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1. Introductions:
The introductory paragraph seems to be a problematic area in many drafts, specifically with regards to the hook strategy, background/context and research question. Please see skill 18.4, pg. 383+ for strategies to improve the introductory paragraph. I’ll talk a bit about each of these three areas below:
Hook: Think of a creative way to engage your reader’s interest in the topic. Avoid place-holder sentences such as “Millions of Americans own smart phones which they use in their daily lives to communicate with one another and for entertainment.” This sentence is a place-holder… it is vague and adds very little value to an academic discussion. Instead try an actual statistic, or a personal narrative of someone who enjoys the latest technologies, or a current event that in the news since readers might be familiar with it. When choosing to discuss a current event, select one that directly relates to your topic of discussion rather than in a roundabout manner.
Background/Contextual Information: You have to approach this essay with the perspective that YOU are the scholar/interested party on this topic and that your reader has only a general idea, but not detailed information on the topic. Therefore. it is your responsibility to ensure that sufficient background information is provided on the topic so that the reader understands the significance of the issue being discussed.
For example: Take the topic “Weight Watchers”…many of us recognize the name of the weight-loss plan from television, Internet or radio ads and generally know something about it. If I were to write about this topic, my introduction would talk about the origins of the diet – who, what, when, where, why and how – and then, discuss what’s currently happening with this diet brand. What’s currently going on is that the company is rebranding itself; that is, they are shifting from “weight-loss” to “wellness/healthy living” as their focus. From there, I would lead into my research question [ …] Research Question: Do not forget to write your research question at the end of the introductory paragraph
2. Body paragraph development and organization:
The mark of a strong body paragraph is the balance between research and writer’s analysis of the research to support the topic sentences and thesis statement. Body paragraph must include research quotes (no more than 2-3 lines in length) and then provide a discussion that connects the research with the thesis statement (at least 2-3 sentences per quote used). Also, do not limit yourself to just one quote per paragraph. A good researcher looks to include several credible voices to join his during a discussion (which is what an essay is…an informed, scholarly conversation).
As you incorporate research to support your discussion, bear in mind that you will want to follow the MEAL paragraph strategy. Remember to begin each paragraph with strong topic sentences, followed by research evidence and analysis/discussion and finally, the concluding sentences(transitioning) of the paragraph(s).
Important: Begin your first body paragraph (the paragraph after the common answer) with the delayed-thesis sentence. The thesis provides the focus for your entire essay AND answers your research question.
3. Works Cited and in-text citations:
As your final essay in this course, you are expected to demonstrate your source documentation skills. This means that you must provide correct in-text citations in the form of parenthetical citations or attributive-tag citations which must align with your Works Cited list at the end of the essay. Here’s a breakdown of how in-text citations and Works Cited could possibly affect the essay 3 grade:
If the final draft does not include in-text citations and Works Cited, it will earn zero points since it does not meet the requirements of a research-based essay.
If the final draft includes in-text citations, but no Works Cited, it will earn zero points as I have no way to verify if those citations are accurate or not.
If the final draft includes some or no in-text citations and a Works Cited list, it will earn partial credit (100 points) as I might be able to verify the accuracy of the sources used in the essay.
If the final draft includes some or no in-text citations and a list of webURLs (for example: [] –> this is a webURL), it will earn zero points for a poor demonstration of citing and documentation skills.
Documentation Resources:
You’ve got resources that can help you not lose points! See below…
Chapter 24 of the A&B textbook
Purdue Owl:
Their navigation bar is pretty self-explanatory and easy to follow.
If you’ve earned a “Developing” or “Needs Improvement” on your rough draft, please use the information provided in this announcement to make improvements to your rough draft. If you earned a “Meets Standards”, I still suggest you review the information to see how you might improve or make the writing more cohesive.


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