CHOOSING A TOPIC
To begin the essay, you must first have an
opinion you want to share with others.
-Think about a specific tradition.
-Think about why this tradition matters to people.
-Think about why this tradition can negatively affect
Make sure you:
❖ clearly identify and
define the tradition
you are discussing
for your readers.
❖ explain why this
tradition should be
tweaked, or even
To be valid, an opinion or point of view must be
supported by facts and information.
Once you know what you will write
about, you will need to do research
on the topic.
Research through looking through your past
experience, interviewing people, or reading the
You may utilize
different kinds of
evidence to support
Must incorporate at
least 4 sources.
Consider the Class Readings
❖ What traditions
do the class
❖ What reasons do
the writers give
for keeping these
❖ What reasons do
the writes give
❖ Focus on your
❖ Include the
❖ Engage your
How do they defend
❖ What kind of
evidence do they
use to convince
❖ How do they
The thesis statement
❖Answers the Question/Topic!!!!
❖ BUT with an OPINION!
❖ Sets up the Structure for the Paper.
Thesis = Formula
1) Topic: Tradition
Which one to keep?
2) Answer the Question:
3)Include an opinion for this position:
There are many traditions, but clearly Christmas is the most important.
4) Add a hook:
Although there are many traditions being observed, Christmas is the
most important because it can facilitate giving meaning to our lives,
experiencing positive memories, and raising healthy children.
The following thesis is an ineffective thesis
statements even though it follows the thesis
Can you see why?
What decisions contributed to an ineffective
In this paper, I will give three specific reasons why
we need to keep this tradition.
By celebrating Christmas, we have important
meanings to our lives, it can bring positive
memories, and it can allow our children to grow
up with healthy childhood.
Observing the Independence Day is needed so
that we can avoid danger, keep stable and
predictable life, and have positive memories.
Thesis is the “Road Map” that Gives
DIRECTION to your essay.
DO NOT just give a YES or NO answer!
DO NOT give a LIST!
MAKE a CLAIM = GIVE an OPINION!
Instead of simply listing 3 points, as
students are sometimes taught, think
about the relationship among those points,
(WHY) or (HOW) of the story they tell,
and write that for your thesis.
CHARACTERISTICS OF AN
1. An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim.
It CONVINCES me that
your OPINION is the BEST!
(It is INTERESTING or CONTROVERSIAL,
it will make a difference to the readers’ perception of
something, or it is undeniably important.)
2. Thesis statements CAN CONSIST of one or
The following revision of the thesis also follows the
thesis formula, but it is much more effective than
the previous example.
Can you see why?
What decisions contributed to a more effective
Maintaining Christmas is crucial so that a
family unit can be united in one with common
joy to share and remember so that they can
grow up with a family bond that can not be
By celebrating the Independence Day, the
nation is reminded they protected their
motherland from outside invasion, which can
unite the country so they feel empowered to
overcome any struggles.
Why maintain, change, or eliminate
Define and describe a specific tradition.
Persuade me why this tradition should be
maintained, changed, or eliminated with
SUPPORT THE THESIS
Support your thesis with example, evidence.
❖ Write down the main reason
that support your belief on a separate piece of
❖ This is your argument.
❖ Every controversial issue has two sides.
❖ Once you can support your
position with research, you need
to explore what others think.
❖ Look at the main reasons for
❖ What objections would others have to
each of your reasons?
❖ Write these down under each of your
reasons. Now you have arguments
Write your answers down under the
Now you have the raw material for each
paragraph of the synthesis essay.
When introducing the topic, think about the
How much does
the audience know about the topic?
❖ Is the audience likely to be friendly
or hostile to your position?
❖ How can you “hook” the audience’s
❖ The first sentence is a general statement,
designed to attract the reader’s attention.
❖ Second and perhaps third sentences
narrow the idea down to your specific idea.
❖ The last sentence in the introduction
must be your thesis.
Think of the introduction as having a funnel shape:
General statement (hook)
Connecting information from
hook to thesis
The first topic sentence of the
first paragraph will be the first
reason that supports your
Begin the sentence to focus the reader’s
attention on its importance.
Write a topic sentence (main idea
of that paragraph) and examples
that support the reason you
believe what you believe.
Research what people opposed to your
point of view believe. Write down some
counter- arguments to your position.
Now, address those arguments in a paragraph
explaining why your position is a better one.
❖ The final sentence in each paragraph
should sum up and make a transition to
the main idea of the next paragraph.
As the famous quote goes, “The abhorrent
past always has a way of returning. Those who don’t
learn, or can’t remember it, are doomed to repeat it.”
This poignant statement can possibly come true for the
United States if we do not embrace our historical
tradition of accepting people from other countries who
seek a better life and opportunities. Because of this
established practice, the United States of America has
been able to become one of the first nations in the
world that has contributed countless advancement to
Fact to support position
and a good hook.
The authors position or
Body: Topic Sentence
The United States had suffered from negative
consequences of not embracing immigration from
other countries before. Including racism that
plagued the country to not advancing as a country
when we did not fully accept the immigration
policy. Fortunately, as a country we learned from
this mistake and have accepted immigration from
Ireland, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Iran, Turkey,
China, and countless other countries that have
contributed to making America great.
Topic Sentence (Main
Idea of the paragraph.)
Initially the Irish, Italian, and even German
immigrants were all unwelcomed and were treated
abominably because we believed they took more
from the United States than contributed.
However, history has proven that these
immigrants contributed to making what America
is today. The Chinese immigrants have built the
support your idea.
An effective conclusion lets your reader know that your argument is
now over and then gives a food for thought for the reader.
It’s the last thing your reader reads so you want it to have an impact.
Has a powerful ending often relating to the hook.
Anything else that gives your readers something to think about, care
about, or do, based on what you have just argued in your essay.
What is not effective
Just repeating your thesis and main points is very boring because they can
remember what they just read.
Includes new information in a conclusion. If you have not mentioned
something yet in the paper, it is now too late.
Saying the opposing viewpoint is “stupid.”
Good essays are clear, calm and factual. Prove it instead.
Saying negative things about groups or individuals that have different view
This does not support your position but makes you seem petty instead.
Conclusion: Food for
This should be one that resonates with the reader.
It is a final thought, lesson learned, moral of the
story, or word of advice.
You want the reader to walk away remembering
for a while what they have just read.
Leaving them with a sentence that makes them
think is an effective way to do this.
Reflecting on Your Paper
✓ What was the purpose of your paper?
✓ Describe the effects you wanted it to have
on your readers?
✓ Is it clear that research supports your
✓ Have you shown that you understand the
objections to your position?
✓ Is it clear that your position still
outweighs the possible objections?
Does your/your peer’s draft:
❖ Engage the readers?
❖ Have an arguable
thesis defending a
❖ Develop a convincing
reason for defending
❖ Argue against the
critics or opposition?
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