i uploaded the requirement example and the worksheet.

plz fill in the blank also

the article is : Urban oil wells linked to asthma and other health problems in Los Angeles, from The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/urban-oil-wells-linked-to-asthma-and-other-health-problems-in-los-angeles-160162

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020


ENGL 101: Introduction to Writing (2021 SP)

Professor: Shine Hong

(Course pack writer: Melinda Dewsbury)

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 1

Module 1.



© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 2

Expectations of Academic Writing

 It is formal.

 It has accurate grammar and vocabulary. It uses complete sentences.

 It is not usually a 5 paragraph essay!

 It follows all of the rules of formatting, such as margins, font, indented paragraphs, and page


 It does not require long, complicated sentences.

 It demonstrates your level as a scholar.

 It includes a lot of citations and references.

 It requires your own voice and your own thinking.

 It presents your argument directly and provides clear evidence.

 Different kinds of essays (genres) have different expectations.

 Different kinds of essays require different cognitive tasks.

 Each discipline has its own style and expectations.

What to avoid:

First person (I/me/my) unless you are writing a personal response.

Second person (you/your)

Contractions (don’t/can’t/won’t, he’s, they’re…)

Slang and informal expressions

Passive voice (“The problem was started by activists.”)

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 3

Sample of Academic Writing

Non-indigenous environmental activists are recognizing the rightful place of First Nations at the

forefront of environmental fights. As activist Dave Ages (Unist’ot’en Camp) has said, expressing why

non-indigenous activists are rallying behind First Nations leadership, these environmental fights are

happening in First Nations territories, but their fights are all of our fights (Interview, September 2014).

While perhaps these allegiances were in the past partially instrumental, there is now a deep intertwining

of First Nations’ indigenous rights struggles and environmental fights in BC. This is partially due the

decades of intimate sharing of struggle and growing incorporation of indigenous rights within the

environmentalist agendas. It is also at least as much due to learned strategies of First Nations leaders for

maintaining their leadership of these collaborations by requiring participating NGOs and individual

activists to commit to indigenous leadership as a precondition for participation (Frost, 2018). These

strategies are exemplified by Unist’ot’en Camp (Huson & Toghestiy (Wet’suwet’en), Interview, May

2014), the Lelu Island occupation (Brown, (Tsim-shian), 2016), the Burnaby Mountain WatchHouse in

southern BC (George, (Tsleil-waututh), 2018) as well as the stance held by the Skeena Watershed

Conservation Coalition in relationship to their collaboration with various Gitxsan houses (Shannon

McPhail, interview, August 2015). Progress has been made in both attitudes of environmentalists

toward First Nations and institutional structures for indigenous leadership, but there still exist tensions

in many instances between some environmentalists’ and First Nations’ objectives. These protocols of

sovereignty recognition serve to both structurally maintain First Nations leadership and educate

environmentalists on environmental justice and indigenous rights.

Excerpt from p. 138:

Frost, K. (2019). First Nations sovereignty, environmental justice, and degrowth in Northwest BC, Canada.

Ecological Economics, 162, 133-142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.04.017


© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 4




© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 5

What Is an Article Review?
The Miriam Webster Dictionary defines review as “a critical evaluation.”

The Cambridge Dictionary says, “If critics review a book, play, film, etc. they write

their opinion of it.”

Therefore, when you review an article (or anything else), you are offering your

opinion, the positive and negative points about it.

In University

Your professor might assign you to write a review of an article or book from your class. If you are

taking media courses, you may write a review of a film or album. In theatre classes, your

professor might want you to review a play or performance. Reviews are common assignments.

The principles we learn here can apply to any kind of review.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 6

Writing the Article Review

 You need to provide the full bibliography of the text or piece you are reviewing. This is often

presented at the top of the page in regular APA format for a reference.

 An alternative is to embed it in the text, like this:

In her article, “Why ‘domestic’ work is a global issue”, Emily Rauhalla (2011) argues that…

Your introductory paragraph should be short (3-4 sentences in total). Here is the information you should

provide in the introduction:

 the author’s full name and his or her background/credentials

 the general topic of the article/book (A sentence like, “The article explores the lives of foreign

domestic workers, such as nannies”).

 the author’s perspective, bias, and/or basic outlook on the topic (OR this might appear in the

summary section. Do not put it in two times). An example is “The author provides an economic

perspective on the topic.”

