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An Easy Guide to Writing an Annotated Essay Structure
Table of Contents
Essays can be long and complicated. That’s because they can go on and, sometimes seem impossible to write.
The following guide helps make them manageable. It will show you when to break down each essay section and which parts can stand on their own as a stand-alone paragraph. It will also help you determine how much of the essay to share as freely as possible and which parts of the article you need to edit.
Creating an Annotated Essay Structure
Before starting your research assignment, your teacher could request you to write an annotated outline. An outline will help you organize your paper’s main ideas and ensure it is supported by research .
Asides the fact that you have to save a lot of time by creating an annotated outline, you can also save time by writing the paper in its entirety.
1. Start With an Introduction.
The introduction section of your outline should include a thesis statement.
2.The Main Body of Your Paper Should Contain Headings.
While you may make them more or less specific, the main point is to make sure they are related to your thesis statement since they must support it. Your heading should reflect different aspects of your topic.
3. Make Sure Your Outline Is Straight to the Point.
Only try to make the sections you need because the outline must be concise. Annotated systems usually are at most 2-2. Double spaces appear on five pages.
4. Include Two or More Supporting Paragraph Headings Under Every Section.
You should write another paragraph if you don’t have at least two paragraph headings in each section.
5. Subsequent Paragraphs Should Contain Topic Sentences.
You must begin your paragraph with a topic sentence that describes what the section will be about and reflects the arguments that you make in it. When you start a paragraph about rising sea levels near California, you can write a simple sentence like this: Global warming is responsible for rising sea levels near California.
6. It Is Essential to Provide at Least Two Supporting Examples in Every Paragraph so That Readers Can Understand Why Your Points Are Valid.
It would help if you also mentioned how each paragraph relates to your thesis statement. You may also provide paraphrases and direct references to support your arguments.
7. Provide Data From Interviews and Opinions From Reliable Experts.
Briefly explain the connection between the topic sentence and the evidence from each paragraph in the outline.
8. Let Your Closing Sentence Allow You to Make the Transition From One to the Next
Your content will flow logically from one section to another . As a result, Write a conclusion. You need to rephrase your thesis statement, wrap up the entire paper, summarize the key points, and express some meaningful ideas that will reinforce the thesis and leave your readers with something to think about.
Your writing should follow the following pattern: Introduction – argument – data (statistics) – your analysis. By doing so, you can always argue with evidence while keeping things clear. Keep your readers focused by following the same structure.
Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.
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Arts: Literary Studies essays
What makes a good literary studies essay.
The main purpose of a Literary Studies essay is to closely analyse one or more literary texts/literary theories, and then formulate and defend an argument about a key problem or question in the discipline.
This process involves:
- engaging critically with appropriate secondary material
- contributing to socio-historical, ecological, theoretical, gender, and genre-specific debates in Literary Studies
- demonstrating skills in finding, evaluating and presenting analysis of relevant primary and secondary sources.
Tips for writing a Literary Studies essay View
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Principles for Writing a Literary Studies Essay
Steps for writing a literary studies essay, sample literary studies essay.
ENGL 099: Introductory Composition
- Sample Annotated Essays: MLA & APA
- Writing Basics
- Finding Books
- Finding Sources
- Evaluating Sources
- Using Sources
- Citing Sources
- Find Campus Support Services
- Find Help @ GRC
MLA and APA formatting style
The two sample essays below highlight the formatting features of MLA and APA style from start to finish.
- MLA stye formatting
- APA style formatting
(click on any of the images below to enlarge)
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- Last Updated: Sep 26, 2023 10:51 AM
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How to write an annotation.
One of the greatest challenges students face is adjusting to college reading expectations. Unlike high school, students in college are expected to read more “academic” type of materials in less time and usually recall the information as soon as the next class.
The problem is many students spend hours reading and have no idea what they just read. Their eyes are moving across the page, but their mind is somewhere else. The end result is wasted time, energy, and frustration…and having to read the text again.
Although students are taught how to read at an early age, many are not taught how to actively engage with written text or other media. Annotation is a tool to help you learn how to actively engage with a text or other media.
View the following video about how to annotate a text.
Annotating a text or other media (e.g. a video, image, etc.) is as much about you as it is the text you are annotating. What are YOUR responses to the author’s writing, claims and ideas? What are YOU thinking as you consider the work? Ask questions, challenge, think!
When we annotate an author’s work, our minds should encounter the mind of the author, openly and freely. If you met the author at a party, what would you like to tell to them; what would you like to ask them? What do you think they would say in response to your comments? You can be critical of the text, but you do not have to be. If you are annotating properly, you often begin to get ideas that have little or even nothing to do with the topic you are annotating. That’s fine: it’s all about generating insights and ideas of your own. Any good insight is worth keeping because it may make for a good essay or research paper later on.
