“Mini” Research Unit Researching, Writing, and Presentation Skills Essays
The Essence of Writing is Communication.• Communicating your ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.• Communicating what you have learned.• Forming your own opinions, insights, and ideas are crucial components to writing a good essay.
A Step-by-Step Approach From The Everything Study Book by Steven Frank1. Choose a general topic.2. Read, think, percolate.3. Design a thesis statement.4. Conduct research.5. Take notes on sources.6. Jot down your own ideas.
A Step-by-Step Approach7. Organize your notes.8. The three-part essay: introduction, body, conclusion.9. Write the first draft.10, Revise and redraft.11. The final edit
1. Choose a General Topic• Given the type of assignment, choose a topic that interests you. If the topic is original and exciting to you, it will be reflected in your essay.• Be sure to narrow your topic to a manageable size. Don’t become overwhelmed by TMI.
2. Read, Think, Percolate• Once you have your topic, immerse yourself in reading and thinking about it. This will help you narrow down the general topic to a more specific one.• Good ideas take time…let the information percolate. Soon your own ideas and thoughts will emerge – be sure to jot them down.
3. Design a Thesis Statement• The thesis statement is the backbone of the essay.• The thesis statement is NOT the same thing as the topic. The topic is what you have read about to generate ideas. A thesis statement is your viewpoint about some particular aspect of the topic.• The thesis statement is a single sentence that sums up the central idea of the essay.
A Thesis Statement Should…• Be Specific• Reflect Your Own Ideas• Be Something You Believe• Be Something You Can Build A Solid Argument to Support• Be a Single, Direct Sentence
4. Conduct Research• There are two kinds of essays: one that requires you to do research using information from outside sources to explain and support your thesis. The other is an essay discussing your own thoughts and feelings on a particular subject.
Types of sources• Outside sources include primary and secondary.• Primary sources: texts focusing on the subject of the essay, specific works of literature, historical documents, or essays and articles presenting certain theories.
Types of sources• Secondary sources: books and articles by critics, historians, scholars, and other writers who comment on and address primary sources.• Where to look: Library, Indexes, Bibliographies, Internet** Worksheet: Textbook Special Features
5. Take notes 6. Jot down your own ideas• Quotation – restates a passage or a part of a passage from a source in the original writer’s exact words.• Paraphrase – restates the ideas in a passage rephrased completely in your own words.• The heart of the essay should be your own ideas. Other sources only serve to support our ideas.
7. Organize your notes.• Read through and evaluate your notes- which notes are necessary for your argument. Everything in the final presentation must relate to the thesis statement.• Only significant information should be included in the presentation.• Group information (note cards) together, such as same point of view or issues.
8. The Three-Part Essay: Introduction• The introduction is where you introduce your general topic and specific thesis statement.• The introduction needs to be a single, well-written paragraph. By being succinct*, the introduction has more impact.• marked by compact precise expression without wasted words <a succinct description
Introduction and Thesis Statement• Begin the intro paragraph with a broad, general statement about the paper’s topic. The first sentence should be well written, interesting, and give the reader some idea of the papers topic. The rest of the intro then bridged the opening statement with the thesis statement, which is usually the last sentence of the introduction.
More Introduction….• The introduction should come entirely from you. It is not the place to quote and paraphrase outside sources. Those sources belong in the body of the paper, where you use them to prove the thesis statement.• The reader should be impressed by your ideas!
8.TheThree-Part Essay: Body• The body is the bulk of the essay where your detailed argument that supports the thesis statement. – Material clearly relates to the Thesis Statement – Explain all points carefully, making them clear to the reader. – Be sure it flows smoothly and logically from one point to the next.
Note cardsIf working from note cards it is easier to create a focused paragraph. Each grouping of note cards you created became a section in the rough outline. Those rough outline entries became the central points of individual paragraphs.
8.TheThree-Part Essay: Conclusion• Represents a clear understanding of the thesis as a proven fact.• Recap the major points and refer to the thesis statement in some form and reinforce it as a proven fact.• Again, the conclusion should be mostly in your own words.
9. Write the first draft. 10. Revise and redraft. 11. The final edit.• Good writing takes time and effort to produce. It doesn’t happen all at once.
BibliographyFrank, Steven. The Everything Study Book, Adams Media Corporation, MA. 1996.