At the end of the introductory paragraph, write your own thesis statement. This sentence basically

states your opinion of the piece, your overall rating. The thesis statement for an article review is

different from other kinds of thesis statements. Here are some features.


 not your opinion on the TOPIC (such as what you think about using foreign labour) but on

the quality of the article or the author’s argument

 Do NOT say something like

“I agree with Rauhala when she says that domestic work is wrong.”

 Present your opinion of the relationship between the strengths and weaknesses of the

article. Which is more significant?

 Use evaluative language (for example, adjectives such as well-argued, poorly-supported,

fallacious, concrete, intriguing, provoking…)

 Use your sentence structure to represent how the positive and negative are connected.

Thesis Structure: [Although] + less important, SVO (more significant).

Although Rauhala uses specific countries as illustrations, her discussion is weak because…

Although Rauhala perpetuates a cultural bias, she presents a clear argument…

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 7


 Do NOT just say “some strengths and some weaknesses”

Although Rauhala has some good points, her argument is a little weak.

 Make sure your reader knows what you consider to be strong or weak so BE SPECIFIC

Although Rauhala writes persuasively about a very worthy topic, her argument is weakened

by her absence of strong evidence and by perpetuating the myth that Asian women are

domestic servants.

 Type the heading Summary on the left hand side.

 Summarize the “gist” of the text only. First, tell the author’s thesis or main idea.

 Then, show your reader how the author/speaker unfolds the message. As you summarize,
guide your reader. Remember that he/she may not have read the actual text before. You are
responsible to recreate the meaning. Use the author’s name frequently along with reporting
verbs such as begins, continues, asserts, explains, illustrates, suggests, concludes, compares,
contrasts, adds to, expands… This helps to convey both WHAT the text says as well as HOW the
author/speaker created it.

 Do not include examples or details of any kind.

 Usually, the summary should be no more than 1/3 the total paper length.

Type the subheading on the left hand side of the page. What you call this part depends on what your

professor wants you to do. The main part of your review can take several forms, depending on the

assignment itself. If you are not sure what to do, ask your professor. Here are some common terms

your professors might use.

Analysis/Evaluation/Critical Interaction/Discussion

 breaking the reading down to examine main ideas thoroughly

 judging and evaluating the ideas for their meaning, significance, relevance, bias, and logic

 examining the kinds of evidence and use of evidence

 discussing agreement or disagreement with the ideas


 examining the article as it compares with theory/concepts learned in class

 often comparing and contrasting what you’ve read with a certain perspective (for example,

a biblical view)

Personal Response

 drawing connections to your own experiences or making comparisons (such as cultural


 explaining your own thoughts on the topic or your reactions to the article

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 8


Write a very short concluding paragraph. Sometimes the conclusion is a personal response. Sometimes

the conclusion offers a recommendation or a statement of the usefulness of the article (such as “This

article provides a basic starting point for understanding the topic of domestic work”).

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 9

Writing a Gist Summary

You might be nervous to write a summary. How can you take so many pages and complex ideas and

condense them into one page or less?

 Keep in mind that the reasons for a summary are 1) to show the professor that you read the

article/book and 2) to give readers background to understand your evaluation. Therefore, you

don’t have to try to include every idea.

 Rather, your job is to capture the author’s argument – its shape, its logic, and its main


 To do this, do not try to write a point by point summary. Have you heard the idiom, “you can’t

see the forest for the trees?” You will find too many ideas that you might miss out on the actual

argument. Your summary will sound more like a list.

Try to understand the argument by making an outline or a visual map.

1. What is the purpose? To argue, to give information, to express or entertain? In academic

contexts, readings are usually to argue or give information.

2. What kind of argument is it? Cause and Effect? Problem and Solution? Compare and Contrast?

Inductive or deductive? Process? If you figure out the kind of argument, you have figured out

the basic organization and you are ready to make a map or diagram.

3. Instead of finding every main idea, figure out the main ideas that form the overall argument. If

the article is problem-solution, identify the author’s ideas on the root of the problem, and the

corresponding solutions. If the article is reporting inductive scientific research, find out the

methodology and the kinds of information collected, and then summarize the conclusions.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 10

Writing Concisely
You don’t have to list everything, such as every chapter or every part of a theory. However, it is a good

idea to give a couple of examples just to create the “gist.”

 Use words like “such as” and “some” to indicate that you are not listing everything.

The author explains how problems such as superstition contribute to the orphan problem.

 Use the colon to introduce lists or details.

SVO: list or explanation

Smith presents several case studies: a family living in poverty, a single mother with AIDS, a

father whose wife died in childbirth, and children orphaned by the earthquake.

