Selected Topics in Writing an Academic Paper
V. The Structure of an essay
51 V The Structure of an essay Keywords: exposition, critical evaluation, conclusion, paragraph, coherence Most philosophy papers have the following structure: a) introduction, b) exposition, c) critical evaluation, and d) conclusion. Introduction: The introductory part of a paper should state the thesis that the paper will defend. Brieﬂ y outline the argument that will support the thesis, discuss the position being presented, or the issues that the paper will discuss, and state the plan for the paper. Exposition: In the exposition it is expected that the author will explain the argument regarding the topic stated in the introduction, and that all important attributions will be supported with quotes, paraphrases, and citations from the text(s). It is of great importance to make each step of the argument as clear as possible. Criti- cal Evaluation: In argumentative papers, a sound critical evaluation plays a crucial role. It includes the enumera- tion of any problems with the arguments laid out in the 52 text(s), explained and supported with textual references. Conclusion: Restate the thesis of the paper. Brieﬂ y restate the basic issues that were explained in every part of the paper, and the criticisms explained and defended. The introduction of your paper should range from a few paragraphs, to a page or two, depending on the length of the paper. Avoid abstract or empty sentences like, “I will then describe the argument that Searle gives for his conclusion”. A brief statement of the argument is much better and informs the...
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