Concept of Unity Discussion Paper
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Concept of Unity Discussion Paper
Body Paragraph Strategies
If the introduction sets up your paper’s thesis, and the thesis makes the claim, the duty of the body paragraphs is to prove the claim.
There are many different ways to prove your claim, but let’s first start by looking at the structure of a body paragraph because no matter what kind of proof you are using, it is likely that all body paragraphs will use some of these major writing strategies to help the reader feel grounded and make the paragraph feel organized.
Concept of Unity
In English 100 and 101, we talked about the idea of “forecasting”. This means you want your reader to know where you are going. The main way we do this is with topic sentences.
A topic sentence tells the reader what part of the thesis the paragraph will prove. It typically comes as the first sentence of a paragraph.
There are times when this is not the case, but it may be best to get in the habit of placing it there since this strategy can never go wrong. Let’s look at a couple topic sentences from the course readings.
This is a body paragraph from the article, “Labels for GMO Foods are a Bad Idea.” Scientific American, 1 Sep. 2013.
It’s not hard to tell from the title of this article what the main thesis is or what it is arguing. Here is a body paragraph.
Antagonism toward GMO foods also strengthens the stigma against a technology that has delivered enormous benefits to people in developing countries and promises far more.
Recently published data from a seven-year study of Indian farmers show that those growing a genetically modified crop increased their yield per acre by 24 percent and boosted profits by 50 percent.
These farmers were able to buy more food—and food of greater nutritional value—for their families.
The topic sentence I have highlighted in bold clearly connects to the main thesis and it sets up the evidence to follow. A common error in body paragraphs is that
students feel that the evidence speaks for itself and they don’t set it up enough. This may be true in some cases, but eventually your reader will start to feel lost and unguided through all the evidence.
We want them on a clear path the whole time.
Sometimes topic sentences refer to the paragraph above to create a transition. The transition if often the last sentence in a body paragraph, but the topic sentence can also connect paragraphs and make its main point.
Let’s look at two more paragraphs from the same article.
Many people argue for GMO labels in the name of increased consumer choice.
On the contrary, such labels have limited people’s options. In 1997, a time of growing opposition to GMOs in Europe, the E.U. began to require them.
By 1999, to avoid labels that might drive customers away, most major European retailers had removed genetically modified ingredients from products bearing their brand.
Major food producers such as Nestlé followed suit. Today it is virtually impossible to find GMOs in European supermarkets.
Americans who oppose genetically modified foods would celebrate a similar exclusion.
Everyone else would pay a price. Because conventional crops often require more water and pesticides than GMOs do, the former are usually more expensive.
Consequently, we would all have to pay a premium on non-GMO foods—and for a questionable return. Private research firm Northbridge Environmental Management Consultants estimated that Prop 37 would have raised an average California family’s yearly food bill by as much as $400.
The measure would also have required farmers, manufacturers and retailers to keep a whole new set of detailed records and to prepare for lawsuits challenging the “naturalness” of their products.
Here we can see that the topic sentence (s) references the example in the paragraph above, and introduces the author’s next point.
We can also see that a topic sentence does not always have to be just one sentence. Here two short sentences are used for rhetorical effect.
So, topic sentences may have elements of transition as well, but let’s look at an example of a transition sentence used in a more typical place, to conclude the body paragraph.
Let’s look at a couple of paragraphs from the article:
Thomas, Scarlett. “The Great Chick Lit Conspiracy.” Contemporary Literary Criticism, edited by Jeffrey W. Hunter, vol. 210, Gale, 2006.
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However, despite the identity it covers and the join-the- dots plots, almost everyone you ask in commercial publishing says—at least publicly—that chick lit is not formulaic, exploitative or cynically produced.
In fact, it is almost a conspiracy. It is virtually impossible to find anyone prepared to criticize the genre other than Beryl Bainbridge (who notoriously labeled it “froth”). Jenny Colgan says that comments like those from Bainbridge imply that “young women are too stupid to a) write books and b) read them”.
The author Matt Thorne agrees. “People who are dismissive of chick lit are misogynistic and elitist,” he says. “Chick lit is a perfectly acceptable genre, no different from ‘literary fiction’.
The best writers in the genre are producing some of the best writing around today.”
Some suggest that because chick lit is a wholly female enterprise, it is virtually feminist. Dr Stacy Gillis, an expert in gender and popular fiction from Exeter University, rejects this. “Frankly, chick lit is not feminist but backlash.
It serves to reinforce traditional categories of sex and gender divisions while appearing to do the opposite.” Or to put it another way, books that are for women, by women, but actually about searching for Mr. Right are never going to be feminist. And criticizing them is anything but misogynistic.
Chick lit is not just bad for the reader—it is bad for the author too.
Many chicks lit authors are little more than assembly-line workers, as one publisher put it. “The ideal commercial fiction author is someone who delivers one book and then goes on to keep writing, well, not exactly the same book again and again, but certainly one that’s very similar.” Knowing how controversial these realities are, this publisher, like several I talked to for this piece, asked not to be named.
