TABLE OF CONTENTS
· Thesis Statement and Thesis Statement Paragraph
· Writing Style authority
· Authorized Dictionaries
· Inclusion of Opposing Viewpoints
III. Basic Guidelines
A scholarly expository essay is a structured, informative, logical argument (thesis) of your viewpoints and your opponents’ thoughts on a given topic. The scholarly expository essay is about arguing your ideas, presenting your AND your opponents’ ideas, and offering a critical analysis of points of view. It is not about overwhelming the reader with facts or regurgitating what you have read. The expository essay is about your interpretation of the arguments found in various sources about your topic.
An expository essay is a logical argument, not a violent or negative disagreement, but a reasonable statement supported by logic and evidence. It is your thoughtful, reasoned, relatively balanced, analytically argumentative interpretation of your topic. You use logic and evidence to prove your thesis, which is an elegant or sophisticated statement of your opinion or viewpoint. Construct a clear, succinct, unmistakable thesis statement that forces you to answer within the statement itself the “why?” or the “how come?” to the way you think about your topic.
If you have no idea on how to write an expository essay, especially on how to construct the thesis statement, then contact the instructor. Contact the instructor and/or a reference librarian if you need to know the background to your topic.
The expository essay assignments involve the following.
· Write three short essays (each a draft of a different portion or section of the expository essay. See also details in each short essay guide.
· Write the thesis statement and the thesis statement paragraph as part of short essay 03.
· Combine the edited short essays into a draft of your expository essay and expand the draft to write the final version of your expository essay.
Thesis Statement and Thesis Statement Paragraph
A scholarly expository essay has a thesis statement. A thesis statement is your argument supported by logic and evidence.
The thesis statement (in the discipline of history) is comprised of one sentence that presents your central idea that is debatable. It expresses a viewpoint on a topic about which reasonable, well-meaning people might disagree. A thesis statement allows the essayist to explore various sides of the topic, including opposing ideas. It also informs the reader what to expect in the essay.
Roughly defined, a thesis statement is a sentence that contains two elements: your opinion on the topic and your reason that explains why you think the way you do about your topic. Both elements of the thesis statement must contain the same idea or theme. Make certain that your thesis statement is clear, unambiguous, concise, and precise.
A well-constructed thesis statement paragraph frames and supports a thesis. The thesis statement paragraph is comprised of thematic sentences that support and logically flow toward the thesis statement. A thematic sentence presents a main idea that connects to the thesis statement, and it is explored in detail in the body of the essay. Make the thesis statement the last sentence in the first or second paragraph of the expository essay.
See the Common Writing Style Problems Guide for details about the thesis statement.
Writing Style Authority
Your instructor’s authority for writing style and thesis is Nancy Packer and John Timpane, Writing Worth Reading, third (or later) edition.
Authorized Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
The instructor’s authority on spelling, definition, usage, and etymology is the latest edition of:
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
The Oxford English Dictionary
available on the library’s databases page.
Never cite Wikipedia
, an encyclopedia on the World Wide Web, because Wikipedia does not provide peer review of its entries.
Inclusion of Opposing Viewpoints
Discuss both your ideas AND your opponents’ ideas. The argument in a scholarly expository essay must explore different sides, including their strengths and weaknesses, of the topic. Your job is to present major sides of the debate or controversy fairly and honestly while you present your interpretation of the topic.
You cannot make the essay one-sided. You should find flaws in your opponents’ argument or premises and be logical in explaining your thesis. Be honest in stating that your viewpoint has weaknesses. For example, if you are for a periodic increase in the minimum wage, then you must be honest in carefully presenting different anti-periodic increase in the minimum wage and anti-minimum wage views while carefully explaining why your views are worthwhile.
Use endnotes, NOT footnotes, NOT parenthetical references. You must cite various sources to support your argument. Documentation must be thorough enough to give the reader a clear idea of the evidence for specific claims. Have as many cited sources as needed above the required minimum number of sources to support your essay.
An endnote may contain more than one title of a cited source. If appropriate, use the assigned readings for the course and other sources, for example, books, journals, newspapers, classroom discussion, messages, lecture notes, websites, and so forth.
All cited sources must conform to the Chicago style of documentation. See the Endnotes Guide for details.
You increase your chances of writing a high quality, scholarly expository essay when you engage in good, in-depth research. More importantly, you will increase your chances of writing a high quality, scholarly expository essay when you choose a topic that you love, that truly excites you. Always think about your topic. Continue to look at your topic from different angles. Play mind games with your topic. Always be critical about your argument.
Be very careful when searching the Internet. You must exercise critical thought when looking at various websites because some websites, which appear so well written in conveying ideas and facts, are truly disreputable. As for interpretations, you must learn to be judicious in your assessment of the information.
Use the library. Reference librarians are ready to assist you. They will work with you to find material from high quality sources that in some cases are not on the Internet. They also have a good idea about which websites are effective for your topic. You must have an outline of how to approach your research topic before consulting with a reference librarian. But do not wait until the last month of the semester to talk to a reference librarian because the reference librarian will be assisting many students from numerous courses.
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