The Secret is in the Pen
One of the ways proficient readers read is with a pen in hand. They know their purpose is to keep their attention on the material by:
- Predicting what the material will be about
- Questioning the material to further understanding
- Determining what’s important
- Identifying key vocabulary
- Summarizing the material in their own words, and
- Monitoring their comprehension (understanding) during and after engaging with the material
The same applies for mindfully viewing a film, video, image or other media.
Annotating a Text
Review the video, “How to Annotate a Text.” Pay attention to both how to make annotations and what types of thoughts and ideas may be part of your annotations as you actively read a written text.
Example Assignment Format: Annotating a Written Text
For the annotation of reading assignments in this class, you will cite and comment on a minimum of FIVE (5) phrases, sentences or passages from notes you take on the selected readings.
Here is an example format for an assignment to annotate a written text:
Example Assignment Format: Annotating Media
In addition to annotating written text, at times you will have assignments to annotate media (e.g., videos, images or other media). For the annotation of media assignments in this class, you will cite and comment on a minimum of THREE (3) statements, facts, examples, research or any combination of those from the notes you take about selected media.
Here is an example format for an assignment to annotate media:
- Provided by : Lumen Learning. Located at : http://www.lumenlearning.com/ . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Authored by : Paul Powell . Provided by : Central Community College. Project : Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative. License : CC BY: Attribution
- Authored by : Elisabeth Ellington and Ronda Dorsey Neugebauer . Provided by : Chadron State College. Project : Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative. License : CC BY: Attribution
- Annotating a Text. Authored by : HaynesEnglish. Located at : http://youtu.be/pf9CTJj9dCM . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube license
- How to Annotate a Text. Authored by : Kthiebau90. Located at : http://youtu.be/IzrWOj0gWHU . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
Essay and dissertation writing skills
Planning your essay
Writing your introduction
Structuring your essay
- Writing essays in science subjects
- Brief video guides to support essay planning and writing
- Writing extended essays and dissertations
- Planning your dissertation writing time
Structuring your dissertation
- Top tips for writing longer pieces of work
Advice on planning and writing essays and dissertations
University essays differ from school essays in that they are less concerned with what you know and more concerned with how you construct an argument to answer the question. This means that the starting point for writing a strong essay is to first unpick the question and to then use this to plan your essay before you start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).
A really good starting point for you are these short, downloadable Tips for Successful Essay Writing and Answering the Question resources. Both resources will help you to plan your essay, as well as giving you guidance on how to distinguish between different sorts of essay questions.
You may find it helpful to watch this seven-minute video on six tips for essay writing which outlines how to interpret essay questions, as well as giving advice on planning and structuring your writing:
Different disciplines will have different expectations for essay structure and you should always refer to your Faculty or Department student handbook or course Canvas site for more specific guidance.
However, broadly speaking, all essays share the following features:
Essays need an introduction to establish and focus the parameters of the discussion that will follow. You may find it helpful to divide the introduction into areas to demonstrate your breadth and engagement with the essay question. You might define specific terms in the introduction to show your engagement with the essay question; for example, ‘This is a large topic which has been variously discussed by many scientists and commentators. The principle tension is between the views of X and Y who define the main issues as…’ Breadth might be demonstrated by showing the range of viewpoints from which the essay question could be considered; for example, ‘A variety of factors including economic, social and political, influence A and B. This essay will focus on the social and economic aspects, with particular emphasis on…..’
Watch this two-minute video to learn more about how to plan and structure an introduction:
The main body of the essay should elaborate on the issues raised in the introduction and develop an argument(s) that answers the question. It should consist of a number of self-contained paragraphs each of which makes a specific point and provides some form of evidence to support the argument being made. Remember that a clear argument requires that each paragraph explicitly relates back to the essay question or the developing argument.
- Conclusion: An essay should end with a conclusion that reiterates the argument in light of the evidence you have provided; you shouldn’t use the conclusion to introduce new information.
- References: You need to include references to the materials you’ve used to write your essay. These might be in the form of footnotes, in-text citations, or a bibliography at the end. Different systems exist for citing references and different disciplines will use various approaches to citation. Ask your tutor which method(s) you should be using for your essay and also consult your Department or Faculty webpages for specific guidance in your discipline.
Essay writing in science subjects
If you are writing an essay for a science subject you may need to consider additional areas, such as how to present data or diagrams. This five-minute video gives you some advice on how to approach your reading list, planning which information to include in your answer and how to write for your scientific audience – the video is available here:
A PDF providing further guidance on writing science essays for tutorials is available to download.
