The drafting phase of the process is when we actually do our writing. We will write different parts of essays, including introductions, thesis statements, and body paragraphs.
Not only does the introduction establish your thesis statement, it gives the reader expectations and an impression of what your writing will argue, analyze, and explore. A clear, concise, and engaging introduction will allow you to efficiently set up your paper. Another important aspect of introductions to keep in mind is that they provide an opportunity to establish your voice as a writer and your point of view towards a particular topic. Strong introductions will not only captivate your audience’s attention and interest but will also serve as a preview for what is to follow. This is accomplished by conveying necessary background information and context to your readers, identifying your topic and its importance, and revealing your purpose as a writer through your thesis statement.
The introduction should include the following:
- Important background information*
- Brief explanation of any terms or concepts unfamiliar to your audience
- Identification of the text (book, article, speech, etc.) or visual (advertisement, documentary, etc.). Always provide the title and author of a text in the introduction of a Rhetorical Analysis.
- Thesis statement
*If there is extensive background information, you may want to include a paragraph that addresses the context of the text or visual immediately following the introduction.
Your thesis is a one or two sentence statement that covers what you will discuss, analyze, and/or argue in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence. It usually appears at the end of the introductory paragraph, but depending on the approach of the paper, you may build up to it and present it later. A strong thesis statement will convey to your audience what is to follow and is often referred to as a map or guide for the reader. As you begin the writing process and choose a topic, it is important to take your topic and pose it as a question. Some assignments will give you a question to answer through the prompt or guidelines. Your thesis statement should answer the question that your paper will explore. For papers that are more research driven (argumentative essay), you may want to think of it as a “working thesis.” In other words, as you gather evidence and make connections between claims and ideas from one source to the next, your thesis may “work” itself out. It is also common for writers to begin with a broad thesis and then narrow it down as they work through the drafting of the essay. Remember when revising and editing your thesis to avoid being too broad and vague–the more specific you are, the better.
- A thesis statement should:
- Answer a specific question the paper will explore
- Function as a guide for the reader
- Be specific, take a stance, and reflect an opinion or point of view
- Be debatable / offer an opposing point of view
Before beginning to craft your thesis statement and introduction, it is important to first determine what type of paper you are writing. Your approach to writing a thesis statement may vary depending on the assignment. For analytical and argumentative essays, it is typical that you clearly state your thesis at the end of your introductory paragraph or introduction. However, in an assignment such as a narrative essay, your thesis statement or argument may be implied through the details and dialogue of the story. Consider your assignment and approach and be consistent.
Your body paragraphs follow your introductory paragraph. In your body paragraphs, you will give reasons and evidence to support your thesis statement. This means that in these paragraphs you will most likely be using sources from your research or a text you are analyzing. When you are writing your body paragraphs, one structure that you can use is the TEE structure. TEE stands for Topic Sentence, Evidence, and Explanation. A topic sentence is the first sentence in the paragraph. It acts kind of like the thesis to your paragraph, cluing your reader in to what you are going to be talking about in that specific section. After, you include evidence to support your claim and then explain the evidence and connect it back to your thesis. Every body paragraph should in some way support your thesis.
To see some samples and suggestions, please click here.