Title should be original and include the primary source/author on which
analysis is based. Example: “Letter from
Birmingham Jail: A Guidebook in
Delicate Intervention”, or “Elizabeth
Cady Stanton: A Wager of Intellectual
War”. Notice how the title uses a colon,
identifies the topic, and gives the reader some clue as to what the tone or
opinion the piece carries. Often good
titles will not be clear until one’s paper is written, so don’t preoccupy
yourselves about trying to devise the world’s most unique title before you know
what you’re saying. It’ll come in time.
advise: The Hacker manual is replete with helpful
information on strong introductions, using quotes properly and for a variety of
reasons, etc. Use this book to its
fullest; it’s invaluable.
There are several great ways to start
introductions in any paper. Here are
Introducing and defining a term. Please use an official source: a dictionary,
the Jacobus book, etc. Do not use
your own definition. You may, after
using an official term, discuss your interpretation of it, and therefore
disagree or agree with it. But your
argumentation should be based on “fact”. This adds authenticity to your work
and takes some of the guesswork out for you.
Telling an anecdote that in
some way relates to the thesis. This
should be no more than three or four sentences long. Period.
Asking a question. However, you must must must answer it! (In fact questions are great ways to further
arguments throughout a paper, though in order for them to “work” they must be
addressed—and again, the more thoroughly addressed, generally the better.
Establishing context for
your argument. This can be achieved by
giving historical context to the piece or orienting the audience by creating
setting for which the piece was written (especially if it’s fictiious).
Your introduction should also include two
Giving a summary (2-3
sentences tops) of the piece of literature.
Your thesis, which should be underlined (in part so
readers don’t have to go a-hunting for
it! But also so one knows roughly what you, the writer, is setting out to
paragraphs: Each needs to include:
You may not know what this is for certain until all the writing is on the
page. There’s nothing wrong with
that! Some of the most amazing topic
sentences are achieved in that manner—toward the end of the writing process.
Paraphrase, summary or direct
quotations from the text to bolster arguments.
Adequate (AKA thorough!!!) development
Additional specific examples
relevant to buttressing main points in paragraphs—which can come from outside
reading, life experience, examples used by the author, etc.
to opposition. Remember
in analysis that strong argumentation comes from anticipating what those who
disagree with your assertions might say.
Including a few of these wisely rounds out strong writing. In fact,
assuming your audience are those persons in disagreement with you, is a wise
choice to use as a premise for your writing (this is true of almost any paper,
unless it’s fiction, perhaps).
Concluding and/or transition
Sometimes these are one and the same; sometimes, not. These are one of
the final steps (often) in the writing process, when you can see how body paragraphs
and ideas flow from one to another.
Remember that sometimes transitions within body paragraphs between
points are also needed. These are
excellent guideposts to remind readers of the purpose of each point being
proved, by relating it back to the thesis.
This should restate the thesis, only in fresh diction: no word vertigo! Also, it should include a parting insight,
which relates somehow to lessons learned from the writing of the essay, or that
follows logically from accepting one’s thesis as “truth”. The conclusion does
not have to be unnecessarily long—three to four sentences can very well
suffice. Think quality not quantity!
Proofread! While tutors at the Writing Center are not there to edit your
papers, allow them to guide you in specific issues you may have with regard to
syntax, strong development, clear expression, addressing the assignment, and a
clear, arguable, and strong thesis. I look forward to reading your work.