Short videos to support your essay writing skills
There are many other resources at Oxford that can help support your essay writing skills and if you are short on time, the Oxford Study Skills Centre has produced a number of short (2-minute) videos covering different aspects of essay writing, including:
- Approaching different types of essay questions
- Structuring your essay
- Writing an introduction
- Making use of evidence in your essay writing
- Writing your conclusion
Extended essays and dissertations
Longer pieces of writing like extended essays and dissertations may seem like quite a challenge from your regular essay writing. The important point is to start with a plan and to focus on what the question is asking. A PDF providing further guidance on planning Humanities and Social Science dissertations is available to download.
Planning your time effectively
Try not to leave the writing until close to your deadline, instead start as soon as you have some ideas to put down onto paper. Your early drafts may never end up in the final work, but the work of committing your ideas to paper helps to formulate not only your ideas, but the method of structuring your writing to read well and conclude firmly.
Although many students and tutors will say that the introduction is often written last, it is a good idea to begin to think about what will go into it early on. For example, the first draft of your introduction should set out your argument, the information you have, and your methods, and it should give a structure to the chapters and sections you will write. Your introduction will probably change as time goes on but it will stand as a guide to your entire extended essay or dissertation and it will help you to keep focused.
The structure of extended essays or dissertations will vary depending on the question and discipline, but may include some or all of the following:
- The background information to - and context for - your research. This often takes the form of a literature review.
- Explanation of the focus of your work.
- Explanation of the value of this work to scholarship on the topic.
- List of the aims and objectives of the work and also the issues which will not be covered because they are outside its scope.
The main body of your extended essay or dissertation will probably include your methodology, the results of research, and your argument(s) based on your findings.
The conclusion is to summarise the value your research has added to the topic, and any further lines of research you would undertake given more time or resources.
Tips on writing longer pieces of work
Approaching each chapter of a dissertation as a shorter essay can make the task of writing a dissertation seem less overwhelming. Each chapter will have an introduction, a main body where the argument is developed and substantiated with evidence, and a conclusion to tie things together. Unlike in a regular essay, chapter conclusions may also introduce the chapter that will follow, indicating how the chapters are connected to one another and how the argument will develop through your dissertation.
For further guidance, watch this two-minute video on writing longer pieces of work .
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How to Write an Annotated Outline
Last Updated: August 17, 2023 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 88% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 148,700 times.
Before you begin writing your research paper, you may be advised by your teacher to create an annotated outline. An annotated outline can help you organize the main points of your paper and ensure your research supports your thesis. Creating an annotated outline can save you valuable time when you sit down to write your paper.
Understanding the Key Elements of an Annotated Outline
- An attention grabbing hook to open your paper
- A preview of the main points of the paper
- Your thesis statement
- For example, you may be writing a research paper about climate change on Mt.Hood in Portland, Oregon. Your thesis may focus on how the climate systems on Mt.Hood have been affected by climate change, specifically global warming and the effects of these changes. You may then create section headings like: The Geological Profile of Mt.Hood, The Climate Systems on Mt.Hood, The Recent Climate Changes on Mt.Hood via Global Warming, The Effect of Climate Change on the Local Economy, and The Effect of Climate Change on the Biology and Wildlife.
- Do not go overboard on section headings, as the annotated outline should be concise and to the point. Most annotated outlines are no longer than two to two and a half pages long, with double spaces between each section.
- For example, under one section heading, The Geological Profile of Mt.Hood, you may include two paragraph headings: The Glaciers of Mt.Hood and The Forests of Mt.Hood.
- For example, under one paragraph heading, The Glaciers of Mt.Hood, you may have this paragraph topic sentence: “The disappearing glaciers on Mt.Hood are clear examples of the effect of global warming on Oregon's highest mountain.”
- For example, under the paragraph heading, The Glaciers of Mt.Hood, you may use one supporting example from a recent geological survey of the largest glacier on the mountain, Eliot Glacier, showing how the glacier is receding. You may then also use a recent geological survey of Palmer snowfields, which was downgraded from a glacier to a snowfield due to significant receding of the glacier.
- Your content summary can be one to two lines that explain how the supporting evidence connects back to your thesis. For example: “The drastic receding of Palmer Glacier and the continued receding of Eliot Glacier both show how the rises in the Earth's temperature have caused substantial glacial melting and the loss of at least one key glacial body on the mountain.”
- You should then include a closing sentence that transitions from one paragraph to the next paragraph. This will help you ensure your paper flows well and moves effectively from paragraph to paragraph and section to section.
