The writing process preparation and prewriting
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The Writing Process: Preparation and Prewriting . Sean McCandless, PhD Candidate Virginia Nichols, M. A . MEAL: Essay Formation. M Main Point: Thesis statement E Evidence/Examples from credible sources A Analysis: Interpretation of the evidence L Link to thesis statement and conclusion.

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The Writing Process: Preparation and Prewriting

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The writing process preparation and prewriting

The Writing Process: Preparation and Prewriting

Sean McCandless, PhD Candidate

Virginia Nichols, M. A.


Meal essay formation

MEAL: Essay Formation

M

  • Main Point: Thesis statement

    E

  • Evidence/Examples from credible sources

    A

  • Analysis: Interpretation of the evidence

    L

  • Link to thesis statement and conclusion


Prewriting prospectus proposal outline

Prewriting: Prospectus/Proposal/Outline

  • Choose a topic

  • Ask research questions

  • Identify research methods/materials

  • Start an annotated bibliography/literature review

  • Develop a working thesis statement


Choose a topic

Choose a Topic

  • Find something about the topic you care about

    • What you want to know about the topic

    • Why you want to know

  • Consider the audience and purpose

    • Who you are addressing

    • Why you are addressing this audience

  • Consider the perspective

    • Why it is important


Create research questions

Create Research Questions

  • Narrow the topic by forming questions

    • Ask who, what, when, where, why, and/or how

    • Acknowledge differing opinions or study results

      • Consider the perspective

      • Consider the motivations


Create research questions1

Create Research Questions

  • Why should the U.S. abandon realist foreign policy?

    • The U.S. should abandon realist foreign policy because this policy often leads the country into unnecessary conflict.

  • This thesis addresses the question of why the U.S. should discontinue a realist foreign policy


Create research questions2

Create Research Questions

  • Why should Congress legislate and limit the use of high-fructose corn syrup?

    • Congress should limit the use of high-fructose corn syrup in food and beverages because it is linked to high obesity rates in children.

  • This thesis addresses the question of why Congress should legislate the use of high-fructose corn syrup in food and beverages


Create research questions3

Create Research Questions

  • Identify the topic

  • Ask who, what, when, where, why, or how

    • Be specific

    • Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no


Identify the research methods materials

Identify the Research Methods/Materials

  • Primary sources:

    • Original documents, writings, artwork, etc. such as diaries, paintings, original scientific studies, official government records

  • Secondary sources:

    • Citing someone who is analyzing someone else

    • Using someone else’s research


Research approaching sources

Research: Approaching Sources

  • Books

    • Synopses

    • Book reviews

    • Introduction

    • Conclusion

    • Chapter heading/first paragraph

    • Indexes

    • Bibliographic essays

  • Journal Articles

    • Abstract

    • Introduction

    • Conclusion

    • Literature review

    • Findings and discussion


Begin an outline

Begin an Outline

  • Establish the topic

  • Create research questions

  • Suggest possible answers

  • Identify probable research methods/materials


Do the research

Do the Research

  • Introduce the topic

  • Create questions about the topic

  • Choose the research methods/materials

  • Answer the research questions

  • Develop the annotated bibliography/literature review


Annotated bibliography literature review

Annotated Bibliography/Literature Review

  • Annotated bibliography: a list of citations followed by one or two brief, descriptive, and evaluative paragraphs.

  • Literature review: an essay that summarizes, surveys, links, and analyzes research for a given topic


Answer the research questions

Answer the Research Questions

  • Citing

  • Direct quoting

  • Paraphrasing

  • Synthesizing and analyzing


Citing

Citing

  • Providing attribution for another’s ideas and work

  • Cite as you go

    • So as not to waste time looking through your sources

    • To quickly refer back to a source if you need more information

    • To identify relationships and/or holes in the research


Plagiarism what needs to be cited

Plagiarism: What Needs to be Cited

  • Ideas, information and/or structure that are not yours

    • Quoted material

    • Paraphrased material

    • Information that is not “common knowledge”

    • Reviews by friends/relatives/peers/instructors/specialists

  • Recycling previous work

  • When in doubt, cite


Direct quoting

Direct Quoting

  • Lifting the exact words of the author

    • “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” (Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863).

    • According to Doe (2007), “Realism is a political theory that posits that states seek to maximize power and power projection above all other concerns” (p. 9).


Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing

  • Putting someone else’s ideas and words into your own words

    • Eighty seven years ago, a group of men formed a new country called the United States of America on the North American continent because they believed that all men are born with the same rights and should have access to freedom.

    • According to realist political theory, the pursuit of power and power maximization is the primary goal of states (Doe, 2007).


Synthesizing and analyzing

Synthesizing and Analyzing

  • Synthesizing

    • Understanding what the material/sources mean

    • Summarizing the content of the material/sources

    • Explaining what the material/sources mean

  • Analyzing

    • Understanding how the material works and relates to other information

    • Determining validity and relevance of the material/sources

    • Providing an educated and informed opinion


Elements of a thesis statement

Elements of a Thesis Statement

  • Contains a claim that others may dispute

  • Includes the reason(s) for making the claim

  • Provides justification (the “So what?” test)


Purpose of a thesis statement

Purpose of a Thesis Statement

  • Interprets the significance of the subject matter

    • Interprets a question or subject but is not the subject itself

    • Answers a research question/s

  • Makes a claim that others might dispute


Purpose of a thesis statement1

Purpose of a Thesis Statement

  • Provides reason(s) for the claim

    • Often contains words such as while, because, since, so, although, unless, and however

  • Justifies discussion – the “So what?” test

  • Tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper: it is the road map for the paper


Developing strong thesis statements questions to ask

Developing Strong Thesis Statements: Questions to Ask

  • Are the research questions answered?

  • Does the essay contain a position that others might challenge?

  • Is the thesis statement specific enough?


Developing strong thesis statements questions to ask1

Developing Strong Thesis Statements: Questions to Ask

  • Does the essay follow the roadmap set out in the thesis statement?

  • Does the thesis statement pass the "So what?" test – does it justify the discussion or explain the importance of the topic?

  • Does the thesis statement pass the "how and why" test – does the evidence support the thesis statement?


Sample thesis statement

Sample Thesis Statement

  • Since pet ownership greatly impacts family life, people should understand the differences between cats and dogs before adopting one. As such, dogs make better pets than cats because dogs are more easily trained, friendlier, and fluffier.


Sample thesis statement1

Sample Thesis Statement

  • Claim: Dogs make better pets than cats…

  • Reasons: because (a) dogs are more easily trained, (b) friendlier, and (c) fluffier.

  • Justification: Since pet ownership greatly impacts family life, people should understand the differences between cats and dogs before adopting one.


Create a thesis statement

Create A Thesis Statement

  • Make a claim

  • Provide a reason

  • State why this is important


Essential elements of essays

Essential Elements of Essays

  • Introduction

    • Background

    • Thesis Statement: Since pet ownership greatly impacts family life, people should understand the differences between cats and dogs before adopting one. As such, dogs make better pets than cats because they are more easily trained, friendlier, and fluffier.

  • Main Point 1: Dogs are more easily trained than cats

  • Main Point 2: Dogs are friendlier than cats

  • Main Point 3: Dogs are fluffier than cats

  • Conclusion

    • Restate Thesis

    • Implications/Recommendations


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