GWSS 3203: Blood, Bodies and Science
Best Practices in Writing & Expectations
- Grab the reader's attention with a hook! Begin with an anecdote, personal experience, quote, dilemma, question, story, or context regarding something you'll explain later.
- Feel free to use "I"! State your beliefs and opinions (as long as they're backed up), and don't be afraid to get personal. There's no such thing as unbiased, unaccountable writing.
- Properly quote and cite all of your sources by MLA guidelines.
- Always include a thesis statement within the first paragraph. For your first essay, you're expected to elaborate on a particular ethical debate or dilemma. Thesis statements always answer questions, so before you begin to write it, ask yourself what question will guide your essay, that is, what are you trying to answer or prove? In this case, generally speaking, the question may be something like, "What are the best ethical approaches to practicing this sort of science?" In your thesis statement answer--and in one or two sentences--you must address the "why," "what," and "how" of your argument. That is, why you intend to make a certain argument, what will you end up demonstrating, and how you intent to do it. A simple template for this kind of thesis structure often looks like this:
"Because of ______["why?"], I will argue that ______["what?"] by doing________["how"?].
For example, "Because invasive species like buckthorn are diminishing the ecological integrity of the Mississippi River Gorge bluffs, I will argue that more grant funding needs to be allocated to nonprofits like Friends of the Mississippi River. I will demonstrate this by evaluating various DNR surveys from 1980 to 2010."
- Stay organized! The rest of your essay should elaborate on each of the three elements you outline in your thesis. So, after your compelling introductory paragraph, the next section should explain the "why," or the importance of your argument. This section sets the stage for arguments and data to follow. Next, perhaps you will use some data--the "how"--to verify your claims. Then, you will analyze that data by making some conclusions about it. Your conclusion should be as compelling as your introduction. Often, writers restate their thesis and conclusions in a different way. Some also ask related questions for future research. Some tie everything together by finishing the story they opened with. Be creative!
- Check for spelling and grammatical errors
- Include a bibliography and page numbers