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ANTH 350: Prehistoric Archaeology

Research Guide for ANTH 350

Writing Your Argumentative Paper

Writing Tips

  • Decide on the research paper's main thesis (focus) and main points first
  • Everything in your research paper should point back to the thesis statement
  • Use the questions under Use Your Sources to build your arguments and conclusions

Paper Format & Style

Your paper should take a position, introduce a clear argument at the start in your thesis statement, and provide evidence from both the popular and peer-reviewed sources about why your interpretation of the discussion is correct. Your paper should be formatted in Chicago style and have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

1. Introduction: summarizes what you will write and puts it into context

  • Start the introduction with background that contextualizes the paper's main thesis
  • End the introduction with a thesis statement, which outlines the main points of the paper and how you will address them

2. Body: presents the main points of the paper, with each paragraph representing one aspect of the paper's main focus. Prioritize and organize your main points and paragraphs to logically build your arguments to a compelling conclusion. Each paragraph should include a topic sentence, evidence, analysis, and a transition sentence:

  • The topic sentence summarizes the paragraph's main idea
  • Use evidence from your research sources to support or make the argument for your main ideas
  • Analyze your evidence to show how it links to your broader thesis statement
  • Include a transition sentence at the end of each paragraph to connect what you discussed in that paragraph with the main idea of the next paragraph

3. Conclusion: summarizes what you wrote and what you learned

  • Restate your thesis statement from the introduction in different words
  • Briefly summarize your main points or arguments and pull them together into the paper's main thesis
  • End with a strong, final statement that ties the whole paper together and makes it clear the paper has come to an end
  • No new ideas should be introduced in the conclusion, it should only review and analyze the main points from the body of the paper (with the exception of suggestions for further research)

4. References list: a list of the sources you cited 

  • Cite your sources in Chicago Style
  • Format your References list in Chicago Style

Use Dr. Chenoweth's detailed guidelines in his Paper Writing and Grading Guide below, which includes detailed information on how he will grade your papers, and his Common Mistakes in Professional Writing Guide.. For more writing help, contact the Writing Center and make an online appointment to meet with one of their consultants.

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