 Use subordination rather than coordination to connect ideas. Avoid using and, and, and. Try

using after, since, although.

After SVO, SVO.

After he explains the purpose of his book, Smith explains the concept of childhood.

 Use ING clauses:

ING + simple past + that + SVO, author name (S) VO.

Having argued that all children have the right to a family, Smith adds that…

Noun, ING + noun, VO.

This book, combining personal narratives with psychological studies, delivers a strong argument.

 Use with:

With + noun phrase, SVO.

With detailed narration, Smith paints a picture of childhood in Haiti.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 11

Review Paragraph Pattern

Start with your assertion, which should include your basic evaluation and the key word for your

topic or category. Explain in another sentence or two. Provide a “quotation from the article” or some

specific information or details. Be sure to signal this by saying something like “In the article, [author’s

name] states.” The quotation and/or details are your evidence to prove your point. Next, use a signal to

show that you are evaluating. The signal should be an evaluative word or term, such as “strong” or

“credible” or “unconvincing.” Then explain why you think this. If you need to give another example

from the article, add that layer. Then signal and explain your evaluation of it. You may or may not need

to add a conclusion sentence. Add one if you feel that your ideas need to be re-stated simply.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 12

Personal Response Paragraph Pattern

Start by stating the key word/issue you want to respond to and a key word that shows your

response. Give a quotation or specific details directly from the article. Then signal that you are going to

respond by using I/me/my. An example is “In my own journey” or “This reminds me of …” Explain

your response at a specific level. Your response could be emotional (to the situation), intellectual (to

the idea), spiritual, or comparative (to something in your own life or to another situation, theory, or

article). Be sure to refer to key words from the quotation. Add a concluding sentence if you feel that you

need one.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 13

Vocabulary for Writing a Review
Consider whether you want to evaluate or just describe.


This book gives a lot of details. Is this good or bad? Do you like this?


This book is provoking in its use of details. This tells your opinion of the details.


Creativity Quality Depth Process Writing Style Status/Importance

Unusual Useful Simple Careful Elegant Significant

Ambitious Competent Thorough Exploratory Verbose Insignificant

Innovative Remarkable In-depth Preliminary Repetitive Important

Intriguing Impressive Brief Tentative Redundant Influential

Provoking Well-written Detailed Conclusive Logical Notorious

Enlightening Strong Basic Inconclusive Interesting Famous

Standard Satisfactory General Traditional Well-known

Original Successful Modest Fluid Little-known

Ordinary Powerful Descriptive

Traditional Limited Confusing

Out-dated flawed Clear

Refreshing weak

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 14


Success/Failure Action/Change Logic Question

Succeeds Urges Forwards Probes

Fails Demands Asserts Questions

impresses Calls for Suggests Wonders

empowers Complains Claims Explores

Weakens Laments insists hypothesizes

Strengthens Warns Contends

Hesitates Deplores Concedes

Confuses Condemns Concludes

Clarifies criticizes Generalizes

Misses the point provokes Overgeneralizes

Ignores Simplifies

Struggles Oversimplifies


© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 15

Tips for Writing a Strong Review
 Make it clear what ideas come from the book/article. To do this, use phrases like

“Rauhala points out…”

 Make it clear what ideas are your own. Ask your professor for preference about tone. Can you use

“I” or does the professor want you to be very formal?

 If you can use first person, you can write signals such as

“I was confused about…” or “I found Rauhala’s discussion convincing.”

 If you cannot use first person, use phrases like

“However, Rauhala misses the point” or “The author’s point is well stated.”

The evaluative words signal that you are offering your critique.

 Weak:

She uses examples from different countries.

 Better:

Rauhala enriches her argument by illustrating the situation of domestic servants from different

countries, such as Cambodia, Jordan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

 Description:

Rauhala refers to Human Rights Watch as evidence.

 Evaluation:

Rauhala gives credibility to her argument by referring to well-known and respected organizations

such as Human Rights Watch and the International Labor Organization.

These are all good options for organizing the review portion of your paper. Check the assignment to see

if your professor asks for anything specific.

a. chronological (your points following the order of the book or article)

b. importance (choose greatest to least or least to greatest)

c. positive/negative (devote one section to positive analysis and the next to critique

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 16

Module 3.


© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 17

What Is Research And Why Do You Need It?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary states that research is:

1. careful or diligent search

2. studious inquiry or examination

 especially : investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and

interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of

new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws

3. the collecting of information about a particular subject

THUS, when we research, we carefully and thoroughly look for information and examine it. We use the

information to make a theory or to discover something or to apply it.

