Persuasive writing:

1. How to write an A+ introduction

  1. Present first, as clearly as possible, your thesis statement. Hit'em first and hit'em hard! (Important note: Reserve the cutesy "hook" introduction where you begin with something general "to get the readers' interest" for journalism or other types of popular-level writing. Do NOT use it in this class. You already have my interest, so don't waste words.)

  2. Introduce yourself as someone who has the right to write on this subject. Briefly mention your own personal experience, knowledge and qualifications on the subject (if any), plus whatever research or assigned reading you did in order to gain the right to write on it.

  3. Mention the method used for the paper (I.e., is it a description, an argument [if so, for what?], a research report, a comparison, a personal reaction, or what?) and if appropriate, the intended purpose of the paper.

  4. Mention the results of your study, investigation, research or experiment, or the reasoning-process that your conclusion is based on. Briefly state the principal factual conclusions you came to. Do not use a surprise ending!

  5. Clearly tell what decision you want the reader to make, that is, what you want your audience to do or believe as a consequence of this paper.

Note: If you are writing for a very hostile audience you should move the thesis statement to the end of the introduction, and introduce yourself first as a person the audience can like, respect or trust before challenging them,.  

2. How to write an A+ conclusion:

  1. Try to sum up the principles, relationships, and generalizations shown in the paper.  Remember, you DISCUSS, not REPEAT, what the paper says. (Hint: NEVER begin a conclusion with "In conclusion," or "To conclude"!)

  2. Admit any remaining unanswered questions or unsettled points related to the subject of the paper, or any problems that still need to be clarified or need more study.

  3. Between items 2 and 4, joining-words like “However…” or “In spite of this, …” should be used. Then reaffirm your thesis statement (from the beginning of the paper) in different words.

  4. Show how your interpretation in the paper agrees or disagrees with the assigned reading, with other experts' opinions, with what you always thought you knew about the subject before starting the paper, or what “everyone” thinks about it. (Hint: Never "apologize" for what you have to say!)

  5. Tell what good will happen if one accepts your standpoint, and what negative consequences will ensue if one fails to accept it. That is, discuss the real-world implications of what you say in the paper. Reassure your audience that they have more to gain than to lose if they agree with what you say in the paper, but without using the word "you."

  6. Tell what specific action you want your audience to take in the real world, or how what you write should change your own or other people's life.

  7. State your final conclusions as clearly as possible. This is your farewell statement, so leave readers with something to think about!

    f you at any point you see that you are repeating yourself, or if what you wrote just does not "sound right," do not be afraid to combine two or more of these items into one sentence, move items around, or even to drop one or more items if they do not apply to your specific writing task. These are suggestions, not holy writ!

    Inspired by:

    Day, Robert A.  How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper.  5th ed. Phoenix: Oryx P., 1998.

    OW rev 1/08 rev 10/14


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