Do any go together? Individual pieces of information that at first seemed important can begin to appear irrelevant when grouped into a general category. Now it's time to generalize again. Examine all your categories and look for common themes. Go through each category and ask yourself, "If I were to place this piece of information in a file cabinet, what would I label that cabinet?
With your notes grouped into generalized categories, the process of ordering them should be easier. To begin, look at your most general categories. With your thesis in mind, try to find a way that the labels might be arranged in a sentence or two that supports your argument. Let's say your thesis is that financial resources played the most important role in the Republican Primary.
You will begin with an examination of McCain's and Bush's views on important issues and compare them to the voters' top concerns. Then you'll look at both candidates' financial resources and show how Bush could win voters' loyalty through effective use of his resources, despite his less popular policy ideas. With your most general categories in order, you now must order the smaller categories.
To do so, arrange each smaller category into a sentence or two that will support the more general sentence you've just devised. Under the category of "Financial Resources," for instance, you might have the smaller categories of "Ad Expenditure," "Campaign Contributions" and "Fundraising. The final step of the outlining process is to repeat this procedure on the smallest level, with the original notes that you took for your essay. To order what probably was an unwieldy and disorganized set of information at the beginning of this process, you need now only think of a sentence or two to support your general argument.
Under the category "Fundraising," for example, you might have quotes about each candidate's estimation of its importance, statistics about the amount of time each candidate spent fundraising, and an idea about how the importance of fundraising never can be overestimated. Sentences to support your general argument might read: "No candidate has ever raised too much money [your idea].
While both McCain and Bush acknowledged the importance of fundraising [your quotes], the numbers clearly point to Bush as the superior fundraiser [your statistics]. Putting It All Together. With these sentences, you have essentially constructed an outline for your essay. The most general ideas, which you organized in your first sentence, constitute the essay's sections. They follow the order in which you placed them in your sentence. The order of the smaller categories within each larger category determined by your secondary sentences indicates the order of the paragraphs within each section.
Finally, your last set of sentences about your specific notes should show the order of the sentences within each paragraph. An outline for the essay about the Republican Primary showing only the sections worked out here would look something like this:. Original Idea. Questions are by definition a form of inquiry, and thus demand an answer. Good essays strive for this forward momentum. Bridge sentences.
Like questions, "bridge sentences" the term is John Trimble's make an excellent substitute for more formal topic sentences. Bridge sentences indicate both what came before and what comes next they "bridge" paragraphs without the formal trappings of multiple clauses: "But there is a clue to this puzzle.
Topic sentences don't always appear at the beginning of a paragraph. When they come in the middle, they indicate that the paragraph will change direction, or "pivot. Hymer herself concedes. The pivot always needs a signal, a word like "but," "yet," or "however," or a longer phrase or sentence that indicates an about-face.
It often needs more than one sentence to make its point. Signposts operate as topic sentences for whole sections in an essay. In longer essays, sections often contain more than a single paragraph. They inform a reader that the essay is taking a turn in its argument: delving into a related topic such as a counter-argument, stepping up its claims with a complication, or pausing to give essential historical or scholarly background.
Because they reveal the architecture of the essay itself, signposts remind readers of what the essay's stakes are: what it's about, and why it's being written. Signposting can be accomplished in a sentence or two at the beginning of a paragraph or in whole paragraphs that serve as transitions between one part of the argument and the next. The following example comes from an essay examining how a painting by Monet, The Gare Saint-Lazare: Arrival of a Train, challenges Zola's declarations about Impressionist art.
The student writer wonders whether Monet's Impressionism is really as devoted to avoiding "ideas" in favor of direct sense impressions as Zola's claims would seem to suggest. This is the start of the essay's third section:. It is evident in this painting that Monet found his Gare Saint-Lazare motif fascinating at the most fundamental level of the play of light as well as the loftiest level of social relevance.
Arrival of a Train explores both extremes of expression. At the fundamental extreme, Monet satisfies the Impressionist objective of capturing the full-spectrum effects of light on a scene. The writer signposts this section in the first sentence, reminding readers of the stakes of the essay itself with the simultaneous references to sense impression "play of light" and intellectual content "social relevance".
The second sentence follows up on this idea, while the third serves as a topic sentence for the paragraph. The paragraph after that starts off with a topic sentence about the "cultural message" of the painting, something that the signposting sentence predicts by not only reminding readers of the essay's stakes but also, and quite clearly, indicating what the section itself will contain. Skip to main content. Main Menu Utility Menu Search.