We need to research in order to DISCOVER new knowledge and PROVE what we think.

In scholarly work, our own ideas are valuable but ONLY if we explain, develop, explore, and prove them.


1. Choose and examine a topic.

2. Identify a question about your topic that you want to answer.

3. Read everything you can find to get a thorough answer to your question.

4. Collect your findings together and look for patterns.

5. Organize your findings into categories and consider how these categories connect to one

6. In each category, what does your research show you? What does it mean?

7. Begin to write. Interact with the research findings to show your readers what you
discovered. The writing should be a combination of your own voice and thoughts with the
research that helped you find those ideas.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 18

Topic Development
Always check your syllabus and any additional handouts from your professor. Follow the instructions

carefully, and ask your professor questions if you are not sure. Do NOT rely on what your friends tell


If your professor has given you an open-ended topic, your next step is to spend time brainstorming,

exploring, and analyzing a topic.


1. Ask yourself, “What am I passionate about?”

2. Brainstorm how a topic could be addressed from any academic discipline or perspective

(marketing, economic, socioeconomic, demographic, management, leadership, art, music, pop

culture, media, historical, psychological, environmental…) This might help you narrow your

interests and exclude categories as well.

3. Enter your basic topic idea into a Google Image search. Sometimes an overview of images will

give you ideas and inspiration.

4. Enter your basic topic idea into a search on TedTalks. Browse the findings and listen to some of

the speeches to help you think of new questions and ideas.

Once you have chosen a topic and have some ideas, begin to explore ways to narrow it. A research topic

should not be too broad.

Do you want to narrow to a

specific demographic group

(gender, age, culture…)?

Is there a specific group of

people you are interested in?

Do you want to narrow to a

specific problem or event?

Do you want to focus on a

current issue? A historic

situation? Or do you want to

look at changes over time?


It is essential to narrow to a specific

context because problems differ greatly

according to place. You should not try to

look at women’s issues all around the

world, for instance. What country do you

want to examine? Do you want to narrow

it further to a specific city or region?


Do you want to

limit your research

to investigating

one particular

cause or effect?


Do you want to look at

solutions? Do you want

to research a specific kind

of solution (such as

economic, policy-making,

medical, or educational)?

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 19

Developing a Research Question

A research question guides you. It keeps you from being distracted or getting off-track. You start to read

your research to find the answer to your question.

A research question needs to have enough depth to lead you in writing a whole essay.

 It should NOT ask about a specific fact, such as “How many people died in the wildfires in


 It should NOT ask something that is trivial, such as “What did Emma Stone wear to the Golden

Globe Awards?”

 It should NOT ask something too broad and idealistic, like, “What is the best way to have world


 It should NOT ask something obvious, like, “Is nuclear war dangerous?”


 What is the correlation between ____ and _____?

 What is the relationship between ____ and ____?

 What are the effects of ____ on _____?

 How does ____ impact _____?

 What are the underlying causes of _____?


Before you begin reading and looking for answers, what biases do you have that might interfere with

your search? Try to challenge yourself to read all kinds of perspectives, even ones you disagree with.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 20

What Is Evidence?
As you look for answers, you will begin to form conclusions and ideas. The research informs what you

think and it also provides your EVIDENCE for why you say what you say.


 Experts – provide theories, knowledge, and interpretation

 Philosophers – provide ways of thinking

 Researchers – provide specific studies along with details of their methodology, sample group,

findings, and data

 Data and Numbers – provide measurements so that you can provide evidence rather than just a

perception or belief

 Maps – provide spatial information and comparisons over time

 Primary sources – provide records of the way of life and real experience of individuals at a specific

time (includes court documents, historic documents, letters, diaries, business documents, emails,

speeches, policy and government documents)

 Testimony – provide stories of experiences from people who actually lived the situation

 Images/photographs/video – provide physical documentation

 Interviews – provide direct answers to questions about a specific situation

 Scientific evidence – provide facts derived from inductive work (such as chemical analysis and

biological processes)

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 21

Finding Research: Information Literacy


 Do NOT type your whole research question into a search bar

 Do NOT type your whole thesis or detailed topic into a search bar

 Use a basic Google search or Wikipedia JUST to get an overview of the topic and write down

important vocabulary to help you search

 Brainstorm KEY WORDS and continue to add to your list as you find more.

Consider general concepts

Consider synonyms

Consider different perspectives

Consider different word forms

Consider different combinations

Consider related words


 Ask the librarians for help. They will help you learn to use the databases, find useful key words, and

even help you with your research.

