Bullet points can be a great tool that helps students summarize their arguments or attract readers’ attention to a specific idea. However, some people don’t know when and how to use them. This article will explain why bullet points are needed and how to write them.
These tips can be of great help to people who work on their reports, research papers, proposals, dissertations, presentations and many other assignments that may involve bullet points.
Bullet Points: Their Importance
Overall, bullet points are required when a student wants to give an overview of a series of important ideas. They can enable you to avoid repetitions and make your paper or presentation much more concise and clear. For instance, you can use bullet points to summarize the consequences of a certain phenomenon or make a series recommendations. Remember that a bullet point list has to contain at least three ideas; otherwise you need to write full sentences.
Bullet Points: Tips and Rules of Thumb
When using bullet points, you should remember some basic rules and principles that will allow you avoid many mistakes:
- Explain why the content of these bullet points might be of interest to your audience; otherwise it is quite possible that readers will skip this part of the paper or presentation.
- Make sure that every bullet point expresses a clear idea or argument.
- Avoid cognitive overload in your bullet points. Sometimes students insert too many dates or numbers in bullet points and as a result, listeners and readers cannot retain them.
- Try to start each of your bullet points with the same part of speech. For example, if the first bullet point starts with a verb, each of the following points should also start with a verb.
- Write a brief, concluding sentence, which gives a gist of the whole bullet point list. Again, your task is to make sure that your audience understands your ideas.
Bullet Points: What Else You Should Keep in Mind
As you can see, well-constructed bullet points can make your paper much easier to read and understand. Yet, to express your ideas clearly, you should avoid several things that can present difficulties for viewers, readers, or listeners. Here are some of them:
- Terms and formulas that might be unfamiliar to the audience;
- Block quotes. Remember that bullet points have to be very brief;
- Vague sentences or expressions;
- Quantitative information that is not explained in any way.
You will have to do many assignments in which bullet points can be used. If you consider the tips provided in this article, you will write better papers and receive higher grades.