Sandwich Method of Paragraph Writing
The sandwich method is a common strategy you can use to construct paragraphs within a paper and to prepare the elements of a particular paragraph. Clarity and unity are keys to well-constructed paragraphs. The sandwich method helps you frame a paragraph with introduction and conclusion statements that provide the "bun" for key points within the "meat" of the paragraph.
The sandwich method essentially uses a sandwich as a metaphor for the structure of a typical paragraph. The opening statement provides direction for the paragraph and mirrors the top bun of a sandwich. The middle, support statements provide details and mirror the meat and ingredients within the sandwich. A closing statement summarizes or ties up the content within the paragraph in the same way the bottom bun holds the sandwich together.
Top Bun -- Opening
The opening statement is a critical launching point for a distinct, clear paragraph. Each paragraph within a paper should touch on one key point. The opening is a general statement that frames the subject of the paragraph. In a paper outlining top strategies to find a job, you might start a paragraph on networking with the sentence "Networking is one of the most effective ways to find a new job." This statement introduces the topic of job networking and leaves the reader asking "Why?"
The Meat -- Detail Statements
The meat of the paragraph is made up of supporting, evidential or detail statements that answer the reader's question about the topic sentence. They clarify or give evidence to support the main point. In supporting the networking topic statement, you could have a second sentence stating "Networking involves using relationships with others to learn about open positions and get personal introductions to hiring managers." A third sentence could build on this with "Managers typically prefer to hire a person familiar to and trusted by someone within the organization." Both of these sentences speak to the reader's "Why?" question.
Bottom Bun -- Conclusion
Interestingly, a concluding statement in a paragraph is considered optional, though a missing bottom bun on a sandwich would likely make a mess. In the conventional sandwich paragraph, the last sentence wraps up the paragraph's topic or summarizes its key points. If you have an especially short paragraph with just two to four sentences, a conclusion isn't necessary. In a typical paragraph with five to seven statements, it makes more sense. In the networking example, your bottom bun statement could say "While you can use other methods as well, networking is proven to work most effectively because of the personal connection to an employer."
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.