Evaluating Your Supporting Paragraphs Study Guide
Evaluating Your Supporting Paragraphs
Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out. - SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) ENGLISH LEXICOGRAPHER AND ESSAYIST
Even a strong introduction can't stand alone. In this lesson, you'll learn tips for evaluating the building block support you've provided to your thesis statement.
This lesson explains the next steps you need to take in evaluating and editing your first draft. Specifically, you'll review here the hard questions you need to ask yourself and the standards you need to apply to the supporting arguments you have supplied to prove your essay's thesis statement.
As you know, every essay is really some version of a problem/solution or a question/answer or a point of view/defense. All that really means is that 99% of the writing assignments you will have during your lifetime (including memos you may write once you're out in the working world, or teacher's reports you may write if you end up being a teacher) demand that you take a strong position on some subject and then persuade your reader to agree with you. That persuasion process is essential to the well-written essay. An examination and polishing revision of the supporting elements in your essay is the second step in the process of revising your rough draft.
Types Of Support For Your Thesis
In previous lessons, you reviewed many of the strategies that writers use to support the arguments of their essay. Now you're at the stage where you have to evaluate your own use of supporting material. To help you begin this process, note that, in general, writers evaluate their own work by asking themselves these questions:
- Have I argued in the most persuasive manner?
- Have I offered sufficient support for my position?
- Have I offered a variety of kinds of support?
There is no right way to support a thesis, and there is no precise number of pieces of evidence that you must supply to strengthen your argument. In most of the school assignments that you are given, it is probably wise to assume that a minimum of three supporting pieces of evidence or three related ideas will be sufficient to establish the strength of your argument. But more evidence is usually better, so if you have additional ideas to include, by all means do.
It is important to offer a variety of kinds of support. Your essay will be extremely boring and ultimately weaker if you offer only one kind of support. For review, here's a checklist of various kinds of support that writers often use.
- specific examples that illustrate the thesis
- verifiable facts that support the thesis
- expert opinions on the subject
- expert analyses on the subject
- personal anecdotes from you or others
- persuasive reasons for the reader to agree with the thesis
- acknowledgment of opposing views
- direct quotations from the text if you are writing a literary analysis or critique
Always include more than one (or two) of these support devices in every essay.
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