The continuous process of tweaking and refining

Writing 39C
Sarah Hanson-Kegerreis
General Feedback for AP Draft 2
Use my comments on the to guide your revisions for the AP, paying attention
both to global and local aspects. That detailed feedback should give you a good basis for what to
look out for as you revise, even if youre not directly repurposing those sections in the AP.
Refine your thesis Statement, and present your thesis early in the paper (first or second
paragraph) Your thesis statement does a lot in the paper: it lays out the central aspects of your
argument, it provides a direct response to the prompt, and it clues your reader into the specific
solutions and efforts youll be addressing in the body of the paper. Its important that you
provide your thesis statement to your reader early so that they have a clear idea of your argument
and what to expect in the rest of the paper. Your thesis statement will likely need to be 3-4 (or
even more) sentences long for the AP. Further, bring in specifics and detail into your thesis. For
instance, if youre advocating that a certain bill or policy should be passed, use the specific name
of the bill or policy in your thesis.
Remember that your thesis should be one of the last things you revise before submitting
your paper its a continuous process of tweaking and refining from the working thesis
to the final version.
On a related note, avoid using the passive voice in the thesis statement. Use the active
voice to avoid obscuring the people or organizations that implement or propose the efforts youre
addressing. Who or what organizations carry out these efforts, exactly?
If you feel like your paper is more a list of efforts than an argument about those efforts,
consider how you might categorize the efforts further. Do you have some short-term and
long-term efforts, for instance? Or are some of your solutions dealing with on-the-ground
responses to the problem, while other efforts address the larger cause of the problem? Or, are you
comparing efforts that are in practice now with efforts that are in development? Framing the
efforts, youre addressing in these ways might help you to put everything together into an
argument. You can also think about the efforts in terms of the argumentative strategies from the
AGWR (causation, cost/benefit, feasibility, and so on).
If youre arguing for a combination of efforts, make sure you explain why this particular
combination is effective. How do these particular solutions or efforts address the pitfalls,
limits, or drawbacks of the other effort(s) youre proposing?
Continue to think about how you present your analytical reasons behind the solutions and
efforts youre discussing. Why are you focusing on these particular solutions and not others?
Make sure you clue your reader into your reasoning. You could do this by framing your
discussion through the argumentative strategies from the AGWR, by emphasizing the effects of
the efforts, or by thinking about how various stakeholders are affected.
Pay special attention to your paragraph structureespecially your topic sentences and
wrap-up sentences Use these to frame each paragraph and to tell the reader how the
information in each paragraph relates to your overall argument.
Ill make another plug here for reverse outlining. The guides for this are on Canvas
under the Writing & Style Guides section.
Watch out for vague statements about how people have thought about the topic Im often
seeing statements like people continued to question the or people have continued to
wonder or Some have taken a different approach The problem with these statements is
theres usually a more precise way to say what you mean. Who are these people, exactly?
(governmental agencies, politicians, marine ecologists, economists, psychologists, etc.).
Give time stamps as you present your sources/solutions Dont forget to be specific when
youre talking about dates. What years are these efforts from, and/or when did the authors
publish their study or report? When was this bill or policy proposed, and what is the projected
timeline? What does the date tell us about the source and how it fits in to your argument?
Avoid unnecessary hedging All academic writers hedge, but Im seeing some hedging that
you could cut out from the paper in order to provide a more confident argument. Statements such
as seems to be or appears to be often come up naturally as youre figuring out what exactly
you want to advocate/argue for. I recommend cutting down on hedging when youre presetting
your argument (in the thesis statement), in particular. A good place for hedging, though, could be
in the conclusion, where you point to larger possibilities or implications.
Provide detailed captions for all visual modes (images, infographics, maps, charts, tables,
etc.). Since youre taking these visual modes from a different source (and from a different
rhetorical situation) its important for you to use the caption to tell your reader how you want
them to interpret the information in that map or chart for the purposes of your specific argument.
You should also attribute the visual mode to its source in the same caption.
Link your visual modes to your discussion in the main text. When referring to tables and
graphs from within the text, you can use numbered figures:
Clauses beginning with as: As shown in Table 1, As Figure 2 displays,
In parentheses at the end of the sentence: Each for three nutrients
(Figure 1).
Writing Style
Improve the flow and concision of your draft by reading it out loud More concise writing
would strengthen your paper and would help you communicate your points more clearly to the
reader. Tighten wordy sentences; eliminate repetition and . Read
your writing out loud to spot these issues. See Williams on Concision for more strategies for
concise writing.

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