The essay should have an introduction that has a clear thesis statement and demonstrates the relevance of your topic, several body paragraphs that each make focused claims, and a conclusion.
You should develop a clear and concise thesis statement that prepares readers for the arguments in the essay. Be sure to especially work on paragraph development: each paragraph should include a topic sentence, evidence, and commentary about the evidence.
1,200-1,500 word essay (4-5 pages)
An interesting and informative title
A document formatted in correct MLA format
A works cited page written in correct MLA format and included in the same document as the essay
A clearly stated argument that uses reliable and well-reasoned evidence to support claims
A refutation of opposing arguments
Process for Completion
Here are a few steps that might help you develop your essay
Once you’ve found a topic, determine if it needs to be narrowed or if a particular focus might help the argument
After narrowing your topic, you should make a list of everything you know about the topic and everything you want to know. This list will guide your research.
Now, you’re ready to start researching. Be sure to only include reliable sources in your research and to take careful notes to avoid accidentally plagiarizing your sources later. As you research, remember that plagiarism is still a serious offense even if you just forget to cite a source. Always keep notes of where you get information and be prepared to cite the information correctly.
Be sure to allow a few days to draft your essay. You want to be sure you don’t forget any of the wonderful arguments you developed during the invention and research phases. You may also want to outline the major points of the essay before drafting.
First, does the essay contain a clear argument? Arguments have opposing sides, which means at least some portion of your readership should disagree with your viewpoint. If your claim is fairly obvious (“obesity is a problem,” for instance), then you have not met the primary purpose of this assignment, which is to take a side on an issue.
Second, does the thesis statement present your argument in one clear and concise sentence? The thesis statement is the most important sentence of your essay, so take time to revise it (sometimes multiple times) before submitting the essay. The thesis should present your main argument as well as provide a brief overview of the major claims in the essay. After reading the thesis, the reader should have a good sense of where the essay is going.
Third, are the paragraphs organized, focused, and developed? The paragraphs should be organized logically and should each present one focused claim. That claim should be stated in the first sentence, called a topic sentence, which should then be followed by evidence to support the claim. Then, you should provide commentary on the evidence (show why the evidence leads you to your claim) so that the reader always understands how to interpret the evidence as you do.
Fourth, is evidence from outside sources integrated seamlessly into the essay? Be sure to quote, paraphrase, and summarize accurately and to integrate all of the evidence into your own sentences. See the lessons in unit 4 and 5 about integrating sources.