 Request books and articles. If our library does not have it, they can find it for you. (There is a fee for

this service and you must plan ahead).

 Use the Library Onesearch, which will search through books, articles, media, and ebooks. This

should be your first place to look.

 You might need to find your research in pieces. For example, you might not find THE PERFECT article

that says exactly what you want. You might find a little bit here and a little bit there. Remember

that you are reading to DISCOVER so focus on learning new things.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 22

 Follow subject headings and links to categories that fit your search. The categories that pop up may

give you ideas for how to limit your topic.

 Remember to click on “full text” and “peer reviewed” to narrow your results

 Save or email the articles to yourself and include the citation format you need. This will provide the

bibliography all ready for you. (Note: You may need to make small format changes as the auto-

bibliographies are not perfect).


 Do not rely on the internet. Use the library databases as your main search.

 Try different combinations of search words

 Access the internet via the TWU library. On the library homepage, look for “Additional Search

Tools.” You will see links to Google Advanced and Google Scholar. By linking when you are logged

into the TWU library, you will gain access to documents that will otherwise require payment.

 Look for major news publications such as The Economist, The Guardian, New York Times, Forbes, and

Globe and Mail.

 Look for major research and statistical firms such as Ipsos, Gallup, Statistics Canada, any national


 Use university websites which often include published research and journals from their faculty or

from university institutes and centres

 Do not use blogs and corporate articles unless they are relevant to your paper. For example, it you

are talking about the impact of blogs, it would be relevant to quote from blogs. If you want to learn

about the attitudes of youth towards a certain issue, you might want to read some social media

discussions from youth to gain an understanding from their real dialogue.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 23

Checklist for Evaluating Sources


 Popular sources include magazines that you normally find in stores, such as

Woman’s Day, People, Chatelaine, Canadian Living. You don’t find scholarly journals at Superstore

or Walmart. Scholarly articles are found in journals, not magazines.

 Popular sources are well-known in the general public. For example, although wikipedia is useful

for your own personal interests, it is not a good site for your academic work.

 Popular sources are sometimes published weekly or daily. Check to see if the date includes day,

not just month and year. Scholarly sources are usually published quarterly (four times per year) or

sometimes monthly. They usually include a volume number (and sometimes an issue number).

 Popular sources are sometimes written by popular or famous people such as celebrities or

television journalists. If you are not sure about the author, ask your professor. The most

important information to check is the author’s background. Find out the author’s educational

background, other books he/she has written, and associations he/she belongs to.

 Popular sources often use first person, second person, slang, idioms, humour, personal stories,

and letters. They might include long descriptions. They might use a lot of questions and

exclamations. Scholarly sources may use first person, but more often they use third person. They

use formal vocabulary and grammar. They never use exclamation marks.

 Academic sources usually use references to studies and experts. There is usually a bibliography. If

a website looks academic but does not include a bibliography, it is not a good one for your

university research.

 Scholarly sources usually refer to studies, statistics, theory, and history, and they reference the

authors and researchers who contributed this knowledge. Popular sources may use statistics, but

they often do not tell you where the statistics come from. Beware of articles that say “Research


 If the source is from the internet, use your critical thinking skills to analyze .com sites. Use .edu or

.gov or possibly .org

 If the source is from the internet, look at the visuals. If there are a lot of pictures, graphics,

emoticons, cute visuals, and bright colours, it is likely not academic. Remember: academic sites

usually look boring!!

 If the source is from the internet, follow links. Look at the homepage and the About Us links.

Look at who sponsored the site (at the end in small print). Look at when the page was last

updated. If it is not recently updated, it may not be a very good site. Look at what else the site is

connected to. Do not use it if the website is promoting a product or service.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 24


This is usually found at the beginning of a book and at the end of an article, or at the front of a journal.

Publishers’ websites often have bios or their writers. You can also find out by searching for the author’s

name in the library, on databases like EBSCOHost, or on the internet. Look at what other things he/she

has written to find out what topics and perspectives he/she usually discusses. Also look at the names of

journals to find out any potential bias.

 What is his/her education?

 What is his/her experience?

 Is he/she associated with any organization, publication, university?

 What is his/her perspective?

 What is his/her bias? Does this bias affect the trustworthiness of his/her work?


Try to use information published within the last 10 years, with the exception of classical works and

“pioneers” in the field. Unless you are studying a topic historically, use only very recent statistics. For

natural, applied, and social sciences, research should be very recent.