These paragraphs demonstrate two principles. They show how the concluding sentences in a paragraph usually sum up or restate the paragraph’s main points and how the concluding sentences often transition us into the next paragraph.
Look how well the last two sentences of the prior paragraph work together with the topic sentence of the next paragraph. They flow smoothly into each other suggesting the connection of the ideas of feminism and the means of production.
We should all strive for our body paragraphs to flow together so nicely.
So, we have talked about what happens at the beginning and end of a body paragraph, but what is typically in the middle? In the middle of a body paragraph is usually the evidence.
Strategies to Develop Paragraphs—Proving Your Point
Analyze Texts • Present Data • Tell Narratives or Anecdotes • Define Terms • Make Comparisons
There are many different types of evidence in a paper. The type of evidence you use will generally depend on the paper’s purpose.
In English 101, we explored papers whose purpose was to analyze a text. If the goal of your paper is to analyze something, then the evidence in your paragraphs will likely be observations from the thing you are analyzing.
For example, let’s take a paragraph from the following article:
Shaham, Inbar. “Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister: A Romantic Comedy within HBO’s Game of Thrones.” Mythlore, vol. 33, no. 2, Spring/Summer 2015, pp. 51- 73.
Indeed, as in Deleyto’s definition, the main theme throughout Brienne and Jaime’s journey to King’s Landing is their budding relationship.
Numerous shots in their story include the two of them facing a third party, or facing each other in shot-reverse-shot pattern. Even when one is interacting with someone else, quick glances at the other’s reactions are given (for instance, when Lord Bolton tortures Jaime with a slow rendition of bad news about his family, short shots depict Brienne’s reactions).
When one is missing, the other talks to a third party about the missing one (Jaime negotiates Brienne’s ransom with Locke; Qyburn tells Jaime what will happen to Brienne in Harrenhal).
In other words, their story has a central ingredient of romantic comedies: a focus on a pair of characters and their evolving rapport.
Despite the considerable presence of elements featured in adventure stories, such as fearsome obstacles and extreme physical hardship, the tale mainly
concerns their interpersonal relationship. They are ‘in it together’ and the gazes that pass between them accumulate meaning as they accumulate shared adventures. The rest of the characters are there to test their bond and provide them with joint or mutual challenges.
If you took English 101 at National, you’ll notice the same structure we discussed in this body paragraph. The evidence here follows the Observation, Inference, Explanation form.
The main proof of the author’s point are scenes from the show. The author goes on to infer from those scenes connections he makes about the genre of romantic comedy. So, if your paper analyzes something, much of your proof will come from the object you are breaking down. Most of you, however, for this paper, will likely write an argumentative paper. Arguments, you may also recall from ENG 101, often use Aristotelian strategies:
Ethos: statements on credibility • Pathos: appeals to emotion • Logos: logic, facts and statistics
Logos: Data and Statistics
Of these Aristotelian appeals, Logos is often the most prevalent in academic writing as academics strive to be logical and rational.
Many of you will be dealing with subjects that are highly technical in nature, and data and statistics will be a big part of your arguments, if you are in a logic and data-centered field.
In these fields, the thing that matters the most is the depth and quality of data. So, if your paper is primarily research-based and in data-driven fields, then most of your body paragraphs will use nothing but Logos. Let’s look at an example.
Ghemawat, Pankaj, and Steven A. Altman. “Is America Enriching the World at Its Own Expense? That’s Globaloney.” The Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2017.
Turning to immigration, first-generation immigrants make up about 14 percent of the U.S. population. The United States ranks
27th in the world on this metric—above average, but nowhere near the top.
And yet Americans tend to think there are far more immigrants in the United States. On average, Americans estimated that 33 percent of the country’s population was born abroad in a 2015 survey conducted by Ipsos Mori.
U.S. respondents were even further off the mark in a 2013 German Marshall Fund study, guessing on average 42%—three times the correct answer. Interestingly, simply telling respondents the actual level of immigration into the United States cuts the proportion who think there are too many immigrants in half.
As for the standard refrain that immigrant are to blame for the loss of American jobs, mainstream economists agree that technology has cost far more jobs than has immigration or international competition.
It’s not hard to see here that this paragraph proves its point with facts and statistics. This lines up nicely with the article’s goal of trying to disabuse its readers of various commonly held feelings they might have about what is “true” or not. As you can see, these authors (and likely their field) value data over belief.
This is not to say that authors never use appeals to emotion mixed with data, especially in persuasive arguments. The following paragraph from the article on GMO foods we cited above primarily uses data, but data that certainly pulls on the heartstrings.
To curb vitamin A deficiency—which blinds as many as 500,000 children worldwide every year and kills half of them— researchers have engineered Golden Rice, which produces beta- carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.
Approximately three quarters of a cup of Golden Rice provides the recommended daily amount of vitamin A; several tests have concluded that the product is safe. Yet Greenpeace and other anti-GMO organizations have used misinformation and hysteria to delay the introduction of Golden Rice to the Philippines, India and China.