- A rephrasing of your thesis statement
- Concluding details
- A final line or clincher which reinforces your thesis
Creating an Annotated Outline without Citations
- You should also note any research that may be useful as supporting evidence for your paragraph headings. Identifying this before you dive into the annotated outline will save you time, as you will not need to flip through your research as you put the outline together.
- For example, your thesis statement for a paper on how the climate systems on Mt.Hood have been affected by climate change, specifically global warming and the effects of these changes may be: “Due to global warming, the local economy and the biology and wildlife of Mt.Hood are under threat and face possible extinction in the next fifty years.”
- From this thesis, you may then create section headings that will back up your thesis, or your paper's claim. For example: The Geological Profile of Mt.Hood, The Climate Systems on Mt.Hood, The Recent Climate Changes on Mt.Hood via Global Warming, The Effect of Climate Change on the Local Economy, and The Effect of Climate Change on the Biology and Wildlife.
- Attention grabber/ “hook”: “Oregon's highest peak, Mt. Hood is known for its pristine snow and icy blue glaciers. But the most well known volcano in the state is at risk of becoming barren and dry in the next fifty years due to global warming.”
- Preview of main points: “This paper will look at how global warming is negatively affecting the biology and wildlife on Mt.Hood, as well as the local economy that thrives on ski resorts and winter sports.”
- Thesis statement: “Due to global warming, the local economy and the biology and wildlife of Mt.Hood are under threat and face possible extinction in the next fifty years.”
- Evidence/supporting point 1: Past receding of Palmer Glacier and downgrade to snow field, relevant quotations from sources.
- Evidence/supporting point 2: Current receding of Eliot Glacier, relevant quotations from sources.
- Content summary: “The drastic receding of Palmer Glacier and the continued receding of Eliot Glacier both show how the rises in the Earth's temperature have caused substantial glacial melting and the loss of at least one key glacial body on the mountain.”
- Closing sentence: “However, the glaciers of Mt.Hood are not the only threatened climate area on the mountain, as the biology and wildlife in the forests of Mt.Hood are also being drastically affected by rising temperatures.”
- Evidence/supporting point 1
- Evidence/supporting point 2
- Content summary
- Closing sentence
- Rephrasing of thesis statement
- Concluding details on topic
- Final sentence/clincher
Creating an Annotated Outline with Citations
- You will then need to use MLA style or APA style to create a citation for each reference. You will use these references in your annotated outline as supporting evidence for each section.  X Research source
- You can also include additional information for each reference. This can be one to two complete sentences that sum up the main ideas in the reference and how they relate to a main idea in your paper.
- Evidence/supporting point 1: Past receding of Palmer Glacier and downgrade to snow field, relevant quotations from reference.
- Reference: Pacific Northwest Regional Assessment Group, 1999, Impacts of Variability and Change: Pacific Northwest , JISAO Climate Impacts Group / NOAA. The PNW Regional Assessment Group looks at the history of Palmer Glacier and how its mass has shrunk over the past twenty years. This reference also explores how global warming contributed to the shrinkage of Palmer Glacier.
- Evidence/supporting point 2: Current receding of Eliot Glacier, relevant quotations from reference.
- Reference: National Assessment Synthesis Team / US Global Change Research Program, 2000, Climate Change Impacts on the United States: Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change , Cambridge University Press. This reference discusses how climate change is affecting the climate of the United States, including the affect on glaciers in the United States.
You might also like.
- ↑ https://www.student.unsw.edu.au/annotated-bibliography
- ↑ https://penandthepad.com/write-annotated-outline-bibliography-5531471.html
- ↑ https://www.capella.edu/interactivemedia/onlinewritingcenter/downloads/handoutDevAnnotatedOutline.pdf
- ↑ https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/annotated-bibliography/
- ↑ http://chrismiller.cedarville.org/content/ruthout.pdf
- ↑ https://pitt.libguides.com/citationhelp
- ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/process/thesis/
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- ELA 2019 G8:M3:U2:L1
Write an Informative Essay: Analyze a Model
In this lesson, daily learning targets, ongoing assessment.
- Technology and Multimedia
Supporting English Language Learners
Materials from previous lessons, new materials, closing & assessments, you are here:.
- ELA 2019 Grade 8
- ELA 2019 G8:M3
- ELA 2019 G8:M3:U2
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Focus Standards: These are the standards the instruction addresses.
- RL.8.5, W.8.2, W.8.4, L.8.1a
Supporting Standards: These are the standards that are incidental—no direct instruction in this lesson, but practice of these standards occurs as a result of addressing the focus standards.
