Writing.Guide

Writing.Guide - WRITING TIPS There are many elements of...

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WRITING TIPS There are many elements of writing a good history paper. This guide addresses just nine aspects of this process. In addition to these guidelines, you need also to follow all normal conventions in writing (correct spelling, proper grammar, clear, concise sentences, etc.). If you have had trouble with writing papers in the past, I suggest that you seek help with your questions, drafts, or outline before the papers are due. In any case, review this sheet before you write your papers and then review it again after completing your first drafts. MORE HELP: Call to make an appointment with a writing tutor or drop by during open hours at the writing center for quick help. You pay tuition. Make the University work for you. 1. Avoid Global Openings Do not begin your papers with statements like: “Throughout history, people have struggled with the question of racism.” Instead, try for something that draws the reader into the specific subject on which you are focusing. For example, “After the civil war, the governments of Southern States passed laws restricting the rights and opportunities of African Americans. In response, different African American leaders struggled to develop strategies to respond to these laws.” 2. Provide a Thesis Statement In your introduction, you will need a Thesis Statement. In one to three sentences, a thesis statement presents the main idea, or the focus, of your paper. It must also contain an argument that requires evidence and development. All of the paragraphs that follow the thesis should work to support and advance your argument. Your reader will take your thesis statement seriously. For example, let’s assume your thesis statement was: “The early civil rights movement was unified and effective but the later civil rights movement was splintered and thus did not have many successes.” I will then expect the paper to demonstrate that the early civil rights movement was “unified” and explain how it was “effective.” Then the paper will also need to show how and why the later civil rights movement splintered and achieved very little. If your paper covers LESS or MORE than your thesis statement, your reader will be confused. 3. Use Topic Sentences and Have Coherent Paragraphs Each paragraph in your paper should begin with a clear sentence indicating the scope of the paragraph and its role in developing your argument. For example, consider a paragraph that begins “President Diem’s rule was doomed by his inflexible pride and the unbridled ambitions of his family.” This paragraph would give an example of Diem’s pride, would explain the effect of his family’s ambitions on his presidency and would conclude by noting his murder by former
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Writing.Guide - WRITING TIPS There are many elements of...

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