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Online Guide to Writing and Research

Thinking Strategies and Writing Patterns

Developing a Paper Using Strategies

Each writing strategy we have covered is an essay writing strategy. A synthesis essay, an evaluative essay, a comparative essay, a cause-and-effect essay-- each requires an introduction, a thesis, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, some parts of an essay will look different depending on which strategy you employ. The most obvious differences will appear in your thesis statement. However, these differences also filter into your body paragraphs. 

Comparative Analysis (with Evaluation)

Imagine you receive an assignment requiring you to compare the benefits of one cost-analysis system with another and show how system A is superior to system B.

What will your thesis statement need to contain in order to satisfy this prompt?

Your thesis might look like this:

Systems A and B are both efficient; however, System A involves less computational time and is easier to understand, and these qualities make training, in particular, more efficient.

First, notice how the comparative analysis in the statement starts immediately. Also, notice how the statement both compares and contrasts. It finds a quality that the two systems have in common and proceeds to sort out the differences within that common quality.

Evaluation is also taking place. The thesis statement sets up a criterion - training efficiency - and assigns value to both systems based on the established criterion.

The statement employs two persuasive strategies. It appeals to logos by implying that the paper will evaluate between parts and a whole, and the statement appeals to pathos by assuming the reader’s preference for understandability and ease of use. 

For your body paragraphs, you have two main options for developing and supporting your thesis.

Option 1

Address systems A and B separately. For each system, you would address each aspect of your established criteria. Additionally, in this case, because system A is the superior system, you would address system B first and system A last. 

Option 2

Organize based on your established criteria. Provide sections on efficiency in general, computational time, and understanding. Then compare and contrast systems A and B within each section.

Cause and Effect Analysis (with Synthesis)

Imagine you receive an assignment requiring you to discuss the conditions associated with repeat offenses among criminal offenders.

What will your thesis statement need to contain in order to satisfy the prompt?

Your thesis could be something like the following:

Policymakers tend to focus their attention on one cause or another for why criminal offenders repeat offenses, but as scholarship has shown, institutional, legal, familial, and behavioral conditions all contribute, suggesting that a multipronged approach to the issue may be most effective.

Notice how the thesis signals the question of causation right away, followed by the application of scholarship to the issue. This mention of scholarship signals to the reader that a synthesis will follow. Then, an inference from the synthesized scholarship provides the claim made within the thesis.

The statement also employs two persuasive strategies: logos, by associating causes with an effect and drawing an inference from scholarly sources. The statement appeals to ethos by demonstrating knowledge of scholarly authority and the implication that scholarship will be used to support the central claim of the paper.

The thesis of your cause-and-effect analysis has outlined the body paragraphs for you. You should discuss each of the causes in the order listed. Using the sources to which your thesis alludes, you should define the causes, show their effects, and support the paper’s thesis with statistics and examples.


Key Takeaways

  • Every writing assignment you write will have specific strategies to employ depending on the type of assignment and details in the prompt.
  • It's important to highlight keywords in your assignment prompt in order to know how to approach your thesis and organize your body paragraphs.

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Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing