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  Start Writing

Forming the Thesis Statement

At this point, you should have your research complete, and you should be ready to begin organizing your information. First, turn your research question into a thesis statement, which you will prove throughout your paper. A thesis statement is your key argument, which you intend to defend and prove through research. A good thesis draws a reader into your paper. The thesis statement is the road map for the reader. Remember, this is a research paper, not a report. A report merely describes a topic; a research paper describes a topic through the defense of an arguable statement. A research paper is an intellectual argument not a personal argument: therefore, you should not use possessive pronouns such as “I,” “me,” “you,” and so forth.

Example:


The research question was: What led Ernesto “Che” Guevara to become the dominant revolutionary of Latin American history? After doing my research, I have concluded that Che’s experiences with poor workers as a medical student, specifically on his tours around Latin America, are what led to his revolutionary beliefs and encounters with other revolutionaries and their revolutions.

The thesis statement is:


Ernesto “Che” Guevara was thrust into a revolutionary life by witnessing the hardships of the people he encountered on his motorcycle trips through Latin America as a young man.

Examples of poor thesis statements:

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was a Latin American revolutionary.

The image of Ernesto “Che” Guevara has become a worldwide icon.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was a major participant in the Cuban Revolution.

Examples of good thesis statements:

Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s revolutionary activities in Guatemala, Cuba and Bolivia qualify him as a major Latin American revolutionary.

The success of the Cuban revolution would not have been possible without Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s participation.

The image of Ernesto “Che” Guevara as an icon, representing the struggle of the underprivileged, developed out of his revolutionary philosophy and activities.


Use the THESIS STATEMENT and OUTLINE GENERATOR , THESIS STATEMENT CREATOR , or the THESIS GENERATOR to get the “wheels turning.”

Writing a Preliminary Outline

The outline is the foundation of the paper/project. If you have researched your topic thoroughly, the outline should come easily. Students have trouble with the outline if they do not have enough information. Every paper is going to have an introduction, conclusion, and body paragraphs in between, so that is where you begin. If you are a more visual learner, you may want to create a Web diagram before transferring the information into outline form. The rough draft will be written from this outline so the more details you have, the easier it will be to write the rough draft; thus include quotes, paraphrases and a reference to your note-cards. Be sure to save often as you type and in multiple locations i.e. hard drive, CD, travel drive, or schoolfusion, etc.

  I. Introduction
         Time -- 1950s
         Place -- Latin America
         Significance/importance -- Che is a cultural icon of mythic proportions
         THESIS: Ernesto “Che” Guevara was thrust into a revolutionary life by witnessing the hardships of the
         people he encountered on his motorcycle trips through Latin America as a young man.

         Transition statement to main body of paper
  II. The history of Latin America illuminates the issues that led to such a rift between the rich and poor.


          A.     Economic history

                        1. cash crop dependency
                        2. dependent industrial development

        B.     Political history

                        1. cycle of stability & instability
                        2. history of inequitable political/military power
                        3. the military coups-- change governments

        Transition Sentence: This dependence on the industrial world was the climate that Che experienced as a child and 
        young adult.

III. Che Guevara was acutely aware of the lack of medical care for the poorest in Latin America, as a 
      medical student this struck him as cruel and unusual punishment secondary only to the poverty.

       A.     leper colony

       B.     United Fruit Company hospital

        Transition sentence: Che found that poor health was often the result of poor working Conditions.

  IV. Che came to realize throughout his travels that the exploitation of labor was an area in need of  
      reform.

       A.     United Fruit Co. workers

       B.     Copper mine in Peru
       
       Transition Sentence: The brutal working conditions, low pay and inability to improve those conditions through
       labor unions led to grinding poverty.

   V. The brutal poverty he witnessed was difficult to understand coming from an affluent family.


       A.     Guatemala

       B.     Florida

      Transition sentence: Che’s motorcycle trips brought him into contact with other people who were working with 
      revolutionary causes.

   VI. Che’s introduction to Ricardo Rojo will alter his course in life forever.


      A.     The Arbenz government & coup & resistance-history

      B.     Che’s role in Guatemala

      Transition sentence: Guevara’s flight from Guatemala to safety in Mexico led to his involvement in the Cuban
      revolution.

   VII. The Cuban revolution was an attempt like other Latin American revolutions to bring economic and 
      social equity to the most oppressed people.

      A.     Fidel Castro’s role in Cuban revolution

       Transition Sentence: Fidel Castro’s vision for Cuba sparked Che’s Humanitarian spirit.

   VIII. Che was a prominent figure in both the revolution and the new government that followed.

        A.   Che’s positions in post-revolutionary government
        
      Transition Sentence: Although, he left Cuba to pursue his Pan-America Plan, Che left a imprint on Cuba that is
      still tangible today, fifty years later.

   IX. Conclusion : Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s personal contact with the oppressed led him to a career in revolutions.

 .        Connect Che’s role(s) with earlier experiences.

Writing the Rough Draft of the Research Paper


Using your outline, begin to tie the content together into complete sentences. Plan to have the rough draft complete one full week before the final draft is due. This will give you time to reflect, proofread, edit, and polish the paper. Save all your work as you type, and save the paper in at least two places each time you add anything (i.e. hard drive, flash/travel drive, email it to yourself, schoolfusion; even printing a copy is better than nothing). Teachers to do not accept excuses such as "my printer failed ... my computer crashed ... or the dog ate my pen drive." BE PREPARED!

Writing the Introduction:

The introduction gives the reader a preview of your paper. It is general information that gives the reader an overview of where you intend to go in your paper. This is the reader’s first taste, so you want to entice him or her to read your paper through the introduction. Introductions have a specific format for presenting information. They include the time of the event, the place of the event, the thesis statement, the significance of the topic, and finally a transition sentence (this can vary) to the body of the paper. The introduction may also include background on the topic that is necessary for your reader to know before reading the thesis statement.

Sample Introduction:

Ernesto “Che” Guevara has become a pop culture icon. Even in the United States, tee- shirts with his stern face and star-clad-beret appear in the mainstream. Where most North Americans know little of Che’s background, Latin Americans nearly worship him as a liberator (significance/importance). From an affluent Argentinean family, Che had every opportunity to live comfortably. Yet, he chose to purposely educate himself among the poor on an annual motorcycle trip through Latin America (place). The poor of Latin America suffered from the brunt of inconsistent governmental policy. Che’s motorcycle tour in the 1950s (time), while still in medical school, allowed him to encounter the conditions brought about by inequitable economic, political and social government policies. It was the inequitable condition of the common person that sparked his revolutionary beliefs. Ernesto “Che” Guevara was thrust into a revolutionary life by witnessing the hardships of the people he encountered on his motorcycle trips through Latin America as a young man (thesis). Che’s stories of the oppressed and exploited are tragic and tug at the heart strings of even the most callous man (transition sentence).

After you complete your paper, you will rewrite the introduction and choose the best draft of the two.

Writing the Body of the Paper

The body of the paper is where you expose the reader to the evidence that supports your thesis. You will prove your thesis in this section of the paper. The body of the paper is written in your own words, so be careful not to copy from any of the sources. Like the introduction, each body paragraph has a specific format. Each paragraph needs a topic sentence that outlines what the paragraph contains. Research at this level includes primarily secondary sources and a few primary sources; therefore, you must give credit to the authors of the sources from which you gathered evidence. This is referred to as “citing” sources. There are three ways to cite a source in the body of your paper. If your class assignment sheet does not specify, ask your teacher which type they prefer.

Remember, text citations must correspond to the works cited page at the end of the paper. This is how your teacher will check your sources.

When is it not necessary to include a citation?
If information can be found in three different common sources (not three different internet sources), it is considered “common knowledge” and does not need a citation.
Examples:
There are 365 days in a year.
George Washington was the first president of the United States.

Writing the Conclusion

The conclusion is the final paragraph. You should design the conclusion toward the goal of bringing the paper to a natural and graceful end. Do not introduce new content in the conclusion. Try one of several techniques:

Restate a paraphrased version of the thesis with a summary of your best information without the exact wording you used in the main body.

Answer the essential questions posed by your thesis statement in the introduction.

Make a thought-provoking prediction or recommendation about your topic. A prediction states what will or may happen in the future, and a recommendation suggests what should or could be done about a situation or problem.

Example:

With these stories of Che's kindness to the poor and sick swirling round and round year after year and becoming embellished as they go, Che has become an icon reaching mythical status. His care for the sick, his empathy for powerless workers, and his horror at so much poverty propelled him into revolutionary movements. Whether these movements were successes or failures, whether the post-governments were images of his philosophy, Che hoped for a united Latin America where the masses had a better life. As the gap between the rich and poor grows around the world, Che’s image will continue to spread amongst the poor and disenfranchised. Educating future leaders of America about Che’s life will aid in understanding his appeal.

Click here to download a handy outline template!