Three body paragraphs come from the three main points

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Body Paragraphs
Body Paragraphs are the main part of your essay. This is the “meat” of what you are writing about in your research paper. Below are some things to remember when developing your body paragraphs.

  • Your three body paragraphs come from the three main points discussed in your thesis.

  • A topic sentence needs to start each body paragraph. This sentence can start with a transition statement that helps the reader link the information back to the previous paragraph.

  • Supporting details/examples come next (facts, statistics, quotes, etc.) backing up your main topic.

  • Don’t forget to use parenthetical documentation to cite all of your information pulled from research (whether directly quoted or paraphrased into your own words).

  • Elaboration further explains and strengthens your supporting details (two sentences of Commentary for each Concrete detail).

  • Wrap-up thoughts or ideas in a body paragraph before moving on to the next paragraph.

  • Each body paragraph should be at least eight (8) sentences.

Body Paragraph Guidelines (each of the numbered statements represent a sentence)
1. Topic Sentence

2. First Supporting Detail/Example (Concrete)

3. Elaboration (Commentary)

4. Elaboration (Commentary)

5. Second Supporting Detail/Example (Concrete)

6. Elaboration (Commentary)

7. Elaboration (Commentary)

8. Closing (Wrap-up) Sentence [Restate Topic Sentence]

Open-Ended Response Structure

Timed Writing Chunk Structure

A – Answer

B – Best text evidence (2 embedded pieces of direct text evidence required)
C - Commentary

Topic Sentence/Assertion
Concrete (direct text evidence)
Commentary (2-3 sentences)
Concrete (direct text evidence)
Commentary (2-3 sentences)
Conclusion (direct text evidence)

The good news is that you have already been writing literary responses utilizing the concrete/commentary flow on a smaller scale. Within your open-ended responses, your first sentence (Part A – Answer) is analogous to the Topic Sentence/Assertion at the beginning of the chunk writing structure.

Your second and third sentences (B – Best text evidence) are comparable to the Concrete text evidence in the chunk writing structure.
Your final closing sentence(s) in the OER format (C - Commentary) can be paralleled with the Commentary portion of the chunk writing structure.
Just remember that a chunk writing paragraph has an additional flow of concrete/commentary when compared to the OER. Chunk writing also features a closing sentence that directly restates the assertion from the topic sentence.
Unlike an OER, for timed writing and research paper purposes the pattern has been extended/stretched because there are no space requirements (unlike the limiting TAKS box). For each main idea or assertion, you will be provided more direct text evidence and significantly more detailed and voluminous commentary.
Sample Body Paragraph
One of the major causes of teenage suicide is gun availability. Adolescents’ access to firearms definitely contributes to the teen suicide rate, “Despite state and federal laws banning possession of handguns by anyone under 18, for many young people, finding a firearm is no more complicated than pilfering from a parent's closet. Other teenagers know where to buy guns illegally on the streets” (Portner). Though there are laws and regulations in place restricting the underage possession of dangerous weapons, these rules are not stringent enough. Whether gaining illicit access to parents’ guns or purchasing firearms illegally on the streets, current firearm restrictions are not restricting enough to completely curb adolescent possession of guns. Even more alarming, “In the new report, in the current issue of The Journal of Trauma, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health said they had found evidence that ‘the ready availability of firearms is likely to have the greatest effect on suicide rates in groups characterized by more impulsive behavior’” (Nagourney). When focusing on the subpopulation of teenagers who commit or attempt suicide, it is frightening to consider that this highly impulsive subgroup frequently has such ready access to firearms. When people of any age have access to firearms, they are more likely to seriously contemplate suicide and highly impulsive teenagers are no exception. The staggering number of teens who experience gun availability, coupled with both the link between firearm access and suicide contemplation and the impulsivity of adolescents, simply reinforces the simple fact that gun availability is a major cause of teenage suicide.

Parenthetical Documentation

Parenthetical documentation sounds more scary and difficult than it actually is. It is simply acknowledging that a chunk of your information is from a certain source. It is placed within the paper itself. It does not have to go after each sentence; it is placed after an idea (or group of sentences) you got from a source. The idea can be in quotes (a direct quote) or put into your own words (paraphrased).

If your source has an author, for example, Calvin Klein – simply place the author’s last name and the page number in parenthesis at the end of the cited information.

Ex: Jeans are almost never worn tightly (Klein 1).

This documents that Calvin Klein wrote about this on page one of his article. It does not need quotation marks because it is not something he wrote word for word. It is an idea you got from his article.

The period goes OUTSIDE of the parenthesis at the end of your block of information from Calvin Klein. See-- (Klein 1).
If you are quoting Klein word for word, you need quotes as well.
Ex. According to some fashion critics, “Jeans are not meant to be worn tightly” (Klein 1).

You may be wondered how to cite a source within your paper that does NOT have an author or page number (like many of your web pages sources). Here’s how….

Just enter the title of the webpage, in quotations, in parenthesis at the end of the cited information.

Ex. ….but some dieticians claim that dark chocolate is not as healthy as recent studies have claimed (“Why I Don’t Eat Dark Chocolate”).


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