Your friend gives you a set of directions to her house. She even writes the directions down for you. The directions are clear and understandable. Although you have been to the area before in some form or another, maybe a trip to the mall or to buy groceries, you still need direction to her house. As you leave the house, get into the car, and begin to drive down the road, you follow your friend’s directions.
You don’t change lanes on the freeway until it is time to do so according to the directions. However, when you get off the off-ramp, you don’t take the first exit off the freeway. Instead, you decide to go a different direction to her house, not knowing ahead are blocks and dead ends that even your friend doesn’t know. After going around the mulberry bush, you exclaim, “If only I had followed her directions. I would be there by now.”
This is what happens when you begin your paper. Since you set the tone for your paper, you also set the direction. You start out good with a thesis, and begin to drive down the road with your paragraphs. All looks good in the mirror, at the beginning of the task of writing. You don’t change lanes; you continue to stay on point by using the most appropriate examples.
When it is time to get off the freeway, you do so by signaling; you make transitions by using the appropriate transitional words. However, instead of continuing down this path of following the directions and the instructions of your thesis, you veer off onto another road and onto another path by inserting a contradictory idea, concept, and/or quote.
With this scenario in mind, within your thesis are references to the topic of your paper, its relationship on a larger scale to topics within the same arena, what you plan to discuss, and the method you will choose to accomplish the goals of your thesis. In other words, the thesis is power-packed with many elements, but with a single purpose: to serve as the guide.
The thesis tells you where to go and where to get off; what doesn’t fit and what you will need to include. The thesis is the major force of the paper and because it serves a powerful role, the topic, included within the thesis, is also a light in darkness. What you do with the topic will demonstrate your own perception and will determine the perceptions of your readers.
Therefore, stick with the topic as if it is your friend. Be loyal to your topic. Don’t bring in foreign matter that doesn’t belong there; don’t bring in anything that may pose a danger to the topic’s credibility, foundation, or potential impact. Be nice to your topic. Like it. Don’t betray it.
Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.