Month: January 2018

Outlining the Longer Composition Part 2

  1. Indent subtopics so that all letters and numbers of the same type will come directly under one another in a vertical line.  If you are typing your paper in a Word file or Works file, the program will usually do this for you automatically.  However, you may have to use the horizontal margin at the top of the document to tab the information correctly if you have long subtopics.
  2. Begin each topic with a capital letter.  Do not capitalize other words in a topic unless they are always capitalized.  In other words, do not treat a topic as though it were book title.

WRONG:        I.   Recent Changes in American Policy

CORRECT:     I.   Recent changes in American policy

  1. There must never be under any topic a lone topic or subtopic.  There must be either two or more subtopics or none at all.  Subtopics are divisions of the topic above them.  A topic cannot be divided into fewer than two parts.
  2. Don’t use sentences in a topical outline.  Topics and subtopics should be short (single words, a phrase, or a clause at most!)
  3. As a general rule, main topics should be parallel in form, and subtopics under the same topic should be parallel in form.  If Roman Numeral I is a noun, then Roman Numerals II, III, IV and so on should also be nouns.  If it is a phrase, the others should also be phrases.  If you keep the topics and subtopics short, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

Once you have prepared your outline, you are ready to begin writing.  If, as you write, you decide to alter your plan, simply change your outline.  The outline is not final until the paper is finished.  The important point is that if your composition is following a logical pattern, it will be clear and concise and easy to read and follow.

A WORD ON HOW TO BEGIN YOUR PAPER.  I have found in my experience that many writers have trouble starting the body of their research paper.  Writers will fret over starting in such a way that is boring or taking forever getting into the topic.

There are several ways to begin a research paper.

  • Start with a short story of a person. If your paper is about strength development begin with a description of a 100-pound weakling who started lifting weights, running, etc and started getting stronger physically and mentally.  This should be only a few sentences long and only a taste of what the reader will learn from the research you have done on the topic.  Then perhaps you can come back to this person at the end of the paper in your conclusion and describe how he gained 80 pounds of muscle and a ton of confidence as well as self-respect.  If the person you are describing is famous or known by the audience, the reader can easily identify with the topic.  By doing this, you have given your topic “a face”.  Instead of five pages of definitions, terms, numbers, causes, solutions, etc., the paper now has a human focus that the reader can more easily identify with.  You will see this technique used in nearly every article in popular periodicals such as Reader’s Digest.
  • Another way to begin is by using a startling statistic that will jolt the reader’s idea about your topic. If you have such a statistic, use it.  For instance, beginning with a sentence such as “Teenage suicide is a problem” is rather boring.  But start your paper with “Over three out of four teenagers today think about killing themselves” and you can see it is more jolting to the reader and the audience will want to read further for the reasons why so many teenagers think about and plan their murder and what can be done about it.
  • Avoid asking a question in your paper, especially questions that can be answered “yes” or “no”. The subconscious naturally answers questions given to it.  If your paper begins “Have you ever thought about committing suicide?”, the reader may just answer “no” and you have lost the audience’s interest before paragraph two.
  • If you have a great quotation that is striking or exceptionally direct, this is a way to begin the story. Avoid, long poems (eight lines or longer) or more than two sentence quotes.  You haven’t really captured the attention of the audience yet and reading long quotes or extended poetry is not the way to do it, especially in the beginning.
  • Another way to begin a paper is to just jump in with a definition of a key term. “Euthanasia is defined as ending the suffering of someone who will eventually die.”  This beginning wastes on time telling the audience what the subject is and uses concrete nouns and action verbs to clearly state it.

Here is Part 1 in case you missed it 😉

Outlining the Longer Composition Part 1

The composition of Several Paragraphs  You are now hopefully familiar with the principles that govern the organization of the paragraph.  A composition of several paragraphs is governed by the same principles.  Each begins with a statement of the paragraph’s central idea, which is developed in succeeding statements.  While the paragraph is built around the topic sentence, the longer composition develops out of what is sometimes called the topic paragraph – often the first one.  The paragraphs that follow then present supporting ideas just as the sentences in a paragraph support the topic sentence.

