English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3.1 From general to specific

Readers can follow an introduction more easily if this first introduces the theme of the essay in general terms and then gradually narrows the focus. You will look at this progression from general to specific points in the next activity.

Activity 7

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Listed below are five headings that summarise the first five sentences of Fred’s introduction.

  • Carers’ understanding of differences between spaces.
  • Normal situations: private and public spaces are clearly separated.
  • Specific care contexts (e.g. hospitals, residential and care situations): difficulties due to reduced private spaces.
  • Care situations: living in public spaces, invasion of private spaces.
  • Effects of this understanding on quality of care.

Think of them as forming an upside down pyramid (Figure 8) and sort them into the correct order so that they progress from general to specific. Make sure that the most general heading comes first and the rest occupy gradually narrower parts of the pyramid. As you can see, in Figure 8 the last heading has already been entered for you.

Copy and paste or type the headings into the box below in the correct order before looking at the answer.

Upside down pyramid consisting of five blank sections.
Figure 8 Partly completed pyramid
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Upside down pyramid consisting of five blank sections.
Figure 9 Completed pyramid

As you can see from the diagram, the correct order, reading from the top down (i.e. general to specific) is:

  • Normal situations: private and public spaces
  • Care situations: living in public spaces, invasion of private spaces
  • Specific care contexts: difficulties due to reduced private spaces
  • Carers' understanding of differences between spaces
  • Effects of this understanding on quality of care


Fred’s introduction starts by considering all everyday situations, then narrows the focus to care situations before moving on to specific care contexts, e.g. hospitals, residential and private homes. For each situation, it focuses on spaces occupied by people. It starts by looking at private and public spaces in general, moves on to private spaces and the invasion of public spaces in care contexts, before saying that the level of understanding of spaces impacts quality of care.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371