It should not be so difficult that you cannot use it responsibly.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 25

Credibility Ratings: Critical Thinking about Research


1 Popular source for self-help or entertainment

2 Personal story, testimonial, or narrative (blogs, magazines, pop culture books)

3 News article, magazine article, article from a professional organization; may include

research but reported in journalistic or less formal style

4 Scholarly source but written for average reader; includes references and

scholarly research such as studies, statistics, and reports.

5 Scholarly source written for advanced academic work; includes references and scholarly

research; written in very formal style, with long sentences and difficult vocabulary. This

level is written for experts in the field.

In most academic writing, only use levels 3-5. You might use level 2 in some kinds of essays, as people’s

real life experiences and testimonies can provide valuable evidence and interesting examples. This is

more common in journalistic writing than in academic writing.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 26

Research Essays: Overview

Your essay should NOT be just a list of the information you found. It should not be a collection of

information (like a Wikipedia page). Your essay should present your argument, which you developed as

you looked for the answer to your research question. The parts of the essay should work together to

reveal your argument.

Your introduction should be approximately ½ page or a little more. The purpose is to warm up the

reader and present your thesis statement. You should NOT provide background, history, or evidence in

this paragraph. Your thesis should appear at the end of the introduction. Your thesis is a statement that

summarizes your whole argument.


The length of this paragraph will vary depending on what you need to define or how much background

you need to provide. This paragraph includes research. NOTE: In some courses, you may be asked to

write an “argumentative essay,” which requires you to provide “opposition points.” You can sometimes

use the A=B paragraph for this purpose.


The length of this paragraph will also vary. Here, provide background information on the specific

issue/country/group of people that you are going to focus on. This paragraph includes research.

The body of your essay will require many paragraphs. Remember: this is NOT a 5 paragraph essay! Each

paragraph needs to build connections to the thesis and show how the research proves what you have

discovered. Each paragraph should include multiple citations and layers of research evidence.

The concluding paragraph is usually fairly short, perhaps 5 sentences in length. Restate your argument in

a fresh way. You do not need to repeat all of your points or sections. Do NOT offer solutions,

suggestions, or recommendations in this kind of essay. Sometimes you can discuss some of the

limitations of your research. You may wish to end with a strong sentence that leaves the reader thinking.

However, do not use a “wonderful” sentence (such as “As the government pays more attention to this

problem, the country will be a wonderful, happy place.”).

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 27

The Thesis Statement

When you are drafting your thesis statement for any kind of research paper, it is important to consider

all of the following features. A strong thesis:

 Limits the topic – a specific topic, appropriate to the essay length, with necessary limitations

Consider: specific group of people, age, place, time, condition, situation, type

 Unifies the parts – take one side (avoid talking about both advantages and disadvantages)

unless your question asks you to examine both

 Develops an opinion – may be strongly stated (such as “should”) or may be created simply

by the connections you make.

To test for opinion, ask yourself, “would everyone agree?” If the answer is “No,” then you have


 Considers a specific perspective – generally, don’t look at multiple perspectives but

rather limit to one

 Lists your roadmap – not essential but very helpful. The roadmap may be in a separate

sentence following the thesis. It includes at least three categories, but depending on the length of

the essay, could include more. The roadmap helps your reader predict your organization (how you

will categorize your evidence). It’s kind of like an index to your essay.


From a ___________ perspective, specific topic + your opinion + connection to another concept


From an anthropological perspective,

orphan care in Haiti

must focus on nurturing

because complex cultural patterns continue to put children at risk


abandonment, desperation, imprisonment, and slavery.

1 2 3 4

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 28

Background Paragraph

In a research essay, in a section immediately after your introduction, provide your A=B paragraph.

The A=B paragraph could provide:

 An overview of the history of your topic, such as the different perspectives and opinions on the

issue. (This is sometimes called a Literature Review, or “Lit Review”).

 Key definitions

 A definition of your perspective, also called a premise. For example, “All children have a right to

a family.” The paragraph would then explain or argue for family as a basic right and explain why

family is so crucial for human


The next paragraph moves to a more specific level. It focuses on your actual topic. For example, “The

orphans in Haiti need families.” The rest of the paragraph would then provide:

 Background facts, numbers, and other information of the situation you will analyze, such as the

number of children who are orphaned, the different kinds of orphans, and the number of

children who live on the streets.

 A summary of the situation, such as a story or chronology of the last two decades of the orphan

situation in Haiti.

 The specific perspective or definition that you will follow, such as the value of nurturing in child


© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 29

The Ladder of Abstraction




 Most paragraphs move from general to specific, building onto each concept (most common

academic pattern).

