Essay Organization Use the image below to help you identify the parts of an essay and to plan your overall writing. Introduction Paragraph(s) (Thesis Statement) Body Paragraph(s) Point 1 1 2 3 Body Paragraph(s) Point 2 Body Paragraph(s) Point 3 Background Information Counter Perspective(s) Conclusion Paragraph(s) 1 2 3 1 2 3 The Essay Criteria Review the criteria below to understand what will need to be included in your persuasive essay. Use the criteria to evaluate your essay as you are writing and prior to submitting your final paper.

Introduction Paragraph(s) and Thesis Statement Your thesis statement should be one to two sentences long and summarize your main point. It will serve as a guide to you and your reader for where the essay is headed. If your topic is complex, you will likely need two sentences to make sure that your main idea is clear. Your first sentence should state your position, and the second sentence should tell your reader what your essay is about. Check Your Work Did you grab the reader’s attention? Is your thesis statement well-constructed? Does it tell the reader what your essay is about and communicate your position? Background Information Background Information helps your audience understand the subject matter and your position. Typically, it is located either in the introductory paragraph or below it in a new paragraph. Your choice of location will depend on the amount of information you need to provide your audience, and where it makes the most sense to include it. Check Your Work Is there enough room to place all of the necessary background information in paragraph one or does it need its own paragraph? Did you define key terms for your audience?

WHAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR ESSAY? Body Paragraphs The number of body paragraphs will vary based on your topic and the amount of supporting points you need to share to build a persuasive position. You should strive for three to five paragraphs per supporting point to ensure that each idea is fully developed. Effective body paragraphs include: Topic Sentence, Evidence, Analysis/Reasoning, and Transition. Remember, it is better to over-explain than to leave your audience guessing. You’ll be evaluated on your thoroughness and ability to persuade. Check Your Work What questions might the reader have that you should address? Do your ideas build upon each other, and build toward your goal? Does each paragraph include a topic sentence? Are strong transitions used to move from one idea to the next, and one paragraph to the next? Does the flow of information make sense? Do you use the three audience appeals? Logic: Do you persuade your audience that your position is logical and reasonable? Do you interweave facts and sources to back up your claims? Credibility: Do you persuade your audience that you are credible and trustworthy by using the appropriate point of view, voice, tone, examples, and credible sources? Are your points ethical and honest? Emotions: Do you appeal to the emotions of your audience by framing your position as a problem they can relate to or with which they can sympathize?

Counter Perspective(s) Counter perspectives can be addressed directly in your body paragraphs (above) or in separate paragraphs following your body paragraphs. If it makes more sense to address a counter perspective in the context of one of the body paragraphs, you should do so, but make sure that you are not distracting from the main point you are trying to make. Check Your Work What is the supporting point you’re addressing? Why is it important/necessary to address the counter perspective for this point? How is the counter perspective related to this point? Does the counter perspective leave out an important issue? If so, point this out. Does the evidence to support the counter perspective include fallacies (flaws in reasoning)? If so, identify and explain the fallacy. Is there more evidence to support your perspective? Conclusion Paragraph(s) Your final paragraph(s) should restate your thesis and be a call to action. You’ll want to summarize your main points and tie them together to leave a lasting impression. Be sure not to introduce any new information in the conclusion paragraph(s).

Check Your Work Do you paraphrase or restate your thesis in a new way? Do you state any future research possibilities, if applicable? Did you leave a lasting impression, so that your audience will continue to think about your topic and/or take action? In-Text Citations and References Citing your sources not only gives credit to the original writer, it also builds your credibility and supports your reasoning. Every in-text citation must be listed on your References page. Check Your Work Have you used SWS in-text citations to document your sources? Do you have a Source List page? Do you have 4-6 credible sources? Include major identifying information for each source and apply a consistent and SWS style flow of information (Author’s first and last name, year of publication) For example: Natalie Goldberg, 1986. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. P.55-57. ISBN-13:978-0877733751 Grammar, Mechanics, Punctuation, and SWS Formatting Common grammar, spelling, formatting, and mechanical mistakes distract your readers, and thus take away from the importance, clarity, and credibility of your ideas. Check Your Work Did you check your grammar? The way words are put together to convey meaning, i.e., sentence structure, pronoun-agreement, etc. Did you check your mechanics? All the “technical” stuff in writing, i.e., spelling, capitalization, use of numbers and other symbols, etc. Did you check your punctuation? The “symbols” used to help people read/process sentences the way you want them to be understood, i.e., periods, question marks, commas, colons, etc. Did you follow SWS formatting? Times New Roman, double spaced, 1” margins, cover page, page numbers, and indented paragraphs. In-Text Citations and References Citing your sources not only gives credit to the original writer, it also builds your credibility and supports your reasoning. Every in-text citation must be listed on your References page. Check Your Work Have you used SWS in-text citations to document your sources? Do you have a Source List page? Do you have 4-6 credible sources? Include major identifying information for each source and apply a consistent and SWS style flow of information (Author’s first and last name, year of publication) For example: Natalie Goldberg, 1986. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. P.55-57. ISBN-13:978-0877733751 Grammar, Mechanics, Punctuation, and SWS Formatting Common grammar, spelling, formatting, and mechanical mistakes distract your readers, and thus take away from the importance, clarity, and credibility of your ideas. Check Your Work Did you check your grammar? The way words are put together to convey meaning, i.e., sentence structure, pronoun-agreement, etc. Did you check your mechanics? All the “technical” stuff in writing, i.e., spelling, capitalization, use of numbers and other symbols, etc. Did you check your punctuation? The “symbols” used to help people read/process sentences the way you want them to be understood, i.e., periods, question marks, commas, colons, etc. Did you follow SWS formatting? Times New Roman, double spaced, 1” margins, cover page, page numbers, and indented paragraphs.

 
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