Lklivingston Tripod Essay

Writing Workshop!

This page is designed to help you with furthering your ability to put together good, developed writing in order to prepare for collegiate-level work. This page itself will not make you a better writer, but will offer a number of resources in order to procure the type of writing necessary to be successful.

If possible, use each of these resources to simply gain a understanding of what to do...then spend lots of time in practice!


Step-by-Step process

The Introduction

Time to give the reader a "point of entry" for your paper.

Introductions can be the most difficult part of a paper to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment: these sections, therefore, are not as hard to write. But these middle parts of the paper can't just come out of thin air; they need to be introduced in a way that makes sense to your reader.

Links to help with Introduction writing

The THESIS Statement

A thesis is not an announcement. You are not to say in a paper what you plan to discuss. Your paper should be doing that work for you. An instance would be something to the effect of, "This paper is about the school's new uniforms." Rather, you might say something such as, "School uniforms are a detriment to the individuality that students should and must be able to express." This expresses what you plan to talk about in such a way that you are not overtly stating your intentions.

A thesis is a statement, but not an absolute fact. It also may express an opinion, but your stance on an issue need not be explicit within the thesis. This is where learning how to write a thesis statement can get a bit complicated. For example, you may have heard from some teachers or other writers that you are not to use "I" in a paper, as it expresses your opinion blatantly. First person is not necessary, and sometimes not even proper, in certain types of papers. You should not say, "I think abortion should not be legal." Instead, say, "Abortion should not be legal." You see how this is a statement that does express a more subtle opinion on your part, but not an absolute fact. It is obvious that your opinion matters in this thesis statement, but your examples and descriptions that will stem from the research you do regarding the legality of abortion will lend the paper more to analysis of the reasons stemming from your thesis, rather than opinion and obvious defense of that opinion.

Links to help with Thesis Statement writing


Paragraph One should open with a transitional sentence. It should lead the reader into the first piece of evidence you use to support your thesis statement, your argument. It is essentially a mini-thesis for the paragraph. From the transitional/opening sentence, you can go on to cite evidence to support your argument. This evidence must all revolve around a single theme and should come in the form of a quotation (or factual information from a primary source). If you put too many different themes into one body paragraph, then the essay becomes confusing. Body Paragraph One will deal with one theme for your argument. You may have several pieces of evidence to support this one them, which is absolutely fine. Once you use a piece of evidence, be sure and write at least one or two sentences explaining why you use it. Then, wrap up the Body Paragraph with a mini-concluding sentence summing up only what you have discussed in that paragraph.

Your paper should be organized in a manner that moves from general to specific information. Every time you begin a new subject, think of an inverted pyramid - the broadest range of information sits at the top, and as the paragraph or paper progresses, the author becomes more and more focused on the argument ending with specific, detailed evidence supporting a claim. Lastly, the author explains how and why the information she has just provided connects to and supports her thesis (a brief wrap up or warrant).

Link to help with the BODY of the paper

The Conclusion

Just as your introduction acts as a bridge that transports your readers from their own lives into the "place" of your analysis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. Such a conclusion will help them see why all your analysis and information should matter to them after they put the paper down.

Your conclusion is your chance to have the last word on the subject. The conclusion allows you to have the final say on the issues you have raised in your paper, to summarize your thoughts, to demonstrate the importance of your ideas, and to propel your reader to a new view of the subject. It is also your opportunity to make a good final impression and to end on a positive note.

Your conclusion can go beyond the confines of the assignment. The conclusion pushes beyond the boundaries of the prompt and allows you to consider broader issues, make new connections, and elaborate on the significance of your findings.

Your conclusion should make your readers glad they read your paper. Your conclusion gives your reader something to take away that will help them see things differently or appreciate your topic in personally relevant ways. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest your reader, but also enrich your reader's life in some way. It is your gift to the reader.