- RL.8.1, RL.8.2, RL.8.4, RL.8.10
- I can identify the parts of a model literary analysis essay and explain the purpose of each. ( W.8.2 )
- I can determine criteria for an effective literary analysis essay. ( W.8.2, W.8.4 )
- I can explain the function of gerund and infinitive phrases. ( L.8.1a )
- Opening A: Entrance Ticket
- Work Time A: Annotated, color-coded Model Literary Analysis Essay: Relationship of Structure to Meaning ( W.8.2, W.8.4 )
- Work Time B: Annotated Informative Writing Checklist ( W.8.2, W.8.4 )
- Work Time C: Selected and Constructed Response Questions: Gerund and Infinitive Phrases ( L.8.1a )
- Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 1
- Model Literary Analysis Essay: Relationship of Structure to Meaning
- Informative Writing checklist
- Read the Paint an Essay lesson plan to review the color-coding and purpose of each choice of color.
- Ensure there is a copy of Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 1 at each student's workspace.
- Review the anchor charts used in this lesson: Structure anchor chart and Characteristics of a Literary Analysis Essay anchor chart.
- Post the learning targets and applicable anchor charts (see Materials list).
Tech and Multimedia
- Work Time B: Convert the Model Literary Analysis Essay: Relationship of Structure to Meaning, and invite students to complete it in an online format—for example, http://eled.org/0158 .
- Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout previous modules to create anchor charts to share with families; to record students as they participate in discussions and protocols to review with students later and to share with families; and for students to listen to and annotate text, record ideas on note-catchers, and word-process writing.
Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 8.I.B.6 and 8.I.B.8.
Important Points in the Lesson Itself
- To support ELLs, this lesson includes scaffolded work with analyzing a model compare and contrast essay that uses the Painted Essay® format and analyzing the structure of texts. Students will consider the structure of Maus I and the way in which the author uses dialogue, chronology, and flashbacks to tell his father’s story. Students will participate in a mini lesson on the form and function of gerunds and infinitives and the relationships between words and phrases in sentences (L.8.1a, L.8.5b). The lesson includes collaborative discussion and familiar routines to help students navigate both the writing and language content and skills that they will encounter.
- ELLs may find it challenging to navigate the breadth of concepts and tasks presented in this lesson. Students will be exploring a number of things for the first time: structure in texts, a compare and contrast essay format that identifies similarities and differences in structure within texts, and the grammatical concept of verbals. Encourage students to consider all that they already learned that will inform their work in each portion of this lesson and refer back to content and concepts from Modules 1 and 2 where possible.
- gerund, infinitive (A)
(A): Academic Vocabulary
(DS): Domain-Specific Vocabulary
Paint an Essay lesson plan (for teacher reference) (from Module 1, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Work Time A)
Painted Essay® Template (one per student; from Module 1, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Work Time B)
- Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 1 (answers for teacher reference)
- Model Literary Analysis Essay: Relationship of Structure to Meaning (example for teacher reference)
- Characteristics of a Literary Analysis Essay anchor chart (one for display)
- Informative Writing checklist (example for teacher reference)
- Gerund and Infinitive Phrases anchor chart (example for teacher reference)
- Gerund and Infinitive Phrases anchor chart (one for display; co-created in Work Time C)
- Selected and Constructed Response Questions: Gerund and Infinitive Phrases (answers for teacher reference)
- Structure anchor chart (one for display)
- Homework: Gist, Theme, and Infinitive Phrases (answers for reference) (see Homework Resources)
- Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 1 (one per student)
- Model Literary Analysis Essay: Relationship of Structure to Meaning (one per student)
- Informative Writing checklist (one per student and one for display)
- Selected and Constructed Response Questions: Gerund and Infinitive Phrases (one per student)
- Homework: Gist, Theme, and Infinitive Phrases (one per student; see Homework Resources)
- Homework Resources (for families) (see Homework Resources)
Each unit in the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize students' understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.
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- How to Annotate
Where to Make Notes
First, determine how you will annotate the text you are about to read.
If it is a printed article, you may be able to just write in the margins. A colored pen might make it easier to see than black or even blue.
If it is an article posted on the web, you could also you Diigo , which is a highlighting and annotating tool that you can use on the website and even share your notes with your instructor. Other note-taking plug-ins for web browsers might serve a similar function.
If it is a textbook that you do not own (or wish to sell back), use post it notes to annotate in the margins.
You can also use a notebook to keep written commentary as you read in any platform, digital or print. If you do this, be sure to leave enough information about the specific text you’re responding to that you can find it later if you need to. (Make notes about page number, which paragraph it is, or even short quotes to help you locate the passage again.)
What Notes to Make
Now you will annotate the document by adding your own words, phrases, and summaries to the written text. For the following examples, the article “ Guinea Worm Facts ” was used.
