Good Academic Paper

  1. Opening Paragraph
    1. Hook
      1. “Ideally, the sentences leading to the thesis should hook the reader, perhaps with one of the following:
        1. a startling statistic, an unusual fact, or a vivid example
        1. a paradoxical statement
        1. a quotation or a bit of dialogue
        1. a question
        1. an analogy
        1. an anecdote”
    1. Introduction
      1. “Your introduction will usually be a paragraph of 50 to 150 words…Perhaps the most common strategy is to open the paragraph with a few sentences that engage the reader, establish your purpose for writing, and conclude with your main point” (the thesis statement).
    1. Thesis Statement
      1. There are four components to a thesis statement:  1) the name of the author of the primary source, 2) the title of her or his text, 3) one claim made by the author, and 4) the answer to the “why is this important?” question.
  1. Body – “the body of an essay develops support for a thesis” (17).
  2. Topic Sentence – “a one-sentence summary that tells readers what to expect as they read on” (24).  For purposes of this class, the topic sentence should be the first sentence of each paragraph.
  3. Direct Quote/Paraphrase – either directly quote or paraphrase the text and research to support your arguments.
  4. Expansion of your own thoughts and ideas – how do you interpret the text?  Do you agree or disagree with the author?  Do the author’s ideas need to be updated?
  1. Conclusion
    1. “A conclusion should remind readers of the essay’s main idea without dully repeating it. By the end of the essay, readers should already understand your  main point.
  2. A conclusion might briefly summarize the essay’s key points, propose a course of action, discuss the topic’s wider significance, offer advice, or pose a question for future studies.
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