 Research follows the ladder from top to bottom – from general research earlier in the paragraph

to more detailed evidence later in the paragraph

 Introductions move from the top down.

 Conclusions move from the middle up.

 Examples fall at the bottom of the ladder.







© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 30

Research Paragraph Pattern

Begin with your assertion, which should include your thesis key words and your paragraph key

word. Explain this assertion in further detail in another one to two sentences. Introduce general

research support, “Give your quote or paraphrase or evidence” (Citation, Year). Transition. Give your

discussion of the research and connect to your key words. Introduce more specific support, “Give your

quote or statistics or factual details” (Citation, Year). Transition. Give your discussion and connect to

your key words. Introduce your very specific support, “Give your quote or specific details of the case or

story” (Citation, Year). Transition. Give your discussion and connect to your key words. At the end, you

may or may not want to add a concluding statement in your own words.


General: Expert comments, theoretical ideas.

Middle: Findings of a research study, statistics, factual information.

Bottom: One person’s experience or one specific event to illustrate.

You might organize each paragraph following this general guide, or you might have multiple paragraphs

that organize your evidence in this way.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 31

Integrating Research

1. Introduce the quote, summary, or paraphrase. You can do this in different ways:

 Give the source (name or title) and a verb such as:

writes describes highlights suggests argues

explains illustrates emphasizes reveals asserts

** Vary the reporting verb throughout the paper and make sure that the verb you choose

accurately reflects what the original author was doing and/or saying

 Use a transition word or expression to connect to your previous sentence.

 Put the quotation inside your own sentence. For example,

When parents are faced with the reality that they can only feed two of their five children, they
“are forced by desperation to make a choice that might seem unacceptable to an outsider”
(Smith, 2010, p. 71).

2. Don’t forget documentation! Remember that all research must have a reference, even if you

are just using a general idea, a term, or an example. You do not need to document “common

knowledge” such as well-known historical events, fairy tales, and widely-known facts. If in doubt, it

is best to provide evidence and documentation.

3. Add a transition. Consider what you want to do with the research. Do you want to restate it,

emphasize it, add to it, explain it, agree or disagree with it…? This transition shows the reader how

YOU are interacting with what you found. This is what makes your essay an essay and not an


This means/ shows/ reveals/ highlights /indicates/ clarifies

In other words

It is clear that

Clearly, then,

For this reason,

With this in mind,

4. Explain from your own perception and thought what you think of the research, why it is

important, how it relates to other points, or how it relates to your main point. Use key words to

make connections. Use a key word from the quote plus a key word from your paragraph to put the

two pieces together.

In explaining and discussing, do NOT use first person (I, me, my) or second person (you, your) in

research papers.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 32

Module 4.



© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 33

What Is Exegesis?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, exegesis is:

“critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture”

Thus, it focuses on understanding a “text,” which means some kind of oral or written

communication. It does not evaluate the quality of the text. It does not give personal response to

the text. The focus is on explaining or interpreting the text. In other words, you should ask

yourself, “What does it mean? What does it show me?”

You can use the patterns we learn in this paper to write papers in your RELS courses but also for

analyzing things like poetry, novels, and speeches.





© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 34

The Cognitive Task: Analyzing Biblical Narratives

Here are some questions to guide you. In exegesis, there are no right or wrong answers. However, your

ideas must have evidence in the text itself.

1. What is the genre?

2. What does the story tell you about the characters? For example, did they act like heroes? Did

they make mistakes? Did they obey or disobey God?

3. What does the story tell you about humanity in general?

4. What does the story tell you about God?

5. What does the story tell you about the culture at the time?

6. What is the theme of the story?

7. How can we apply this story to our life today?

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 35

Writing the Exegesis Essay

Provide a brief introductory paragraph (3-4 sentences). Catch the reader’s attention and narrow to your

thesis. Focus on the biblical character or theme that you will analyze, or focus on the common topics of

the biblical book. Do not make general statements like “I agree with what the Bible says” or “The Bible is

important.” These are empty statements. In fact, avoid using first person in this essay.


The thesis comes at the end of the introduction. Use this model:

Biblical passage shows/reveals/highlights + BIG IMPRESSION

through ________, ________, and ________.

(evidence from biblical passage)

Here’s an example:

Genesis 1 and 2 reveal God’s omnipotence through the act of creating, the systematic method of

creating, and the goodness of all creation.



