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Strategies for Developing Support
Good arguments are structured around clear reasons in support of the thesis (or claim), and each reason needs specific evidence to serve as grounds or backing for that reason. This guide specifically focuses on developing support for reasons, or using the language from the Guide to Development, this guide focuses on developing Secondary Supports for Primary Supports.
1) Make sure that each paragraph presents ONE reason in support of the position.
e.g. I support _______ because ________________________ .
e.g. I support continuing funding for the space program because it helps our economy.
2) Examine closely what each Primary Support (REASON) is asking you to support. Then list your Secondary Supports.
Ways this is true-- (Secondary Supports)
1) it provides jobs
2) it stimulates innovation in products
3) it helps America be a leader in exporting technology around the world
For each Secondary Support you list, find some specific, detailed support
to back it up.
e.g. Secondary support with detail:
One way the space program helps the economy is by providing jobs. For instance, NASA alone employs thousands of workers in Texas and Florida, and this does not even count all the jobs provided by space contractors all over the country.
Strategies for Collecting Data to Develop an Essay's Support
Before beginning these strategies, you should have a good sense of your Subject, Essay Question, and Thesis (or your answer to the essay question). You should also have a good idea of the Primary Supports or Reasons you will use to support your Thesis. See the other guides on Arriving at a Thesis and Brainstorming to Define Reasons for help getting to this point.
Strategy #1: Textual Evidence Sheets
This strategy asks you to devote a separate page for each Reason and find textual evidence for that particular Reason. State the CLAIM/THESIS + REASON at the top of the page to make sure you stay anchored in the most important part of the essay--your thesis.
Then you will write down quotes from the text that you believe show, demonstrate, illustrate, or prove that your Reason is true or valid. For each bit of textual evidence, you will also write an explanation for how that quote is working to support the reason.
Strategy #2: Data Sheets
Another strategy is to create scrap pieces of paper to record your thinking on each part of your paper and gather "data." What is "data?" Data includes any information from your reading and research that supports your thinking. By sorting your data gathering according to your Primary Supports, you will find it much easier to write your draft using this evidence for support in your paper.
To do this strategy on your own via a computer, open the MS Word Template for making your own data sheets. You can certainly do this exercise with scratch piece of paper. See THIS example of data sheets done correctly. (See student example)
When you are ready to write, you can use each data sheet as the raw material as you develop each body paragraph devoted to the different Reasons. You'll find that by gathering data you have done most all the heavy lifting for writing your paper. Donald Murray says that writers should write from an abundance of information, and these data sheets are a strategy you can use for gathering this information. When writing from multiple sources, data sheets can be important tools to help you sort information from these different sources into categories of support.
Example Data Sheets:
The following example shows a student set of data sheets. They are not an idea example because the student has not label the data sheets as I recommend. The labels have been added above.
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