Saint Mary's University Writing Centre

Halifax, NS

The “Top-down” Approach to Writing Thesis Statements and Starting Papers

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Marshall University's Writing Center Blog

Gregory Fraser and Chad Davidson’s book Analyze Anything: A Guide to Critical Reading and Writing has some specific examples of how to be more specific when writing essays. Often times, it’s easy to forget that writing a paper is more difficult than it looks. Going off of Fraser and Davidson’s “Ladder of Specificity,” I will give you my own example and “take” on how to narrow your thesis statement and topic to fit the parameters of the assignment you’ve been given to achieve what you’ve been asked to write. First, you must pick a subject within the parameters of the assignment you’ve been given. Next, you have to narrow that to achieve the parameters of the assignment. Lastly, you must write the essay in a cohesive, articulate, and persuasive tone. It’s tough. It’s tough for most everyone.

When beginning to write an essay it’s imperative to remember that we need…

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