The College Writing Series: An Overview of CEA Format

I’m happy to announce that I will be starting the first true series of Teach Them Right called The College Writing Series, aimed to assist you in teaching your child the basics of writing in college! In my last post, 7 Rules to Writing in College, I pointed out a few things that differentiate high school writing from college writing, so it is best to check out that post before reading this one.

In this new series, I’ll teach what is called CEA Format, and is essentially a method to help your body paragraph structure. CEA (which stands for Claim, Evidence, and Analysis) was taught to me in my first semester of the Early College Alliance, the college prep program I entered in the 10th grade. Over the past few years of writing for college professors, I have found that when I use CEA format my essays are generally complimented for their flow and logical progression, both of which are important for a reader. Now I use CEA in almost all of academic writing, sometimes even in short answer questions.

“So why should I use this format?”

CEA format is extremely helpful when it comes to organization of an essay.

Without the ability to effectively communicate your thoughts in a manner that has good structure, your essay can seem confusing to the reader. As I said above, CEA has already helped me greatly with my organization, and I hope that you have the same outcome.

A Quick Overview of CEA Format

CEA Format (Claim, Evidence, Analysis) is a tool for organization, as I’ve said before. It is the template that is supposed to be used for body paragraphs in a college essay. Here is a brief description of each part of a CEA-formatted paragraph:

Claim: Also called a topic sentence, it is an argument, an assertion – something you are attempting to prove to others

Evidence: Facts, statistics, observations, quotations – what you need to prove your claim

Analysis: Translation of your evidence; connecting your evidence to your claim

Claim examples:

  • Video games cause students to fail.
  • The Earth is round.

Evidence examples:

  • Studies have shown that video games cause a decrease in individual attention spans.
  • The amount of daylight varies the farther one is from the equator.

Analysis examples:

  • The school system requires that students have long attention spans in order to learn most of the day. Because students’ attention spans are being reduced by video games, they are losing the ability to focus in school. Without the ability to focus, students fail.
  • If the world was flat, there would be the same amount of daylight in every spot on Earth at the same time. Because the daylight varies, this means the world must be rotating and that it must be a sphere of some kind.

Those are very basic examples of CEA in action.

While the Claim needs to be the first sentence in a body paragraph, CEA can turn into other possible structures:

  • CEEA
  • CEAA
  • CEAEA
  • etc.

Strong paragraphs usually include plenty of analysis, as that is the most important part of CEA format (in my opinion).

So that is an overview of this new series, The College Writing Series. Click here if you liked this post and would like email updates when new parts of the series come out! I hope you look forward to future posts, in which I will be able to go into detail all of the aspects of CEA.

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One thought on “The College Writing Series: An Overview of CEA Format

  1. Great Post Reggie! I would have loved to see a claim example for the flat earth as opposed to a round earth. (I’m serious). Lol! Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to reading and learning from this series! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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