At least 5 scholarly articles, retrieved from the school, a public library, or online database.
1 will be an analogical source—this means the source will not seem directly or obviously related to your chosen research topic, but is still a useful source.
At least 1 will be new media such as a video, podcast, interactive presentation, or image
A personal interview with an expert in your essay’s topic
2 sources that disagree with your personal stance
All informational research papers fall under three general categories:
Analytical papers present an analysis of information (effects of stress on the human brain).
Expository papers seek to explain something (Julius Caesar’s rise to power).
Argumentative papers are trying to prove a point (Dumbledore shouldn’t be running a school for children).
An informational research essay is not an info dump. That is, the essay does not simply present all the research you’ve found in summary format, but instead puts the research you’ve found in conversation and builds to a specific point or conclusion, and creates brand new information, thoughts, and ideas. The informational essay is creative thinking, a synthesis of research and your own ideas, and brings something new to the conversation.
Each type of informational essay includes a 3-part thesis statement.
A lot of times, writers come to this essay thinking a thesis statement must be crammed into a single sentence, but this is wrong. The size of a thesis statement is always in relation to the size of the piece of writing. The bigger the essay, the bigger the thesis statement. For our purposes, a thesis statement normally hits around three sentences, uses sign posts, and includes the stance, the scope, and the stakes of the essay.
Sign posts are small phrases that point the reader in specific directions. For example, the thesis statement includes three sign post phrases:
In this essay I will examine/explain/argue….
Specifically I’ll discuss……
This is important because……
The phrase “In this essay” signals to the reader they are about to read a research essay. “I will examine/explain/argue” and is referred to as your stance. And the stance is simply your opinion or your ideas about the subject you are writing about.
You utilize specific academic verb depending upon the type of informational essay you’re writing. The academic verb is a sign post, because the verb signals to the reader what type of informational essay you have written.
An analytical essay uses the academic verb examine.
An expository essay use the academic verb explain.
An argumentative uses the academic verb argue.
In this essay I will examine how Hank Schrader’s morality leads to his death in the TV show Breaking Bad.
In this essay I will explain how the color purple in the TV show Breaking Bad foreshadows a sense of false moral superiority.
In this essay I will argue colors in the TV show Breaking Bad signal specific outcomes for specific characters.
The phrase “Specifically I’ll discuss” signals to the reader what topics you’ll be discussing in the body of the essay, and suggests to the reader approximately how big the essay will be. The longer the list of topics, the longer the essay. This is called your scope.
The scope not only lists the different topics in your essay, but also lists the topics in the order you have written them in.
Writing your thesis statement’s scope before you begin work on the body of your essay allows you to sketch out a rough outline or kind of guide for yourself, but the scope is the portion of the thesis statement that is most often the part of the thesis statement that is revised after the whole of the body of the essay has been written so as to make certain the order in which you have written about your topics is the exact order in which those topics appear in the scope.
In this essay I will argue colors in the TV show Breaking Bad signal specific outcomes for specific characters. Specifically, I’ll discuss purple’s false sense of superiority, orange’s relationship to death, and blue’s loyalty.
So in the essay that includes the above thesis statement, the reader would expect the first topic in the body to be about the color purple, the second topic orange, and the last topic on blue.
The last part of your thesis statement are the stakes.
In this essay I will argue colors in the TV show Breaking Bad signal specific outcomes for specific characters. Specifically, I’ll discuss purple’s false sense of superiority, orange’s relationship to death, and blue’s loyalty. This is important because colors represent real meanings and emotionality in the real world—for example red for stop, green for go, white for good, black for evil—but often Breaking Bad turns these inherent colored meanings and emotions upside down and inside out, blurring our expectations which allows us to reconsider our preconceived color biases.
The HOT Introduction
Just like the thesis statement has three parts, your informational essay’s introduction will have three parts. The three parts are a 1) a hook, 2) orienting details, and 3) the thesis statement.
You may break the introduction apart into several paragraphs if you like, but the thesis statement always comes last.
The hook gets your audience involved and encourages the audience to read the entire essay. The orienting detail provides the reader with needed and more in depth background information about your subject. And the thesis statement is the ultimate guide to the rest of your essay, in many cases acting as a built in transition between body paragraphs.
We can analyze this introduction pretty easily with the color code.
I’ve colored the hook red, the orienting detail blue, and the thesis statement in black. The green sentence is the transition between orienting detail and thesis statement.
In the last scene of the final episode of Breaking Bad, we see Walter White walking in a metallic gray meth lab. It is black night, the cops are coming. And the only real color in the shot is the red from the blood, and Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” song lyric. Breaking Bad, an AMC American neo-Western crime drama airing from 2008 to 2013 chronicles a poorly paid high school chemistry teacher struggling with stage three lung cancer who turns to and then is consumed by the drug business in order to pay for his medical bills. And we can gleam a lot just from examining the colors in this last episode. First, and foremost, the character Walter White, his last name an actual color. Black resembling evil, of course. But blood red, the color of life and vitality even though we view this color in a death scene. The song “Baby Blue,” the idea of loyalty, not only found in the specific blue meth Walter sold, but also in his wife’s first name: Skylar. Colors play a hugely vital role in the series. In this essay I will argue colors in the TV show Breaking Bad signal specific outcomes for specific characters. Specifically, I’ll discuss how colors were chosen deliberately from the outset, how purple showcases a false sense of superiority, orange’s relationship to death, and blue’s loyalty. This is important because colors represent real meanings and emotionality in the real world—for example red for stop, green for go, white for good, black for evil—but often Breaking Bad turns these inherent colored meanings and emotions upside down and inside out, blurring our expectations which allows us to reconsider our preconceived color biases.
Post your introduction/first page here, and address the questions below as you review and respond to the introductions of 3 classmates.
Does the hook draw you into the paper? How might the hook be “sharpened”?
Is the thesis clearly stated? Are all three parts of the thesis present: stance, scope, and stakes?
Does the introduction provide a road map for readers, so that they have a sense of how the paper is organized?
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