Lessons learned

Unity is the focus on a single idea. Coherence is the intelligibility with the aid of logical and verbal bridges (Purdue OWL, 2007, para 5). Logical bridges are formed when the idea is carried from sentence to sentence. Verbal bridges are formed when keywords are repeated across the paragraph. "A topic sentence is a sentence that indicates in a general way what idea or thesis the paragraph is going to deal with" (Purdue OWL, 2007, para 8). This is a very good example of a topic sentence for a paragraph that describes the importance of the topic sentence. However, this need not necessarily be at the top of the paragraph. In a paragraph, transition sentences are used to connect ideas. A transition used at the end of a paragraph will help the idea flow easily to the next paragraph.
Content is undoubtedly the most essential feature of writing, however, what makes the content presentable is grammar and mechanics. The mechanics deal with the conventional rules of writing while grammar with the forms of words and how they relate to each other. For example, using apostrophe in a plural or a singular word (boys’ or boy’s) is a matter of mechanics, not grammar. Also, choosing the right rhetorical strategy is essential for powerful writing. Exemplification is the strategy of using facts, and description is that of detailing (Shulman, 2004, para 2). Narration, process analysis, comparison, classification, definition, cause-effect analysis and argumentation are others that can be used in different appropriate combinations for different topics. Having chosen the topic, thorough research leads to in-depth knowledge which, again, adds conviction to your writing. Information can be gathered from what others have written (books, journals, etc.), said (interviews, discussions, etc.) and made (software, organizations, etc.) (Dix, 1997, para 16). You have to be aware of the limitations, authenticity and suitability of your chosen methodology. If written sources suit scientific research, it may be a survey that suits market research.
The study of the techniques and strategies and the practical assignments have helped immensely in improving my writing from being just prosy to being more powerful, convincing, interesting and effective.
Dix, A, (1997). Research techniques. In Research and Innovation Techniques. Retrieved August 8, 2008, from http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/dixa/topics/res-tech/intro.html
Shulman, L. E. (2004). Rhetorical strategies of essay writing. Retrieved August 8, 2008, from http://www.nvcc.edu/home/lshulman/rhetoric.htm
APA and Styles
Academic writing is a result of in-depth research into already published sources, relevant references, logical interpretation and subjective summarization. There are several established and accepted styles for writing, the rules of which are to be diligently followed