with the notion that governments play a role, but rather than simply saying "I'm right; you're wrong," anyone reading this PEE/PEA paragraph can begin to pinpoint their disagreement, and through that disagreement, we can all refine our views and be the better for it.

So when we string it all together, here is my sample PEE/PEA paragraph:

 

Climate change is something that governments should take seriously. NASA scientists at the Earth Observatory report that the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880, with two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade.1 Global climate change matters, because with significant increases (or decreases) in global temperature, the earth can become inhabitable for humans either in its entirety or at least certain parts of the plant may no longer support human life. If one goal of governments is to provide safety and security for its citizens, then governments owe their citizens policies that aim to limit global climate change.

 

When you have a paragraph to write or an essay to compose, always think of the PEE/PEA structure!

 

Subscribe for Free Essay Writing Tips & Updates!