- Scan the document you are annotating. Some obvious clues will be apparent before you read it, such as titles or headers for sections. Read the first paragraph. Somewhere in the first (or possibly the second) paragraph should be a BIG IDEA about what the article is going to be about. In the margins, near the top, write down the big idea of the article in your own words. This shouldn’t be more than a phrase or a sentence. This big idea is likely the article’s thesis.
- Underline topic sentences or phrases that express the main idea for that paragraph or section. You should never underline more than 5 words, though for large paragraphs or blocks of text, you can use brackets. (Underlining long stretches gets messy, and makes it hard to review the text later.) Write in the margin next to what you’ve underlined a summary of the paragraph or the idea being expressed.
- “Depending on the outcome of the assessment, the commission recommends to WHO which formerly endemic countries should be declared free of transmission, i.e., certified as free of the disease.” –> ?? What does this mean? Who is WHO?
- “Guinea worm disease incapacitates victims for extended periods of time making them unable to work or grow enough food to feed their families or attend school.” –> My dad was sick for a while and couldn’t work. This was hard on our family.
- “Guinea worm disease is set to become the second human disease in history, after smallpox, to be eradicated.” –> Eradicated = to put an end to, destroy
To summarize how you will annotate text:
1. Identify the BIG IDEA 2. Underline topic sentences or main ideas 3. Connect ideas with arrows 4. Ask questions 5. Add personal notes 6. Define technical words
Like many skills, annotating takes practice. Remember that the main goal for doing this is to give you a strategy for reading text that may be more complicated and technical than what you are used to.
- Revision and Adaptation. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial
- How to Annotate Text. Provided by : Biology Corner. Located at : https://biologycorner.com/worksheets/annotate.html . License : CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial
- Image of taking notes. Authored by : Security & Defence Agenda. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/8NunXe . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Table of Contents
Instructor Resources (available upon sign-in)
- Overview of Instructor Resources
- Quiz Survey
Reading: Types of Reading Material
- Introduction to Reading
- Outcome: Types of Reading Material
- Characteristics of Texts, Part 1
- Characteristics of Texts, Part 2
- Characteristics of Texts, Part 3
- Characteristics of Texts, Conclusion
- Self Check: Types of Writing
Reading: Reading Strategies
- Outcome: Reading Strategies
- The Rhetorical Situation
- Academic Reading Strategies
- Self Check: Reading Strategies
Reading: Specialized Reading Strategies
- Outcome: Specialized Reading Strategies
- Online Reading Comprehension
- How to Read Effectively in Math
- How to Read Effectively in the Social Sciences
- How to Read Effectively in the Sciences
- 5 Step Approach for Reading Charts and Graphs
- Self Check: Specialized Reading Strategies
- Outcome: Vocabulary
- Strategies to Improve Your Vocabulary
- Using Context Clues
- The Relationship Between Reading and Vocabulary
- Self Check: Vocabulary
- Outcome: Thesis
- Locating and Evaluating Thesis Statements
- The Organizational Statement
- Self Check: Thesis
Reading: Supporting Claims
- Outcome: Supporting Claims
- Types of Support
- Supporting Claims
- Self Check: Supporting Claims
Reading: Logic and Structure
- Outcome: Logic and Structure
- Rhetorical Modes
- Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
- Diagramming and Evaluating Arguments
- Logical Fallacies
- Evaluating Appeals to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos
- Self Check: Logic and Structure
Reading: Summary Skills
- Outcome: Summary Skills
- Quote Bombs
- Summary Writing
- Self Check: Summary Skills
- Conclusion to Reading
Writing Process: Topic Selection
- Introduction to Writing Process
- Outcome: Topic Selection
- Starting a Paper
- Choosing and Developing Topics
- Back to the Future of Topics
- Developing Your Topic
- Self Check: Topic Selection
Writing Process: Prewriting
- Outcome: Prewriting
- Prewriting Strategies for Diverse Learners
- Rhetorical Context
- Working Thesis Statements
- Self Check: Prewriting
Writing Process: Finding Evidence
- Outcome: Finding Evidence
- Using Personal Examples
- Performing Background Research
- Listening to Sources, Talking to Sources
- Self Check: Finding Evidence
Writing Process: Organizing
- Outcome: Organizing
- Moving Beyond the Five-Paragraph Theme
- Introduction to Argument
- The Three-Story Thesis
- Organically Structured Arguments
- Logic and Structure
- The Perfect Paragraph
- Introductions and Conclusions
- Self Check: Organizing
Writing Process: Drafting
- Outcome: Drafting
- From Outlining to Drafting
- Flash Drafts
- Self Check: Drafting
Writing Process: Revising
- Outcome: Revising
- Seeking Input from Others
- Responding to Input from Others
- The Art of Re-Seeing
- Higher Order Concerns
- Self Check: Revising
Writing Process: Proofreading
- Outcome: Proofreading
- Lower Order Concerns
- Proofreading Advice
- "Correctness" in Writing
- The Importance of Spelling
- Punctuation Concerns
- Self Check: Proofreading
- Conclusion to Writing Process
Research Process: Finding Sources
- Introduction to Research Process
- Outcome: Finding Sources
- The Research Process
- Finding Sources
- What are Scholarly Articles?
