Posted by Bernadette on Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 9:10am.
Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. Although I'm not sure if you've ever written an essay before, here are some tips:
2. Five-Paragraph Essay Structure
The introductory paragraph begins with a general statement. This paragraph has the purpose of interesting the reader in your topic. It will also give a short history or statement of relevance. This will show the readers why the topic is of importance to them personally. The last sentence of the introduction is your thesis: a concise statement of what you are going to prove or explain. For the first paragraph, think of an inverted pyramid, from a general statement to the focus point, the thesis.
Before writing the middle paragraphs, think of three main ideas that will support your thesis statement. Each of these three main ideas will be the topic sentence of one of these paragraphs. Essentially, you are saying that if points A, B, and C are true, then my thesis statement is true.
In writing one of these middle (body) paragraphs, begin with the topic sentence. Then think of three pieces of supporting evidence that will prove that idea correct. Quotations, statistics, examples, and analogies are all good support. Then the last sentence of each paragraph is a discovery or conclusion that you can make based on the support. Make sure that you do not wander in your paragraph; stick to the topic sentence.
Use a transitional word to begin the third and fourth paragraphs. some examples of transitional words and phrases are these:
All these are a few of the ways to link the first idea to the second idea.
The final paragraph can be called the Big E: epiphany or discovery. Based on paragraphs, A, B, and C, what did you discover about your thesis or what kind of conclusion can you make? This paragraph is constructed from the specific to general. How might the discovery made here affect a larger venue, audience, or longer time?
The key to good five-paragraph essay writing is structural integrity. If every topic sentence is tied to the thesis, every paragraph discovery statement is tied to the conclusion, and every sentence inside a paragraph supports the topic sentence of that paragraph, then you will have a focused, well constructed paper. You should be able to read your paper backward or forward and see the logical progression of thought.
The second aspect of writing is much more subjective. You have to be in your paper. Your humor and your perspective will make the paper more interesting. Writing is an extremely personal mode of expression, not just stringing impressive words together.
3. Tips on writing a term paper:
The first and best advice is to write something down on paper, no matter how uninspired you might feel; that is how a paper gets started. If you write five pages and later throw it in the wastebasket, you have not wasted your time. The fact that you have decided to throw your five pages away means that you already know what it is that you do not want in your paper. You have already started to write your paper in your mind.
Secondly, do not try to cover too vast a subject. Zoom in on something and say a few things on that subject. It is amazing how fast a paper will fill, even if you only discuss four or five good points. For a two hundred-word essay, which is about three-fourths of a page, double-spaced, two or three ideas are all that will fit, especially if your discussion is substantive.
Next, be logical; put your thoughts in good order so that it will be easy for your reader to follow along and understand the points you are making. Make a broad outline of the following type:
I -- first idea (These will be your main ideas.)
II -- second idea
III -- third idea
Make a second outline, which is slightly more detailed:
I -- first idea
a) Supporting idea 1 (discussion)
b) Supporting idea 2 (discussion)
c) Supporting idea 3 (discussion)
II -- second idea
a) See above
III -- third idea
a) See above
For a two hundred-word paper, this is sufficient. If you had an eight hundred-word essay, you would further break down your outline, by adding subcategories. Think of your outline as a table of contents. The outline is likea bare Christmas tree upon which you hang your ideas as ornaments. This is also a road map to lead you through the construction of your paper. When the paper is done, you will use the outline to tighten the paper, to make sure everything is in good order and relatively free of repetition.
Now, let us move to an important aspect of style. When you discuss an idea, do it and be done with it. Then move to another. In this respect, an outline will be extremely useful to you. The only time a repetition is forgiven is its use to add something new to an idea already discussed. If you must repeat, you should let your reader know you are aware of repetition, using a form of one of the examples below.
As mentioned earlier,
As previously noted,
You will recall that
To stress a point already made,
To repeat a previous statement,
Another important point: Make your reader want to read your paper. When you write a paper, keep in mind that you are trying to convince your reader of something. The best way to bring your reader to your way of thinking is to give the impression that you have researched this subject. You know what you are talking about. Let your reader know that, on this particular subject, no matter how tiny or banal it may seem to be, you are the master. Convince your reader that your paper is worth reading; it is valuable.