Provide a paragraph to give background to your analysis. This might include what is known about the

historical context (when the story takes place and/or when the book was written), who the author is

and what his/her perspective is, the biblical genre, and what has been happening in the book before

your text.


Transition to your BIG IMPRESSION. You can do this as one sentence at the end of your A=B paragraph

or you can do this in a separate paragraph if you have more to say. Make sure you add your key word.

Do NOT restate your thesis or roadmap (too repetitive).

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 36

Analysis (Body Paragraphs)

Write three or more paragraphs to interpret the meaning of the text. Follow your roadmap from your

thesis. Make sure you connect each paragraph to your BIG IMPRESSION. Your evidence all comes from

the text itself, so direct quotes are essential.

Remember that an exegesis focuses on the direct meaning of a biblical text. It does not discuss the

theme on its own. For instance, if you want to emphasize that Genesis 1 and 2 emphasize God’s

omnipotence, your essay should prove this and stick to the text. You should not talk about God’s power

in other situations, or what it means to be creative, or the importance of the natural world. Your essay is

a textual analysis.

NOTE: Sometimes your professor will ask you to do a line-by-line analysis. This means that you explain

each sentence of the passage step by step. If you write this kind of exegesis, your thesis will be only the

first part of the pattern:

Biblical passage shows/reveals/highlights + BIG



Write a short conclusion (3 sentences). Your conclusion often explains how the meaning of the biblical

passage is relevant today. Sometimes you give a personal response. Always check your professor’s

instructions. You might end your essay with a phrase or key word from the biblical passage and your BIG


For example, I could end my essay on Genesis 1 and 2 like this:

God “said” and then he “saw” what He had made, and it was all good. His presence and His power of

speaking creation into existence reveals His omnipotence.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 37

Sample Exegesis Outline


Matthew 18:1-6 reveals the importance of humility through Jesus’ ironic answer to the disciples’

question, his calling of a child, and his emphasis on caring for children.



This is an eyewitness testimony of Matthew, one of Jesus’ disciples. It is set in the context of the ancient

world, in which children did not hold a high place of importance. In fact, Jesus says that the child has a

“lowly position” (Matthew 18:4 NIV). In various biblical descriptions of the life of Jesus, the men are

counted, but the women and children are seen as extras.


However, Jesus’ view was different: he placed children at the top. This emphasizes the difference

between earthly and heavenly values of power and humility.


In Jesus’ day and to much the same extent today, human beings wanted to know about power,

but Jesus used irony to surprise them, emphasizing how “greatness” comes from humility. In Matthew’s

account of Jesus’ life, the disciples ask him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (New

International Version, 1973/2011, Matthew 18:1). They want to know about how power would be

organized in heaven. Ironically, Jesus responds that heaven is not about power but about humility. He

says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the

kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself and becomes like this child is the greatest in

the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4). The word “change” is significant. As human beings grow

older, they inevitably lose the innocent faith of childhood and assimilate into their society’s levels,

standards, and expectations of power and success. However, Jesus shows his disciples that the kind of

“greatness” they expect, as adults, is not the same as the “greatness’ in heaven. His ironic answer

highlights that becoming humble is most important.

© Melinda Dewsbury, 2020 38

The Exegesis Body Paragraph

ASSERTION: Bring in your new key word for the paragraph and connect to your BIG IMPRESSION.

EXPLANATION of your idea in your own words

EVIDENCE: Introduce the context of the quote, then provide the biblical quotation and the citation
(where it is found in the Bible). Quotations (rather than summary/paraphrase) are most important.

Add a transition word and DISCUSS the quote in your own words or with research. Pull out the key
words from your quote and explain what they show you. Connect to your assertion.

If you wish, provide another layer of EVIDENCE (another quote to analyze) and DISCUSS it.

CONCLUDE with a clear sentence if you need to. If your paragraph has naturally concluded from your
discussion, avoid being repetitive.


Isaiah’s prophecy reveals that sound leaders must learn to control their pride. In other words,

this passage emphasizes that leaders must not get caught up in the greatness of their abilities so that

they lose focus on the work that needs to be done. A prideful focus can lead to one’s fall from

leadership. The prophet Isaiah discusses this consequence in reference to prideful kings in Israel:

You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God…I

will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are

brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. (New International Version,

1973/2011, Isaiah 14: 13-15)

Therefore, kings who believe they can be better and more powerful than God face consequences, and

could end up being “brought down” as leaders. From Isaiah’s perspective, instead of focusing on their

greatness, leaders should be humble and serve others. By replacing pride with humility, one can earn

respect in a position of leadership.

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