- Finding Scholarly Articles and Using Databases
- Database Searching
- Advanced Search Strategies
- Preliminary Research Strategies
- Reading and Using Scholarly Sources
- Self Check: Finding Sources
Research Process: Source Analysis
- Outcome: Source Analysis
- Evaluating Sources
- CRAAP Analysis
- Evaluating Websites
- Synthesizing Sources
- Self Check: Source Analysis
Research Process: Writing Ethically
- Outcome: Writing Ethically
- Academic Integrity
- Defining Plagiarism
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Using Sources in Your Writing
- Self Check: Writing Ethically
Research Process: MLA Documentation
- Introduction to MLA Documentation
- Outcome: MLA Documentation
- MLA Document Formatting
- MLA Works Cited
- Creating MLA Citations
- MLA In-Text Citations
- Self Check: MLA Documentation
- Conclusion to Research Process
Grammar: Nouns and Pronouns
- Introduction to Grammar
- Outcome: Nouns and Pronouns
- Pronoun Cases and Types
- Pronoun Antecedents
- Try It: Nouns and Pronouns
- Self Check: Nouns and Pronouns
- Outcome: Verbs
- Verb Tenses and Agreement
- Non-Finite Verbs
- Complex Verb Tenses
- Try It: Verbs
- Self Check: Verbs
Grammar: Other Parts of Speech
- Outcome: Other Parts of Speech
- Comparing Adjectives and Adverbs
- Adjectives and Adverbs
- Try It: Other Parts of Speech
- Self Check: Other Parts of Speech
- Outcome: Punctuation
- End Punctuation
- Hyphens and Dashes
- Apostrophes and Quotation Marks
- Brackets, Parentheses, and Ellipses
- Semicolons and Colons
- Try It: Punctuation
- Self Check: Punctuation
Grammar: Sentence Structure
- Outcome: Sentence Structure
- Parts of a Sentence
- Common Sentence Structures
- Run-on Sentences
- Sentence Fragments
- Parallel Structure
- Try It: Sentence Structure
- Self Check: Sentence Structure
- Outcome: Voice
- Active and Passive Voice
- Using the Passive Voice
- Conclusion to Grammar
- Try It: Voice
- Self Check: Voice
- Introduction to Success Skills
- Habits for Success
- Critical Thinking
- Time Management
- Writing in College
- Computer-Based Writing
- Conclusion to Success Skills
Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts
Types of Outlines and Samples
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This is the most common type of outline and usually instantly recognizable to most people. The formatting follows these characters, in this order:
- Roman Numerals
- Capitalized Letters
- Arabic Numerals
- Lowercase Letters
If the outline needs to subdivide beyond these divisions, use Arabic numerals inside parentheses and then lowercase letters inside parentheses. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.
The sample PDF in the Media Box above is an example of an outline that a student might create before writing an essay. In order to organize her thoughts and make sure that she has not forgotten any key points that she wants to address, she creates the outline as a framework for her essay.
What is the assignment?
Your instructor asks the class to write an expository (explanatory) essay on the typical steps a high school student would follow in order to apply to college.
What is the purpose of this essay?
To explain the process for applying to college
Who is the intended audience for this essay?
High school students intending to apply to college and their parents
What is the essay's thesis statement?
When applying to college, a student follows a certain process which includes choosing the right schools and preparing the application materials.
Full Sentence Outlines
The full sentence outline format is essentially the same as the Alphanumeric outline. The main difference (as the title suggests) is that full sentences are required at each level of the outline. This outline is most often used when preparing a traditional essay. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.
The decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline. The added benefit is a system of decimal notation that clearly shows how every level of the outline relates to the larger whole. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.
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- Knowledge Base
- How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips
How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips
Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.
Table of contents
When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.
You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.
The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.
Argumentative writing at college level
At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.
In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.
Examples of argumentative essay prompts
At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.
Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.
- Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
- Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
- Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
- Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
- Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
- Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.
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An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.
There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.
The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:
- Make a claim
- Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
- Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
- Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives
The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.
Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:
- Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
- Cite data to support your claim
- Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
- Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.
The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:
- Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
- Highlight the problems with this position
- Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
- Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?
This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.
Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:
- Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
- Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
- Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
- Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.
You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.
Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .
Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.
Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.
In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.
Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.
