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Writing Resources

This guide contains all of the ASC's writing resources. If you do not see a topic, suggest it through the suggestion box on the Writing home page.

Introduction and Conclusion: Writing Tips

IntroductionsIntroductions: Introductions serve to grab readers’ interest, introduce your topic, and explain specifically what you will be focusing on in your essay.

Introductions should:

  • Begin in an interesting way
  • Start with a general idea about the topic and end with a specific statement about the focus of the paper (thesis statement). Use a funnel approach by starting broad and getting more narrow by the thesis.
  • Have a thesis statement that begins with a claim or statement and exactly why you are writing about this claim or what you will be focusing about the claim (so what clause).

Introductions should not:

  • Only be a sentence or two long. Introductions should be full paragraphs (5-6 sentences).
  • Begin with the thesis statement. The thesis statement should be the last sentence (or two) of the introduction paragraph.
  • Have wording like: “In this paper I will write about” or “I will focus on” be specific but do not spell out the obvious. (Remember to be interesting to the reader!)

Conclusion Conclusions: Conclusions need to wrap up all of the main ideas talked about in the essay  and show how all of the main points relate back to the thesis to help prove the claim that the thesis suggests. (The main points are the “so what” clause and in the conclusion writers need to sum up how the “so what” clause relates to the claim.) Make sure to stick with the main ideas and do not introduce any new points.

 

Conclusions should:

  • Begin in an interesting way that serves to begin to tie up the main points.
  • Should have a summary of each main idea that the essay talks about.
  • Show how these ideas relate to the thesis statement
  • End in a way that comes full circle and ties up all loose ends

Conclusions should not:

  • Begin with “In Conclusion”
  • Introduce any new ideas
  • End abruptly
  • Leave the reader wondering how the main ideas relate to the thesis
  • Only be a sentence or two long.  Conclusions should be full paragraphs.

Writing Scholarly Introductions - Group Session

Bookshelf with multicolored books and human shaped bookends

Monday 3:00 p.m. 

The introduction to any type of writing is important as it sets the tone for the reader and builds their expectations for what is to come. Equally important is the conclusion since it is the last contact a writer has with the reader. Together, they form the bookends that encapsulate the argument made within the paper itself. In this interactive group session, you will learn how to create scholarly introductions and conclusions that will capture your reader’s interest and ensure that they leave knowing your intended points. Coaching Scheduler

Key Resource: Thesis Writing Tips

Thesis Writing Tips

Thesis StatementWhat you need in a strong thesis: A strong thesis starts with a claim, which is a statement that you feel strongly about (positively or negatively or both) and ends with a “So what” clause. A “so what” clause gives importance to your argument, is specific and gives the reader direction about what position you will take and why. Overall, a strong thesis will show a specific argument and also let the reader know why the argument at hand is important enough to read about.

Some ways to help strengthen your thesis are as follows:

  • Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a "working thesis," a basic or main idea, an argument that you think you can support with evidence but that may need adjustment along the way.
  • Ask yourself the following questions:
    • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question.
    • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it's possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument
    • Is my thesis statement specific enough?  Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument.  If your thesis contains words like "good" or "successful," see if you could be more specific: why is something "good"; what specifically makes something "successful"? Does my thesis pass the "So what?" test? If a reader's first response is, "So what?" then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
    • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It's o.k. to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
    • Does my thesis pass the "how and why?" test? If a reader's first response is "how?" or "why?" your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.
  • Remember: A strong thesis statement takes a stand, justifies discussion, expresses one main idea and is specific. Use the questions above to help make sure each of these components are present in your thesis.

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