When I was writing my thesis, my advisor frequently told me: Write your dissertation as if it were a "thriller." I think that is the best advice I have ever received. Bring your reader to your point of view, one step at a time. Do it slowly and methodically. One idea must lead to another. It is important that you maintain a very tight and logical sequence of ideas.
Another important point: Writing well is not synonymous with using big words. Concentrate on using accurate words rather than big words, and vary your vocabulary.
Now, let us talk about the top and bottom of the outline, the introduction and conclusion, which can make or break a term paper. When writing a short term paper, keep your introduction and conclusion short and to the point. Many people write their introduction and conclusion after the paper is finished. Many people do the opposite. Some people write their conclusion first. Then they use it as a guide to write their paper or to make up their outline. Go with whatever works for you. Even if you have written an introduction, you may discover, once you have reached the end of your paper, that you need to modify or completely rewrite the introduction. Do just that.
Let us be very clear about what constitutes an introduction. An introduction is meant to inform your reader of what will be covered in the paper he or she is about to read. Tell your reader the points you will be discussing, but do not discuss those points. In an introduction, you tell your reader what she or he can expect.
A conclusion is used to wrap up what has been discussed in the paper. Furthermore, it is nice for the writer to add a bit of himself or herself. It is all right to be a little personal in your conclusion. In addition, leave your reader with something to think about, with an idea that would make him or her want to pick up the discussion where you left off.
Here are some final thoughts on the writing of a paper. When you write, you must assume two things:
1) Your reader knows nothing on the subject you are discussing.
2) Your reader is intelligent.
Never assume that your reader is unintelligent. Do not state the obvious, do not preach, do not use cliches, nor repeat endlessly. Assume that your reader has good judgment and good general knowledge. However, assume also that she or he has not read the book you are discussing or knows nothing on the subject you have chosen to discuss, even if your reader is your teacher.
Write to inform your reader. Assuming that your reader knows nothing on the subject at hand, you will make your discussion complete and free of gaps. For instance, if you are writing about a book that you have read, and you present one of your theories, use examples from the book in order to support what you are saying. However, do not just write, "My theory is this and here is the quotation to prove it." You must give your reader a sense of why you chose that quotation. Assume that your reader will disagree with you, and you must convince her/him of your point of view. Do not leave an opening for "Yes, but . . .."
When writing a personal essay and discussing some aspect of your life, give concrete examples to clarify what you are saying, lending support to an idea expressed. Do not throw an idea or theory up and just leave it hanging there, unattached and free-floating. Only the poet and the novelist are allowed such license. Every single word in your paper must be there for a reason. If it is superfluous, take it out.
One final note: Please reread your paper several times. Reread it for spelling, grammar, vocabulary (too many repetitions? find synonyms!), phraseology, presentation of ideas (are they in good order?) and paragraph development.
Now I'll find some websites for you on your topic.
1. site for teachers: http://members.aol.com/AngriesOut/teach4.htm
4. (a child's development calendar): http://www.vtnea.org/vtnea14.htm
Thanks to Writeacher here's how to do your own research:
It looks as if what you need to do is learn how to conduct thorough and effective searches for yourself. That's what research is, and I'm sure that's what your teacher expects you to do -- conduct research. You are searching for information that is so specific that you have to be prepared for the possibility that none of it may be online. Or some may be, and some may not. In addition to searching on the Internet, you also need to make best friends with the reference librarian(s) in your local or college library.
At this webpage, you can go immediately to the search sites (first three columns across the top) -- or even better you can scroll down until you see the section called HOW TO SEARCH THE INTERNET. Those are the links to start with. You'll not only learn how to come up with good search terms, but also how to evaluate the webpages you get as results. Some will be good and others will be garbage. You need to know how to tell the difference.
My favorite way to search is to go to Google's advanced search page
< http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en > and put my search words or phrases into the first or second search box (either "all the words" or "exact phrase"). However, there many other strategies for searching you can use, and the HOW TO SEARCH THE INTERNET section will help you best.
Learning HOW to use Google or other search engines can save you time and help you learn to find information efficiently. Here are some websites that can teach you how:
... and one to help you judge whether a particular website's information is worth your time:
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For Further Reading