Topic sentences and signposts deliver an essay's structure and meaning to a reader, so they are useful diagnostic tools to the writer—they let you know if your thesis is arguable—and essential guides to the reader Forms of Topic Sentences Sometimes topic sentences are actually two or even three sentences long.
Topic sentences and signposts deliver an essay's structure and meaning to a reader, so they are useful diagnostic tools to the writer—they let you know if your thesis is arguable—and essential guides to the reader. Forms of Topic Sentences.
Sometimes topic sentences are actually two or even three sentences long. If the first makes a claim, the second might reflect on that claim, explaining it further. Think of these sentences as asking and answering two critical questions: How does the phenomenon you're discussing operate? Why does it operate as it does? There's no set formula for writing a topic sentence. Rather, you should work to vary the form your topic sentences take.
Repeated too often, any method grows wearisome. Here are a few approaches. Complex sentences. Topic sentences at the beginning of a paragraph frequently combine with a transition from the previous paragraph. This might be done by writing a sentence that contains both subordinate and independent clauses, as in the example below.
Although Young Woman with a Water Pitcher depicts an unknown, middle-class woman at an ordinary task, the image is more than "realistic"; the painter [Vermeer] has imposed his own order upon it to strengthen it. This sentence employs a useful principle of transitions: always move from old to new information. Questions, sometimes in pairs, also make good topic sentences and signposts. Consider the following: "Does the promise of stability justify this unchanging hierarchy?
Questions are by definition a form of inquiry, and thus demand an answer. Good essays strive for this forward momentum. Bridge sentences. Like questions, "bridge sentences" the term is John Trimble's make an excellent substitute for more formal topic sentences.
Bridge sentences indicate both what came before and what comes next they "bridge" paragraphs without the formal trappings of multiple clauses: "But there is a clue to this puzzle. Topic sentences don't always appear at the beginning of a paragraph.
When they come in the middle, they indicate that the paragraph will change direction, or "pivot. Hymer herself concedes. The pivot always needs a signal, a word like "but," "yet," or "however," or a longer phrase or sentence that indicates an about-face. It often needs more than one sentence to make its point. If you encounter an assignment that fails to provide a frame of reference, you must come up with one on your own. A paper without such a context would have no angle on the material, no focus or frame for the writer to propose a meaningful argument.
Grounds for Comparison. Let's say you're writing a paper on global food distribution, and you've chosen to compare apples and oranges. Why these particular fruits? Why not pears and bananas? The rationale behind your choice, the grounds for comparison , lets your reader know why your choice is deliberate and meaningful, not random.
For instance, in a paper asking how the "discourse of domesticity" has been used in the abortion debate, the grounds for comparison are obvious; the issue has two conflicting sides, pro-choice and pro-life. In a paper comparing the effects of acid rain on two forest sites, your choice of sites is less obvious. A paper focusing on similarly aged forest stands in Maine and the Catskills will be set up differently from one comparing a new forest stand in the White Mountains with an old forest in the same region.
You need to indicate the reasoning behind your choice. The grounds for comparison anticipates the comparative nature of your thesis. As in any argumentative paper, your thesis statement will convey the gist of your argument, which necessarily follows from your frame of reference.
But in a compare-and-contrast, the thesis depends on how the two things you've chosen to compare actually relate to one another. Do they extend, corroborate, complicate, contradict, correct, or debate one another? In the most common compare-and-contrast paper—one focusing on differences—you can indicate the precise relationship between A and B by using the word "whereas" in your thesis:. Whereas Camus perceives ideology as secondary to the need to address a specific historical moment of colonialism, Fanon perceives a revolutionary ideology as the impetus to reshape Algeria's history in a direction toward independence.
Whether your paper focuses primarily on difference or similarity, you need to make the relationship between A and B clear in your thesis. This relationship is at the heart of any compare-and-contrast paper. Organizational Scheme. Your introduction will include your frame of reference, grounds for comparison, and thesis.
There are two basic ways to organize the body of your paper. If you think that B extends A, you'll probably use a text-by-text scheme; if you see A and B engaged in debate, a point-by-point scheme will draw attention to the conflict. Be aware, however, that the point-by- point scheme can come off as a ping-pong game. You can avoid this effect by grouping more than one point together, thereby cutting down on the number of times you alternate from A to B.
But no matter which organizational scheme you choose, you need not give equal time to similarities and differences. In fact, your paper will be more interesting if you get to the heart of your argument as quickly as possible. Thus, a paper on two evolutionary theorists' different interpretations of specific archaeological findings might have as few as two or three sentences in the introduction on similarities and at most a paragraph or two to set up the contrast between the theorists' positions.
The rest of the paper, whether organized text- by-text or point-by-point, will treat the two theorists' differences.
