Common sense and ethics should determine your need for documenting sources. You do not need to give sources for familiar proverbs, well-known quotations or common knowledge. Remember, this is a rhetorical choice, based on audience. If you're writing for an expert audience of a scholarly journal, for example, they'll have different expectations of what constitutes common knowledge.
Sometimes writers are confused with how to craft parenthetical citations for electronic sources because of the absence of page numbers, but often, these sorts of entries do not require any sort of parenthetical citation at all. For electronic and Internet sources, follow the following guidelines:
If you can state all of your main points logically in just one sentence, then all of those points should come together logically in just one essay. When I evaluate an essay, I look specifically for a one-sentence statement of the thesis in the introduction that, again, identifies the topic of the essay, states all of the main points, clarifies how those points are logically related, and conveys the purpose of the essay.
In high school, students often are told to begin an introduction with a thesis statement and then to follow this statement with a series of sentences, each sentence presenting one of the main points or claims of the essay. While this approach probably helps students organize their essays, spreading a thesis statement over several sentences in the introduction usually is not effective. For one thing, it can lead to an essay that develops several points but does not make meaningful or clear connections among the different ideas.
If you are used to using the high school model to present the thesis of an essay, you might wonder what you should do with the rest of your introduction once you start presenting a one-sentence statement of your thesis. Well, an introduction should do two important things: (1) present the thesis statement, and (2) get readers interested in the subject of the essay.
Read Mark Twain's little piece (below) about the troubles he has with his new watch, as another example of narrative writing. (There is very little in the way of paragraphing in this narrative, and as you read along you might want to think about how you would break this piece into smaller units of thought for your reader.) Answer the questions we pose after Twain's essay and apply them as well to Jeffrey Tayler's essay above.
For instance, if you are writing about capital punishment, your thesis statement should not be something like the following.
► Capital punishment is not the appropriate way of punishing a person for a crime he has committed.
This is an example of a weak thesis statement because it is too generic as well as vague.
If any parts of your essay or any sentences seem just a little unclear to you, you can bet that they will be unclear to readers. Review your essay carefully and change any parts of the essay that could cause confusion for readers. Also, take special note of any passages that your peer critiquers feel are not very clear.
Clarity is always important: if your writing is not clear, your meaning will not reach readers the way you would like it to. According to IVCC's , "A," "B," and "C" essays are clear throughout, meaning that problems with clarity can have a substantial effect on the grade of an essay.
Given the subject, purpose, and audience for each essay in this course, you should use a . This means that you should avoid use of the first person ("I," "me," "we," etc.), the use of contractions ("can't," "won't," etc.), and the use of slang or other informal language. A formal writing voice will make you sound more convincing and more authoritative.
Remember to follow the specific order of explanation in the body of your essay as mentioned in your thesis statement.
► Recycling helps in saving natural resources, conserving energy, and decreasing pollution.
If you organize your essay well, and if you use plenty of specific evidence to support your thesis and the individual claims that comprise that thesis, then there is a good possibility that your essay will be insightful.
The insightfulness of an essay often is directly related to the organization and the support and development of the ideas in the essay. If you have well-developed body paragraphs focused on one specific point each, then it is likely that you are going into depth with the ideas you present and are offering an insightful interpretation.
If you are writing an interpretation, you should reread the text or study your subject thoroughly, doing your best to notice something new each time you examine it. As you come up with a possible interpretation to develop in an essay, you should re-examine your subject with that interpretation in mind, marking passages (if your subject is a literary text) and taking plenty of notes on your subject. Studying your subject in this way will make it easier for you to find supporting evidence for your interpretation as you write your essay.