Take time to freewrite about the reading you did for homework. What stood out to you as most important for this portfolio assignment? What was the most helpful thing you found in them and why?

Claim/Thesis Workshop

What is a claim? Is it any different from a thesis statement?

  • Good question. Some people look at the claim as the position you want your readers to accept, whereas the thesis statement is the claim + your reasons (i.e. the evidence to support your claim). It is helpful to think of them as two different entities because people try to tell us all the time what to think, but without giving us good reasons why, it's not very convincing. In fact, it's just annoying. For instance, if you told me to stop drinking coffee, I'd probably react somewhere between rolling my eyes and wanting to choke you. However, if you told me to stop drinking my cup of coffee because you just saw a roach crawl into it, I'd probably be pretty convinced and react by thanking you profusely. That's a silly example, but you get the idea. The point is that your thesis statement needs to contain both your claim and your reasons up front.
  • Examples from pop culture - what are the claims being made? Are they giving any reasoning or just being bossy?

What is a thesis statement?

  • Quick Thesis Statement Video
  • The "Roadmap" Mentality
    • A good thesis statement and introduction for an argumentative paper should be the equivalent of drawing a roadmap for someone. Your goal is to get them from point A (where they're at) to point B (where you want them to go--in this case, you want to convince them to act on your issue). The thesis statement should define for the reader where you want them to go and how you're going to get them there.
  • Thesis Statement Activity

Tackling the Dreaded Introduction

Elements of a good introduction

  • An introduction generally serves a map for the paper, letting the reader know where you're going and how you're going to get there...which means you have to know where you're going first before you can guide someone else.
    • Take 10 minutes to get your ideas together about this paper. Ponder the following and answer them in-line in bullet format:
      • What is it I'm arguing?
      • What points will I be bringing up to argue this position? What scholarly sources can I connect these to?
      • What action do I want my readers to take on this issue?
      • What are the counter-arguments? What might someone say to convince me of the opposite position?
      • What are the consequences of doing nothing?
    • Are you starting to see the shape of a research paper taking place? Now that you see the main points, might it be helpful when constructing your introduction? You don't want or need to hit every single one of these points in the introduction, but you need to consider what is most important to convey to your reader early on.

It's a lot to think about, isn't it? Getting past the thesis statement and the introduction are the hardest parts of a research paper. And on that note...


  1. Read IGW Ch. 6--"Rhetoric" (page 37 to the top of page 52--stop at "Writing a Rhetorical Analysis of an Essay")
  2. You might need to add more sources to your annotated bib. Don't let this sneak up on you. These might be relevant to the solution you're proposing, since you didn't necessarily cover that in your feature articles. You may already have these covered, but if you think you need to do more research, do it now before everything starts getting hectic.
  3. Write a first draft of your introduction and an outline for your research paper!!! Take the notes from your workshop and rewrite your thesis, if need be. This is a first draft, so you should feel free to take risks and go out on limbs. Bring 2 printed copies to class on Monday--one for me and one for peer review. Please TYPE IT and format it like this:
    • Heading as usual
    • Title: " A2A Draft 1: Introduction and Outline "
    • Introduction with very solid thesis statement
    • Below that, outline the rest of your paper in nice, specific terms.