Links to help with the Conclusion of your paper

Other helpful tips for writing

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Essay Writing Components

Web Resources - Writing
Academic Writing Skillstop ^
  • Academic Writer
    This site is by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and aims to help local university students with writing and editing their papers. It gives many examples, lists of useful phrases, explanations and interactive quizzes on the features of good academic writing. You could either work through the nine stages in order, or use the index to find an area to work on.

  • Using English for Academic Purposes - Writing
    This site has a lot of clear instruction and many interactive exercises to help you to understand every aspect of academic writing at university level. Especially helpful may be the following pages: Functions (extensive lists of useful vocabulary and phrases), Paragraph writing, Organisation, Reporting (paraphrasing and summarizing), References and Citation (how to quote different types of sources).

  • How to write a bad assignment
    Learn in a humorous way about what to do and what not to do when completing academic assignments. There are 10 points very clearly explained - if you take these to heart you are guaranteed to get a good grade for your work! - Click on ‘How to write a bad assignment’

  • Study Skills Success
    This program is specifically designed to help you prepare for the IELTS examination, but will also help you improve your academic writing skills.
    - The ‘Visuals’ module covers graph description.
    - The ‘Writing’ module covers essay writing.
    - The ‘Grammar’ module covers grammar points important in academic writing.

  • Academic English Cafe
    Take free English language quizzes, practice academic vocabulary, find great books on learning English, read model essays, listen to authentic English language podcasts and more!

Writing Research Papers and Honours Projectstop ^
  • Help with Writing Final Year Projects
    This excellent site is written especially for year three Hong Kong university students working on their final year projects. Here you will find information, tips and interactive exercises on every aspect of the writing process and product.

  • Final Year Projects
    This site takes final-year undergraduate students through all the steps necessary to write a term project.

  • How to Write a PhD Thesis
    Although this site is aimed at PhD students, it has much valuable information that would be helpful for Honours Projects and Masters level writing too. It contains information about the structure and organization of theses, and practical advice on how to go about the writing process.

  • Writing and Presenting your Thesis or Dissertation
    There is some excellent advice and information on this site about the whole process of planning and writing a proposal and/or a thesis, and advice on preparing for a thesis/dissertation defence.

  • Writer's Handbook
    This site has a lot of information on the organization and content of many different kinds of writing assignments, such as literature reviews, abstracts, reports, research papers, different kinds of letters and other academic genres. There is also some language help such as grammar and proofreading advice.

  • Dissertation Calculator
    This site is for serious thesis writers! Enter your proposed dates for studying and writing your research paper, and this site will help you plan a time-frame for every stage of your work as well as give you much advice.

  • Study Guides: Writing
    There are many links on this site to pages dealing with different aspects of academic writing, including how to write research proposals, literature reviews, abstracts, and many other aspects of higher level academic writing.

  • English in the Workplace
    Scroll down to ‘Writing Workplace Correspondence’ and ‘Writing Workplace Reports’ and you will find links to much valuable information on how to write different types of business correspondence. There is instruction on style, contents, organization, grammar and vocabulary, with many interactive exercises.

Common Errors & Proofreadingtop ^
  • Common Errors in English
    This site, by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, covers common written academic errors of Hong Kong students. It will help you identify your own errors and learning style, and has many exercises for you to practice and test yourself with.

  • CityU Error Correction Project
    Here you will find a table listing 13 types of errors commonly made by Hong Kong university students. There is a page concentrating on each error type, including instruction and exercises with answers.

  • Self-Study Proofreading
    Try your hand at a little proofreading on this site. Scroll down the page and you’ll find a heading ‘Writing’ with links to 4 different online proofreading exercises.

  • Study Skills Success
    This program is specifically designed to help you prepare for the IELTS examination, but will also help with general study skills required for higher education. The ‘Grammar’ module covers key grammar points in academic reading and writing and also helps you isolate and work on your own grammar errors.

  • The Write Site
    The Write Site, developed by the University of Sydney, provides descriptions of common problems in academic and professional writing and strategies for addressing them.

  • Daily Writing Tips
    The rise of the information age - with the proliferation of e-mails, blogs and social networks - makes the ability to write clear, correct English more important than ever. Daily Writing Tips is about that.

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