Do you provide a preview of the points you will use to support your thesis at the end of the introductory paragraph?

Here are some specific questions to Ask Yourself as you are revising your draft, along with a quick review of some writing basics.


  1. A thesis is your stance on the topic—a one or two sentence statement of opinion, or something that you will explore, prove, expand upon, develop and provide a thorough discussion of in your essay. Remember, a thesis must be arguable.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

Is your thesis statement clear and specific? Does it indicate the direction your paper is taking? Is it consistent with your body paragraphs? Is it limited enough to be manageable? Do you provide a preview of the points you will use to support your thesis at the end of the introductory paragraph?

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  1. A strong body paragraph should directly support the thesis, have 1 central point, have evidence to support that point, and explain how the evidence supports the point, and in turn, how it supports the thesis statement. Each paragraph should have a:

Point- A topic sentence has two functions:

-It states the point of the individual paragraph.

-It states how the point develops the thesis statement (for an essay).

Evidence + Information – Provide outside information to support your topic sentence.

Analysis- The explanation illustrates to the reader why the information is relevant to the topic sentence.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

What are the points supporting the thesis in each paragraph? Do you need to change any that stray away from the thesis?

What is each body paragraph’s central idea? Is it expressed in a topic sentence? Where is the sentence located? Can it be moved to the beginning of the paragraph to be more effective? Is the topic sentence merely a fact, or is it a claim that can be supported?

Where in the paragraph does support seem irrelevant, vague, insufficient, inaccurate, disorganized? Where would additional sensory details, examples, facts, statistics, expert authority, and personal observation be appropriate? What information should be removed or modified to better support the topic sentence and thesis statement?

How could paragraph coherence be strengthened? Which signal devises are used to connect ideas within the paragraphs and between the paragraphs? Are these transitions clear or do they need to be strengthened?

How are the body paragraphs organized? Would it be more effective if they were moved into a different order to best support the thesis? Would this make the essay more interesting?

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  1. An introductory paragraph should accomplish two tasks:
  • They should get the reader’s interest so that he or she will want to read more.
  • They should let the reader know what the writing is going to be about (thesis statement).

Questions to Ask Yourself:

How could the introduction be more effective? Which striking anecdote, fact, or statistic elsewhere in the essay might be moved to the introduction? How does the introduction establish the essays purpose, audience, tone, and point of view? What introduction techniques might make the paragraph more striking? Is there a clear thesis and preview, are they strategically placed at the end of the introduction paragraph?

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  1. Conclusion Paragraph: The conclusion is a separate section of the essay, a kind of counterpart to the introduction. It has the same purpose as the introduction—to assist the reader in understanding your information and thinking. It is, however, a look back instead of a look ahead. That is, you ask the reader to “step back” from the body part of the essay and reflect on its significance by restating the main points and central thesis.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

How could the conclusion be strengthened? Which striking anecdote, fact, or statistic elsewhere in the essay might be moved to the conclusion? Would echoing something from the introduction help round off the essay more effectively? Are there any new ideas in the conclusion that should be removed? What conclusion techniques might summarize the thesis and points more creatively?

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