A Common Complaint Student writers don’t plan. They just sit down and start writing.
Prewriting Gives you a Head Start! It involves: Planning Organizing And leads into: Drafting
Prewriting Benefits Planning and organizing before you start writing doesn’t add work; it redistributes work. Yes, it will take longer to start writing, but… It will take less time to write the paper, and… Your paper will be much better!
Planning Assess the writing situation Form a research question Research your topic from multiple viewpoints Draft a working thesis
Assess the Writing Situation Before writing, all authors assess their situations. Here, we consider what we call a rhetorical triangle:
Now, you’re the author! So you need to think about these things. Subject What am I writing about? What do I already know about this? What different points of view exist? Purpose What am I hoping to accomplish? Do I want to inform, persuade, analyze, etc.? Audience Who are you targeting with this paper? What assumptions can you make about this audience?
Form a Research Question First, make sure you understand what your assignment asks. Read very carefully! Next, form a basic question that will guide your research. Should the government adopt a single-payer healthcare system? Are student/teacher conferences worth the time and inconvenience?
Research Your Topic Pay attention to your assignment’s source requirements. Use the tools at your disposal. Library Internet Interviews Consider multiple points of view!
Draft a Working Thesis Your thesis should: Answer your research question. Show where you stand on the issue. Show your audience where the paper will go. The success of single-payer healthcare systems in other nations suggests that America would benefit by adopting one as well. Student success begins at home, and the relationship between teachers and parents built in conferences is essential to fostering a home environment that is beneficial to education.
Organizing An outline is a great way to organize. When organizing, break your paper down into three main parts: Intro Body Conclusion
Outline You’ve seen these before. Thesis at the top. Each Roman numeral provides a main line of reasoning. Each subheading is support for that line of reasoning.
Example Thesis: The success of single-payer healthcare systems in other nations suggest that America would benefit by adopting one as well. I. Health care in Switzerland I. Example from Jones article II. Quote from Swiss doctor III. Quote from EU official II. Health care in Canada I. Example from Jones II. Quote from Prime Minister III. Objections to Plan I. Quote from Sarah Palin II. Quote from Obama refuting Palin
Drafting Your outline is like a skeleton… Put some meat on those bones!
Plan an Introduction A good introduction should: Grab the reader’s attention Give background information and history, enough to get the reader up to speed on the issue This includes major points of view Introduce your thesis
Body Paragraphs Each paragraph should contribute to supporting your thesis. Either by using sources to confirm your claims… Or by refuting claims that dispute your thesis. Open paragraphs with a topic sentence (similar to Roman numeral bullet from outline). Support with quotes, paraphrases, and summaries from research.
Conclusion A good conclusion reiterates main ideas; it doesn’t repeat them. Emphasize your thesis. Remind us of key arguments. Close by returning to grabber to bring paper full circle.
If you plan well… Writing the paper is as simple as elaborating on your outline! All you have to do is connect your main points. Saves time. Better organized. Won’t leave anything out.
But what if… You have to write a very long paper?
Narrow your thesis. Now you can see what you say!
Thesis is like a mini-outline. “ Because many students work full time, they are unable to keep up their grade point averages, some with a 2.0 and under, so they risk future job opportunities because employers see poor grades on college transcripts.”
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