PHIL 295- Caribbean Philosophy
SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING YOUR ANALYTICAL ARGUMENTATIVE PAPER
Your paper is expected to be a- an analytical paper and b- a position paper or argumentative paper, a reasoned defense of a thesis. It is not a research paper. It is a paper where you take and explain a point of view. Before writing your paper you should be able to state in a single short sentence precisely what you want to prove (your thesis).
1- Make sure you understand the nature of the assignment.
2- Objectify your thoughts before doing any research (your thoughts will need to be studied, elaborated and rearranged later on). Explore what you think about the problem and make preliminary notes. It can be useful to use relatively small pieces of paper and to put down just one thought on each. (If you use your computer you can use a new page each time you write down a new thought). That way it will be easier to write your outline later on by re-arranging these pages in a logical order. What do you think about the topic? What troubles you about the topic? What do you find interesting or confusing about it? What do you want to say? How would an opponent respond? Can you think of any examples that could highlight your concerns?
3- Begin your search for potential sources. Look first to your class readings (bibliography, list of recommended readings or footnotes will point you to other sources).
4- Get your sources together. Get a small collection of relevant articles, read them carefully, then critically reflect upon them and cautiously select the quote(s) you want to use. Do not rely too heavily on quotations.
5- Write an outline
How do you want to present your arguments? What are the most compelling arguments? The outline helps you formulate the logical structure of your paper. Sketch out your ideas and connect them to each other.
6- Write a first draft. Your essay will typically have an introduction (a statement of your thesis or position) a fully worked out body (an exposition of argument(s) with proper documentation of source), and a conclusion (a final statement of the thesis, together with a brief summary of how you have reached it). Keep in mind that it is essential that you include a brief statement of your thesis at the very beginning of your paper. Then lay your paper aside for a while.
7- Prepare for the final draft: revisit and revise. You can then return to your paper with a more objective point of view. You can see what you may have missed or what need to be rewritten or deleted or on the contrary further defended.
8- Run a spell-check program and manually proofread your paper. Once your paper is finished read it over to look for poor transitions, unconnected paragraphs, logical errors or incoherence in the flow of your argument.