Planning, Organizing, Revising, and Editing An Essay

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PLANNING, ORGANIZING, REVISING, AND EDITING AN ESSAYPlanning Invention The process of questioning, analyzing, and researching a topicPlanning Questioning Have you ever started an essay without a concrete topic? Did you have a topic but you didnt know what you wanted to say about it? The following strategies will help you to generate ideas. Freewriting Listing BrainstormingPlanning Analyzing Initially, you explore the surface level components (shape, color, functions) of your topic. Analysis offers you a chance to search under the surface of these components and discover their significance. What is unique about the topic? What is ordinary about the topic? Who is involved with the topic? How does the topic affect those who are involved with the topic? What would life be like without the topic? Why should anyone care about the topic?Planning Researching Do you ever think of a good topic yet lack the background knowledge to further develop the topic? The following tips suggest how you might start your research: Set up a consultation with a research librarian by calling 217-206-6633 Look through the subject guide for your discipline on the UIS library website, such as English, Communication, History, Business, and Criminal Justice Explore scholarly databases on the UIS library website Check the library catalog for relevant books, periodicals, and state government documentsOrganizing Organization The process of shaping rhetorical tools and analytical ideas into a clear, thoughtful essayOrganizing The Parts of an Essay Introduction Thesis Body Paragraphs ConclusionOrganizing The Parts of an Essay Introduction: The introduction offers the audience an overview of your topic. With analytical writing, you want to insure that your introduction supports an argumentative claim that you will discuss through the course of your essay. One of the primary resources of your introduction is a thesis statement.Organizing The Parts of an Essay Thesis: A statement that offers a concise, insightful, and focused rhetorical stance on your topic. A thesis statement should discuss the main argument(s) you decide to discuss. With a direct thesis, you offer your audience clarity and the ability to understand your arguments direction. For example, consider the following statement: Cell phones can make people behave rudely. This statement lacks an insightful argument. Instead, it reads like a commonly held opinion. Consider the following, more focused, statement: Cell phone calls crowd out time for the most important dialogue in lifethe one in our own heads. This thesis statement expands upon the previous ideacell phones can cause problems with human behavior. However, unlike the previous statement, this one suggests a specific problem that stems from cell phone usage.Organizing The Parts of an Essay Body Paragraphs: Body paragraphs should support the claim(s) made in the thesis. Each paragraph begins with a strong topic sentence that defends the main argument. After this sentence, you might use a number of methods to support your claim(s): analysis of a text, statistical data, description, narrative, or historical information. The method(s) you choose will be based on your topic and/or field of study.Organizing The Parts of an Essay Conclusion: The concluding portion of your essay should not summarize your introduction. Instead, you might conclude with thoughts on further study that connects with your topic or discussion of your topics relevance for future generations or cultures. Again, this largely depends on your topic.Organizing Outlines Outlines help with the process of organization. You can choose several different formats, including Sentence Outline Idea OutlineMapping/Webbing Flow ChartsRevising Revising The process of rethinking or restructuring the argumentative aspects of an essayRevising IntroductionAppealing opening statementRelevant and researched background knowledge of your topicClear and specific thesisRevising Body Paragraphs Topic sentences Support the thesis Offer insight into the topic Arranged in a logical order that provides your audience with a clear pathway through your argument(s) Transitions Between each paragraph Allow the audience to read with clear comprehension Tie contiguous paragraphs together Supporting sentences Expand upon idea(s) in topic sentences Placed in a logical orderRevising ConclusionDoes not summarize introductionMight offer suggestions for future studyMight suggest topics relevance for future generations or culturesEditing The process of correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors within an essayEditingCheck: SpellingGrammar Subject/verb agreement (see handout)Search for strong verbs (see handout)Cut unnecessary or wordy materialEditing Some General Tips for Proofreading Read your essay aloud and slowly Have an unbiased pair of eyes look over your essay Distance yourself from your essay between revisionsSource Mauk, John and John Metz. The Composition of Everyday Life: A Guide to Writing. United States: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010.Further Questions? Contact The Center for Teaching and Learning 217-206-6503 ctl@uis.edu Brookens 460Monday-Thursday: 8:30 7:00 Friday: 8:30 4:30mailto:ctl@uis.edu

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