You plan a longer composition in the same way that you plan a paragraph.  Begin by writing your central idea (thesis statement).  In simple words:  What is it that you want the READER to know or “think” after reading the research you have presented in the last five to seven pages?  Think in terms of what you want the READER to learn, not what YOU want.  List all of the ideas you may wish to include on your subject.  Discard those that are unimportant or do not support your central idea.  Finally, in planning the longer composition, make a careful outline.

The outline is important because it helps you to group related ideas under the main topics they support.  The development of each major idea will probably, though not necessarily, require at least one paragraph.  A two-page composition, for example, may have three major topics, each developed by a paragraph.  A research paper will go into more support from a variety of sources and experts, personal experience will not be a part of research and you will need to go into detail over defining terms, explaining statistics, giving examples, go into causes and effects and, in the end, provide solution(s) based on what you have learned.

Before you prepare an outline for this unit, review the rules for outline form.

Rules for Outline Form  There are two forms of outline:  the sentence outline and the topic outline.  In the sentence form, topics are complete sentences; in the topic outline, the topics are phrases, subordinate clauses, or single words.  Because the sentence outline is cumbersome to prepare, it is rarely used outside of formal works such as Master Thesis’ and Doctorate papers.  The following rules apply to the topic outline:

 

  1. Center the title of the paper above the outline.  It is NOT numbered.  It is NOT lettered.  Your title is usually suggested by your thesis statement and shows how you have narrowed the topic down.  “Autism”, for instance, is a rather boring title and tells the reader really nothing about what is in the next five to seven pages.  “Recent Studies and Cases of Autism” is a title that tells the reader what he may find in the paper.  A title can be more catchy to interest the reader, such as, “Eat to the Beat of the Beatles:  How the Beatles Changed the World.”
  2. The terms “Introduction”, “Body”, or “Conclusion” should NOT be included in the outline.  There are not topics to be discussed in the paper.  They are merely organizational terms in the writer’s mind.  Yes, you will have an introduction and your paper will have at least one paragraph to conclude your research, but you will not be writing about “introductions” or “conclusions” so logically they will not be listed in your outline.

I guess that will be it for today’s post, but be sure to check the next one since this is not the end of this one just yet!

 

Literary Research

Why use research?

The purpose of using research in a literary essay is to find scholars who agree with your opinion. This makes your argument even more credible, because you are showing that experts agree with you. Some people are paid to essentially write literary papers. These people are called literary critics . Research that literary critics create is called literary criticism.

How do I find research?

We will guide you to databases where you can search through articles and journals that contain essays by literary scholars about The Great Gatsby. You will choose a quotation from a scholarly essay or article to use in your research body paragraph. Like using quotations from the book, you will weave the quotations from research into the text of your final body paragraph and cite them appropriately according to MLA guidelines. You will also have to create a Works Cited page that includes your source from the database and The Great Gatsby.

What will this look like?

There are three parts to the literary research paragraph:
Sentence one: Transition + topic sentence
Sentence two: Introduction to the quotation + quotation
Sentences three- five: analysis of quotation including how quotation relates back to your thesis
Here are two examples of literary research paragraphs:
Example One:
One critic Ray Canterbury also notes the significance of the green light and its relationship to the American Dream. He argues, “early in the novel, Jay Gatsby is observed in the attitude of a worshipper, alone, stretching his arms toward a single, faraway green light… the visible symbol of his aspirations… But it turns out that Daisy Buchanan is unworthy of his vision of her…her pretentiousness, is a snare. Gatsby dies disillusioned, while Daisy lives on,
oblivious. So much for Gatsby-like hope, so much for… the American Dream” (Canterbery). Through his analysis of the novel, Canterbery says that Gatsby is a dreamer, whose obsession with the Daisy is represented through the green light. The Daisy he dreams about, however, doesn’t really exist. Because of this, the green light, and in a larger sense the American Dream, is unreachable.
Example Two:
Additionally, one critic, Scott Donaldson, argues that in The Great Gatsby money and social class placement negatively affect the characters and their moral values. At the beginning of the novel, ‘Gatsby seems to be living life to its fullest–he’s got money, cars, and a mansion. Unfortunately, Gatsby’s material goods do not seem to bring him what he actually yearns for, which is love. Gatsby ‘seeks fulfillment’ from his ‘obsession with material things’’(Donaldson), and he eventually ends up never being with his one true love, Daisy, because they have both become too caught up in buying and bragging about their material possessions. Love is put second in relation to wealth in The Great Gatsby. Society’s main focus in life has shifted from finding happiness to maintaining material goods.

