Academic Writing

  • Outlining Concept Paper

    In your outline, list the main topics into which you have divided the information about your concept. Use this outline to guide your drafting, but do not feel tied to it. As you draft, you may find a better way to sequence the action and integrate these features.

    An essay explaining a concept is made up of four basic parts:

    -an attempt to engage readers' interest
    -the thesis statement, announcing the concept, its focus, and its topics
    -an orientation to the concept, which may include a description or
    definition of the concept
    -information about the concept

    Here is a possible outline for an essay explaining a concept:

    I. Introduction (attempt to gain readers' interest in the concept)
    II. Thesis statement
    III. Definition of the concept
    IV. Topic 1 with explanation/illustration/anecdote
    V. Topic 2 with explanation/illustration/anecdote
    VI. Topic 3, etc.
    VII. Conclusion

    An attempt to gain readers' interest could take as little as two or three sentences or as many as four or five paragraphs. The thesis statement and definition are usually quite brief--sometimes only a few sentences. A topic illustration may occupy one or several paragraphs, and there can be few or many topics, depending on how the information has been divided up. A conclusion might summarize the infomation presented, give advice about how to use or apply the information, or speculate about the future of the concept.

    --Axelrod and Cooper. The St. Martin's Guide to Writing. Ninth edition.
    Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010. 169-170.

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  • Formulating a Thesis Statement for Concept Paper

    Your thesis statement needs to state your focused concept. You might also want to forecast the topics you will use to explain the concept.

    Anastasia Toufexis begins her essay with this thesis statement:

    O.K., let's cut out all this nonsense about romantic love. Let's bring
    some scientific precision to the party. Let's put love under a microscope.
    When rigorous people with Ph.D.s after their names do that, what
    they see is not some silly, senseless thing. No, their probe reveals that
    love rests firmly on the foundations of evolution, biology and chemistry.

    Toufexis's concept is love, and her focus is the scientific explanation of love--specifically the evolution, biology, and chemistry of love. In announcing her focus, she forecasts the order in which she will present information from the three most relevant academic disciplines--anthropology (which includes the study of human evolution), biology, and chamistry. These discipline names become her topics.

    In his essay on cannibalism, Linh Kieu Ngo offers his thesis statement in paragraph 6:

    Cannibalism can be broken down into two main categories: exocannibal-
    ism, the eating of outsiders or foreigners, and endocannibalism, the
    eating of members of one's own social group (Shipman 70). Within these
    categories are several functional types of cannibalism, three of the most
    common being survival cannibalism, dietary cannibalism, and religious and
    ritual cannibalism.

    Ngo's concept is cannibalism, and his focus is on three common types of cannibalism. He carefully forecasts how he will divide the information to create topics and the order in which he will explain each of the topics.

    As you draft your own thesis statement, take care to make your language clear. Keep in mind that the thesis in an explanatory essay merely announces the subject; it never asserts a position that requires an argument to defend it.

    --Axelrod and Cooper. The St. Martin's Guide to Writing. Ninth edition.
    Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. 167-168.

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  • Focusing Research for Concept Paper

    * Keep careful records of the author, title, publication information, page numbers, and other required information for each source. MLA citation is used for all Works Cited pages.

    * Research to find answers to the following questions:
    -What is the definition of the concept?
    -What is this concept similar to, and what is it very different from?
    -What parts can this concept be divided into?
    -What is the process for this concept?
    -What are the causes or effects of this concept?
    -What examples or anecdotes make the concept memorable?

    * Visual elements--tables, graphs, drawings, photographs--are not required, but they may help make your explanation clearer.

    * Define purpose for your readers by answering these questions:
    -Are your readers familiar with the concept?
    -If readers have misconceptions about the concept, how will you
    correct them?
    -Is your concept engaging enough to grab interest?
    -Is it important that readers see the information as relevant to
    their lives?

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  • Essay #1 Critique

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English 11

  • Antigone Vocabulary

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  • Antigone, Prologue and Scenes 1-2


    Reader's Response: Antigone and Ismene disagree over the burial of Polyneices. With whom do you agree?

    Thematic Focus: Antigone chooses to do what she thinks is right, rather than give in to Creon's law. What consequences do you think she will face as a result of her choices?

    Check Your Comprehension:
    1. Why does Antigone feel that her brother should get a proper burial?
    2. How does Creon react to the news of Polyneices' burial?

    Critical Thinking:
    1. Explain what Ismene means when she says, "We are only women,/We cannot fight with men, Antigone!"
    2. How might Ismene's advice to her sister seem cowardly to some readers?
    3. In his argument with Antigone, Creon declares "An enemy is an enemy, even dead." What does he mean? Do you agree?
    4. Compare and contrast the government of Creon in Thebes with a modern-day government.

    Reading Strategy:
    1. What is Ismene's motive for not going along with Antigone at first?
    2. What is Antigone's motive for burying Polyneices?
    3. What is Creon's motive for insisting on Antigone's death?

    Literary Focus:
    1. Describe the conflict between Antigone and Creon.
    2. What qualities of each character contribute to the conflict?
    3. Give examples of actions and feelings that show that Antigone is the protagonist and Creon is the antagonist.

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  • Shakespeare Research

    The following items can be found on the internet and put into slideshow format with your iPad.
    You must include an MLA Works Cited page to list each source used.

    1.Timeline of Shakespeare’s life – major events, at least the following must be included:
    birth, school, marriage, birth of children, death of children,
    first play, last play, and death.
    You can always add more than this!

    2.A picture of the town where Shakespeare was born

    3.Your favorite picture of Shakespeare, with a brief explanation of why you chose this particular picture

    4.A picture of the Globe theater and brief history of the Globe

    5.A picture of Queen Elizabeth with a brief paragraph explaining her relationship to Shakespeare (hint, it was NOT romantic)

    6.Timeline of Shakespeare’s plays – you do not need to include them all, but you need to include at least these (these are not in order):

    Romeo & Juliet
    Much Ado About Nothing
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    And a play of your choosing

    7.A modern reference to Shakespeare – from a newspaper, magazine or an Internet site. Cannot be a play or movie review – it must be a reference to Shakespeare in a context other than his literary works or a book about his life

    8.A description about the controversy surrounding the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. Why do people think Shakespeare was really someone else? What do you personally believe? Please become familiar with this question and the different theories surrounding the question, “Was Shakespeare really Shakespeare?”

    These eight items PLUS MLA WORKS CITED are due Friday, December 15, 2011

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  • Sophocles Background

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  • Ali Baba Part 2

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