Milton Vines in Creative Writing, Writing, Education and Training wrtiter • WEr Sep 30, 2020 · 1 min read · ~100

The Problem with Generalisations

In academic writing, it is common to make generalisations. But the problem with generalisations occurs when you forget to support them.Thus, you could turn a well-meaning sentence into something vague and stereotypical. If you think of an academic essay writing service as writing for an audience that knows absolutely nothing about your subject area – even if your subject area is the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables. You may think that eating a healthy diet is something everybody knows about, but in academic writing (especially in undergraduate) everything you say should be backed up. For example, if I wrote ‘eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, is key for a healthy immune system, in addition to the prevention of many diseases, such as: some cancers, heart disease and diabetes. I just made that up, off the top of my head, yet I know it is true and in everyday speech and life, that would be acceptable. But in academia this is a generalisation, and the problem with this, is not only will be frustrate your examiner, it is bad practice.

The Problem with Generalisations

Now if I take the above sentence 'eating give portions of fruit and vegetables a day is key for a healthy immune system, in addition to the prevents of many diseases such as: some cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. For example, The National Health Service states that it is important to eat a healthy diet and can help us to stay healthy' (NHS, 2012).

You can generalise until the cows come home, as long as you give examples. This is also called rhetorical functions. Common words that you can use to turn your generalisation into a statement are: for example, for instance, shows that, shows this, an example of that, this was exemplified, is a case in point.

Let us look at a few more examples:

In deprived areas, children may not get the education they need.

This is a generalisation, because it is not supported.




'In deprived areas, children may not get the education they need. ESTYN reports on schools in deprived areas show that children sometimes miss out on education opportunities due to their backgrounds.' By adding another sentence is enough. Because the writer has specified why he/she has used this generalisation, the reader could read more on a specific ESTYN report of the education of children in deprived areas.

All women are bad drivers

Most people do not like poetry

These general statements hone in on stereotypes about certain things. You could turn these generalisations in to specifics in the following way:

All women are bad drivers, for example there 75% of all road accidents in 2011 had women drivers.

Most people do not like poetry, as it can be considered a dying art. A survey performed by The University of Sussex, for instance, confirms that more people would rather read a novel, than a collection of poetry.