MLA Format Template for Novel Analysis

Here is a great MLA Format Template for Novel Analysis

(introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion)

The introduction of a formal, text analysis essay begins broad on the subject in which you are
preparing to write about. General information and knowledge on the subject can be given in the
introduction._______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The introduction should lead your reader to the thesis statement. This is one sentence located at the
end of the introduction, and it is a statement that tells your reader what he/she will be learning about or
what you will be proving within your essay.
Topic Sentence #1. Introduce the first example that supports the topic sentence._________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Give the example (evidence) from the book that proves what you just said. This is usually a direct quote
from the book._________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Author’s last name & page number). Discuss how the example (evidence) from the
book proves what was stated in the topic sentence. ___________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Transition word that leads reader to the next example of discussion. Introduce the second example
that supports the topic sentence.__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Give the example (evidence) from the book that proves what you just said. This is usually a direct quote from the book._________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________ (Author’s last name & page number).
Discuss how the example (evidence) from the book proves what was stated in the topic sentence
sentence__________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________. Add a clincher sentence that sums up
everything you said____________________________________________________________________.

Topic Sentence #2. Introduce the first example that supports the topic sentence.____________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Give the example (evidence) from the book that proves what you just said. This is usually a direct quote
from the book._________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
______________ (Author’s last name & page number). Discuss how the example (evidence) from the
book proves what was stated in the topic sentence. ___________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Transition word that leads reader to the next example of discussion. Introduce the second example
that supports the topic sentence._________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Give the example (evidence) from the book that proves what you just said. This is usually a direct quote
from the book._________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________ (Author’s last name & page number).
Discuss how the example (evidence) from the book proves what was stated in the topic sentence
sentence__________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________. Add a clincher sentence that sums up
everything you said____________________________________________________________________.

Topic Sentence #3. Introduce the first example that supports the topic sentence._________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Give the example (evidence) from the book that proves what you just said. This is usually a direct quote
from the book._________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Author’s last name & page number). Discuss how the example (evidence) from the
book proves what was stated in the topic sentence. ___________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Transition word that leads reader to the next example of discussion. Introduce the second example
that supports the topic sentence.__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Give the example (evidence) from the book that proves what you just said. This is usually a direct quote from the book._________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________ (Author’s last name & page number).
Discuss how the example (evidence) from the book proves what was stated in the topic sentence
sentence____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________. Add a clincher sentence that sums up everything you said____________________________________________________________________.
The conclusion begins with your thesis statement, but it must be reworded. Next, you gradually begin to expand out from your thesis statement. The conclusion is just like your introduction, only backwards________________________________________________________________________.

 

MLA Format: The Basics of Formatting an Essay

Here are some Basics of Formatting an Essay in MLA style

Step 1: Margins
Use 1” Margins on all sides of the document


Step 2: Header
Insert Your Last Name and Page Number in the Upper Right Corner
● Double click in the header space at the top of the document
● Use Right Alignment
● Type your last name, followed by one space
● Then click “Page Number”
● Select “Current Position”
Step 3: Heading
In the top left corner of the document, type the following
● Your Name
● Professor Name
● Course Number
● Date (day month year)


Step 4: Title
Give your essay a title.
● After the date, press Return
● Center
● Type the title
● Press Return
(This is the 1st line of the essay. Tab for new paragraphs.)


