Exercise #3 Assignment: Thesis, First 500 Words, and Detailed Outline
3-4 pages plus an updated Works Cited page
Writing is an ongoing, recursive process. It begins long before you type the first word, and it should continue long after you reach your page count. Revision in an inextricable part of that process, and involves far more than copyediting (such as fixing typos and grammatical errors). Revision means tinkering with the underlying logic, structure, and assertions of your argument in order to make it clearer, more compelling, and more persuasive. Revision in this sense should begin before you have a complete draft. For this assignment, you will sketch out the preliminary structure of your argument so that you can go ahead and begin assessing and revising it before you begin drafting full body paragraphs.
On its own line, write out the best version of your thesis statement so far, and put it in bold text. Your thesis statement is the most important sentence in the entire essay, and you should devote particular effort to making it clear, compelling, and concise. Your thesis should make a specific, arguable, original claim—one that contributes something new to an ongoing scholarly conversation and that could be subject to debate.
Then, write a draft of the first 500 words of your essay—an introductory paragraph and possibly the beginning of your first body paragraph. This introduction should include the thesis statement, this time placed in context. Like any good introduction, this one should attempt to hook your readers, explain your topic and its significance, and sketch out the basic context of your inquiry, including necessary background information and the general contours of the academic conversation.
Finally, include a detailed, paragraph-by-paragraph outline of your final paper. Your outline should identify the main claims and evidence for each paragraph, articulate the logical relationships between paragraphs, and note where you will use particular sources in your final paper.
You should also include an up-to-date Works Cited page listing all of the sources you plan to use in the final paper—this means you will likely repeat many of the citations (but not the annotations) from Exercise 2, but you should likely have new sources to cite as well.
While you should organize your assignment in this order—first the thesis, then the 500 words, and lastly the outline—it might be helpful to compose this assignment in reverse, beginning with the outline and then writing an introduction, finally reviewing the overall structure of your argument in order to articulate a thesis that fully encapsulates all of it.
This assignment should:
• Have a clear, compelling thesis;
• Include a draft of the first 500 words of your final essay;
• Include a detailed, paragraph-by-paragraph outline of your final paper;
• Use a clear, precise, and active prose style;
• Include a title that reflects the spirit and scope of your paper;
• Adhere to MLA style;
• Be 3-4 pages in length (double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman typeface).
A few tips and reminders:
Grammar, style, and organizational coherence count
Formatting and MLA citations count
Your intended audience is academic in nature, diverse in religious, cultural, and political affiliations
Writing and research are deeply intertwined; continue reading as you write, and remember that your thesis as well as the general structure of your paper might change as you continue to research and learn more. Please email if you have questions about this assignment or anything else related to the course.
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