Yes, this paragraph cites numbers, but it is hard not to think of the poor blind children behind those numbers. Whether you are pulling the heartstrings or not, it is important that when you use data, statistics, or facts that you make sure they are credible. You can mention the source of your facts in the paper itself to help build up
your ethos as an author, or you can cite the sources according to the citation conventions of your field.
Narrative or Anecdote
In some fields like counseling or education the personal stories of people are going to be of great importance, so sometimes the proof in a body paragraph is a narrative.
Let’s take a look at an example. In this article, the authors use real examples of situations that happened to nurses to exemplify possible conflicts in using social media.
Spector, Nancy, and Dawn M. Kappel. “Guidelines for Using Electronic and Social Media: The Regulatory Perspective.” Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, vol. 17, no. 3, 2012, pp. 11-1.
In yet another case where there was no original intent to harm (NCSBN. 2011e), a student nurse wanted to remember the 3- year-old pediatric patient she had been caring for who was receiving chemotherapy for leukemia at a children’s hospital.
She took his photo, with his room number visible in the background. She then posted his photo on her Facebook® wall for friends to see, writing about how brave her patient was and how proud she was to be a student nurse.
This student, like many who are naive about social networks, did not realize that others can access posts even when appropriate privacy settings are in place. In this case, someone forwarded the information to a nurse at the children’s hospital who then contacted her supervisor.
Since the nursing program had a clear policy about students not breaching confidentiality and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations (U.S.
Department of Health & Human Services. 20121. the student was expelled from the program. Further, the nursing program was not allowed to come back to the children’s hospital for pediatric clinical experiences and the hospital faced HIPAA violations.
Body paragraphs are also used to define terms for the reader. If your audience might not understand certain technical terms of a concept that is central to your argument, you might need to define them. Here is an example.
Stael, Sally. “Treating Opioid Addiction.” National Review, vol. 69, no. 4, 6 Mar. 2017, pp. 26-29.
Neonatal addiction is just one facet of America’s opioid crisis, which now claims the lives of between three and four people every hour. The term “opioid” refers to narcotic prescription medications, such as oxycodone (the narcotic in Percocet and OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin), as well as heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, which is 25 to 50 times as potent as heroin. In 2015, more than 35,000 Americans died of overdoses (13,000 from heroin, 9,600 from synthetic opioids, and 12,700 from prescription pills)—nearly equal to the number of deaths from car crashes.
Make a Comparison
Another strategy to prove your point in body paragraphs is to make a comparison or analogy. Here is an example from the field of Allied Health.
Levine, Benjamin D. “Should ‘Artificial’ High Altitude Environments Be Considered Doping?” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, vol. 16, no. 5, Oct. 2006, pp. 297-301.
However, athletes sleeping in a hypoxic tent, with the intent at least in part to increase endogenous production of erythropoietin, present an image that makes some in the sporting community uncomfortable. Therefore, WADA has turned its attention to these devices to determine if they meet the criteria for placing this method on the Prohibited List for 2007.
In doing so, they convened a panel to help clarify the meaning of the ‘‘spirit of sport.’’ Although the attempt to clarify the concept of the ‘‘spirit of sport’’ is laudable and indeed critical for WADA to fulfill its mission, unfortunately the ethics committee report has a number of serious problems.
Most critical of these is the argument that it is the ‘‘passive’’ use of the high-altitude simulation that constitutes the most egregious violation of the spirit of sport. As discussed below, this concept is based on false premises which undermine the conclusions of the committee. An analogy which I call the ‘‘flat earth’’ premise illustrate this problem.
For example, if an ethics committee was convened in the early 15th century in Europe to determine if it was ethical for a company to send a ship sailing to the west, it could be argued that because the earth is flat, the risk of the ship sailing over the edge of the earth is too great to justify and such a plan would be unethical.
Based on the scientific knowledge of the day, such a determination would be reasonable. However, to argue such a train of logic in the 21st century would be ludicrous.
These are some of the major strategies for proving your point in a body paragraph. This list is by no means exhaustive, and many of these strategies can be combined, in fact should be combined to prove your nuanced argument.
The background and significance of the problem and a clear statement of the research purpose is provided. The search history is mentioned.
Content is well-organized with headings for each slide and bulleted lists to group related material as needed. Use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. to enhance readability and presentation content is excellent. Length requirements of 10 slides/pages or less is met.
More depth/detail for the background and significance is needed, or the research detail is not clear. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is little integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are included. Summary of information presented is included. Conclusion may not contain a biblical integration.
Content is somewhat organized, but no structure is apparent. The use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. is occasionally detracting to the presentation content. Length requirements may not be met.
The background and/or significance are missing. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is no integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are not included in the summary of information presented. Conclusion does not contain a biblical integration.
There is no clear or logical organizational structure. No logical sequence is apparent. The use of font, color, graphics, effects etc. is often detracting to the presentation content. Length requirements may not be met
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Concept of Unity Discussion Paper
Concept of Unity Discussion Paper