Step 5: Font
Unless otherwise instructed, use Times New Roman, 12pt Font


Step 6: Header Font
Be sure the header font matches the essay font.


Step 7: Spacing
The essay should be doublespaced throughout with no extra spacing between paragraphs. This may require you to use the “No Spacing Style” in MS Word. Then choose 2.0 for spacing.


Step 8: Preview
Preview before you print.

MLA Checklist

 

MLA Format

Is your paper in 12 PT Times New Roman? Are you margins set to 1’’? Is your spacing double? After “O”?
Is your name, teachers name, date, and class in the top left-hand corner of the first page? Is it double spaced?
Is a header with your last name and the page number on the top right-hand corner of every page?
Is there no extra space between paragraphs? Is the beginning of each paragraph indented?
Are titles of books in italics and titles of articles in quotations? Do you have a centered title?

Works Cited

Is a work cited page on the last page of your essay? Does your work cited page have a centered title?
Is there a work cited entry for all of your sources? Are the entries in alpha order?
Are titles of books in italics and titles of articles in quotations? Do you use all black ink, even for URLS?
Is there a hanging indent in the 2nd and subsequent lines of the work cited entries?
Are the work cited entries double spaced with no extra space between entries?
If applicable, do you have up to 9 elements of a work cited entry included in your entry (Author name, source name, container, contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, location) properly punctuated?

Intro Paragraph

Does your intro paragraph start with a general statement? Do you smoothly integrate author/source names?
Do you smoothly transition from idea to idea in your intro paragraph?
Do you include background information for you subject(s)? Do you provide context for the addressed issue?
Do you have a clear assertive thesis? Does your thesis have sufficient support?

Body Paragraphs

Do you make phrasal transitions between body paragraphs (No “First’, “Next”, “However”)?
Do you have a clear topic sentence/controlling idea in every body paragraph?
Do you include context for quotes? Is there commentary for your quotations? Are block quotes formatted?
Do you use signal phrases before integrating quotations? Do you punctuate the signal phrase correctly?
Do you include relevant textual evidence (only cite the good stuff!)? Is the evidence clearly relevant?
Do you include citations after your quotations? Are your citations correctly formatted/punctuated?
Do you use internal transitions when making a comparison ? Do you begin a new paragraph when shifting to a new idea?
Do you avoid both verbal and conceptual repetition (repeating the same idea in different words)?

Style/Word Choice/Grammar

Do you avoid excessive use of “to be” verbs? Do you use active verbs and strong descriptive language?
Do you avoid unnecessary wordiness? Do you avoid colloquial/slang word choices? Do you write in a “formal” register?
Do you omit 1st person pronouns (I, me, mine, my, we, us, ours) and 2nd person (you, your)?
Do you avoid words on the “blacklist” of banned words? Are words used correctly/appropriately?
Do you include variation in sentence structure (differing sentence lengths and types)? Do you avoid faulty parallelism?
Do you omit contractions? Do you spell out numbers 1-99 and two-word numbers?
Do you use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation? Do you use suffixes appropriately?
Do you avoid phrases like “In the article it says” “In Paragraph 5” “In the story” and “In the quote it says”?
Do you avoid fragments, run-ons, and dangling/misplaced modifiers? Do you maintain consistent verb tense?
Does your word choice create clarity in your writing? Do you use words whose connotations match the subject/task?

Content

Does the writing clearly respond to the given task, prompt, circumstance, or audience?
Is there a logical progression of ideas in the writing? Do conclusions stem directly from the premises? Is there a clear and logical structure to your writing? Do you discuss the implications of the issue/topic?
Does the writing avoid errors in logic and fallacious lines of reasoning (no logical fallacies)?
Does the writing address potentially relevant assumptions or problematic premises?
Does the writing adequately explore a given concept, task, or idea?
Do you meet the page requirement fully? Is the page requirement met when you exclude quotations?