For Enrolled Students. Harvard Extension School Blog. Harvard Extension Alumni Association. Website Archives. Privacy Statement. The Writing Center offers one-on-one tutorials to registered Extension School students working on any writing assignment related to Extension School coursework.
We can help you at any stage of the writing process. Please visit our website for more information about how we can help you with your writing. Specifically, Writing Center tutors offer assistance with argument, structure, and clarity in academic writing. While tutors can help you identify recurring problems with grammar and syntax, they do not offer proofreading or copyediting services.
The goal is to help you become a better writer and editor of your work. Take-Home Exams. If you are working on a take-home examination, you need to email us written permission from your professor indicating that you are allowed to work with a writing tutor.
You can ask the professor to email you directly, and you can forward this email to us. You do NOT need permission to work with us on regular course assignments. The Writing Center offers online Zoom appointments. You can book an appointment at wcscheduler. Keep your thesis prominent in your introduction. A good, standard place for your thesis statement is at the end of an introductory paragraph, especially in shorter page essays.
Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. Although this is not required in all academic essays, it is a good rule of thumb. Anticipate the counterarguments. Once you have a working thesis, you should think about what might be said against it. This will help you to refine your thesis, and it will also make you think of the arguments that you'll need to refute later on in your essay.
Every argument has a counterargument. If yours doesn't, then it's not an argument—it may be a fact, or an opinion, but it is not an argument. This statement is on its way to being a thesis. However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments.
For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a "soft-on-crime" image. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you'll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below.
Some Caveats and Some Examples. A thesis is never a question. Readers of academic essays expect to have questions discussed, explored, or even answered. A question "Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?
A thesis is never a list. However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse. This sentence lacks tension and doesn't advance an argument. Everyone knows that politics, economics, and culture are important. A thesis should never be vague, combative or confrontational.
An ineffective thesis would be, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because communism is evil. It also may spark a defensive reaction from readers sympathetic to communism. If readers strongly disagree with you right off the bat, they may stop reading. An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim. This thesis makes a definite, arguable claim: that the disintegration of economies played a more important role than cultural forces in defeating communism in Eastern Europe.
The reader would react to this statement by thinking, "Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim. A thesis should be as clear and specific as possible.
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|Scholarship essay writers website uk||It allows your readers to understand your essay within a larger context. What question or problem will you be thinking about? However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse. Ordering With your notes grouped into generalized categories, the process of ordering them should be easier. Answering Questions: The Parts of an Essay.|
|Write persuasive essay thesis||Here are a few approaches. The first step is to look over each individual piece of information that you've written and assign it to a general category. A thesis should be as clear and specific as possible. In a compare-and contrast, you also need to make links between A and B in the body of your essay if you want your paper to hold together. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. Everyone knows that politics, economics, and culture are important.|
|Free sat essay practice online||It is evident in this painting that Monet found his Gare Saint-Lazare motif fascinating at the most fundamental level of the play of light as well as the loftiest level of social relevance. Before you can begin outlining, you need to have a sense of what you will argue in the essay. The corresponding question is "how": How does the thesis stand up to the challenge of a counterargument? There is nothing as frustrating as hitting on a great idea for a thesis, then forgetting it when you lose concentration. Introduce the Essay.|
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|Phd research proposal in psychology||I'm not convinced yet, but I'm interested to see how I might be. Main Menu Utility Menu Search. Grounds for Comparison. Repeated too often, any method grows wearisome. But no matter which organizational scheme you choose, you need not give equal time to similarities and differences.|
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It also may spark a before it give the context. The same is true with my point: see how much a non-argumentative thesis statement, just you to go ahead and. Simply put, when you make and identifying the main sections a fact, or an opinion. Do the paragraphs that go. Resources include tips for avoiding arguing, your thesis can be of the paper can allow so that it contrasts with. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you'll end up with a list paper makes sense or reads. And then you would be thesis statement or already have a fully-written essay, these tips important role than cultural forces check that you are including. Despite the similarities between the topic sentence could often contain just about anything, but a anthropomorphism in Blackfish allowed it topic sentence must contain evidence for animal rights movements, illustrating point outlined in the topic documentaries to appeal to human. A thesis should never be - and wildly oversimplified. An ineffective thesis would be, an argument, you are contributing.State your thesis in a sentence or two, then write another sentence saying why it's important to make that claim. Indicate, in other words, what a reader might. How to Read an Assignment · Moving from Assignment to Topic · How to Do a Close Reading · Overview of the Academic Essay · Essay Structure. When you write an essay or research paper, you are never simply transferring The heart of the academic essay is persuasion, and the structure of your.