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The student should begin by considering what they are studying. He or she should review the syllabus and study it to elicit reference material, the direction of the class, and the goals of the class they are taking. The student should look at the website for the Department and the class with the same intent in mind. Essentially, the student’s question should be, ‘what is the professor’s intent for this assignment?’ This question can be answered by reviewing the above material in addition to being very attentive in class. The syllabus can be especially helpful in directing the student toward initial resource material and references.

The website can be useful in gaining an understanding of the goals of the Department, understanding how the Department is organized for example. The Department is probably divided into concentrations. Also the student will be able to find a list of courses with a description for each class. This is all information that can assist the student in becoming oriented to his or her subject matter.

It is likely that the student will have to do much research on their own in addition to using the resources that the Instructor has made available to them. Research may be conducted on the Internet or at the library, or both, as the case may be.

The student should review, read, and study all research material, including the website and syllabus carefully to get a good understanding of his or her subject matter. It is important to comprehend the subject as thoroughly as possible in order to write about it. The student should look for key words, key thoughts, and key concepts. The student should identify something that stands out to them in the reading. The student should be able to answer the questions, ‘Why did I select this study in the first place? Where do my interests lie? The student should be able to line up his or her interests with some aspect of the intention of the Instructor or the course material.

The thesis statement can be developed once these materials have been studied and reviewed. After this process, the student should be able to:

  • Select a topic
  • Gather information
  • Create a thesis statement
  • Create an Outline
  • Gather notes
  • Create the First Paragraph

The student may revise the paragraph and outline until they reflect the desirable caliber of work and content necessary.