This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.
Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.
A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.
An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.
No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.
Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.
The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
- Ad hominem fallacy
- Post hoc fallacy
- Appeal to authority fallacy
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- Sunk cost fallacy
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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.
In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.
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Annotated Essay Sample
Annotated essays provide a detailed examination of a text, focusing on how the text works, the author’s ideas, and the way the text is organized. The purpose of an annotated essay is to help the reader understand the work and the writer’s ideas. This type of writing can be written by students in a college class, or in a literature class, but it is most often written by scholars working in a specialized field, like a history course.
What is the difference between a summary and an analysis?
A summary is a quick, general, and easy-to-read version of an annotated essay. Annotated essays arе written to provide more in-depth and specific information about a work, including thе author’s ideas and thoughts. Annotated essays provide a detailed analysis of a work, focusing on the main points and ideas. The purpose of an annotated essay is tо explain the text and its author in great detail and give examples and evidence to support the ideas. A summary is a concise version of an annotated essay, usually one to two pages in length.
Annotation: Annotated essays require students to read the text carefully and carefully, then carefully аnd thoughtfully to write an analysis. The purpose of an annotation is to give the reader more insight into the text and to make the work more complete. Annotated essays are usually written in response tо a text, but you can also write them independently.
Annotations are nоt just fоr reading. You can use them to improve your own writing and thinking, as well. Yоu can use your notes to help you make your own arguments or to challenge your own thinking. For example, you can write your annotated essay іn response to a text, оr you can use an annotated essay to help you think through a problem.
Annotations also can be helpful in your research process. If you are reading a text, you may want to use notes tо help you think through a problem. You can also use your notes to help you research the text, or yоu can use your notes to help yоu write your own research paper.
How tо write an annotated essay
An annotated essay is a type of essay that requires a student to examine, explain, and evaluate the work under review. The student must identify thе main ideas, characters, themes, and broader significance of a book, article , or other work under review. An annotated essay requires the student tо dо the following:
Annotated essays can take many forms. The student may be asked to focus on the main points of the text, provide an assessment of the text’s strengths аnd weaknesses, and explain hоw those strengths and weaknesses impact the work under review. An annotated essay may also require a summary of the text, including іts major points, and an assessment of how well the text develops those points. The student may be asked to evaluate how the work communicates meaning, including thе author’s intentions and the work’s effect on the audience.
What should be in аn annotated essay?
Annotated essays need a lot of things to be included. An outline is essential, аs is a thesis statement, examples, and references. Annotated essays also need an introduction, body, аnd conclusion. An introduction should include the background, a brief summary of thе work you are analyzing, and a statement of the main idea оf the essay. The body should contain examples, examples, and quotes that support your main point . The conclusion should restate your thesis, restate your main points, аnd tie everything together back to the main idea of the essay.
If you are asked to write an annotated essay, start by reading and paying attention tо the question and the instructions that arе given to you. Then, read the work you are being asked to analyze. Make notes of all the things that arе relevant to your main point. You will need to use the information you gathered during your reading and your notes to complete the work.
When writing your essay, make sure that you are familiar with the work and the question you are being asked to answer. The work you arе analyzing should be something that you can fully understand and explain. You may be given a short passage оr yоu may bе asked tо write аn entire paper. If you are writing an entire essay, yоu will need to be able to identify the main idea of your work and explain it to your reader.
The introduction is your chance to let your readers know what they are being asked to do and to give them an overview of the work you are working on. It should be brief and informative, sо that the reader knows what to expect.
An introduction should end with a thesis statement that clearly states the main idea of the essay аnd your position on іt. Thе thesis statement cаn be a single sentence, or it cаn be a sentence that states your position and then explains your position in the next paragraph.
An important part of the introduction is thе introduction hook . This is the part оf your essay that will grab the readers’ attention and make them want to continue reading. A good hook for the introduction is a question that the reader can easily answer. This question can bе a surprising fact or an interesting quote. The introduction should not bе a long one; it should be brief and tо the point. It should not contain аny nеw information or ideas.
How dо yоu write an annotated essay?
Annotated essays are written in a way that allows you to listen to, read, and understand the text being annotated. The text should be well organized, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. An introduction should present your position and provide a context for your essay . It should also include a thesis statement.
Body paragraphs should discuss the main points оf your paper, and should be supported by examples. Each body paragraph should include at least two ideas, each supported by at least two pieces of evidence. Each idea should have a clear supporting example. Each piece of evidence should be related to your central point. Each piece of evidence should have a clear, specific point of reference. Each point of reference should support your central claim. The conclusion іs a summary of your paper , and is the final word in your argument. It should restate your central claim, summarize your main points, and restate the conclusion.
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