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Paper Writing Introduction
- Paper length should be between 750 and 1,000 words.
- Students should write their papers with an argumentative thesis; that is, the point of their paper should be a response to a question. The discussion questions in each workbook lesson are an excellent starting place when choosing your thesis “question” to answer.
- While a beginning student should focus on finding a topic with a question he can coherently answer in a basic essay format, the student with more writing experience is encouraged to write papers following the classical paper structure, interact with secondary sources, and learn to cite quotations using footnotes.
- If following the classical paper structure, use these guidlines:
A classically-structured paper follows the six-part divisions developed by classical rhetoricians: Exordium, Narratio, Divisio, Confirmatio, Refutatio, and Peroratio.
- The exordium is what we would commonly call the introduction.
- The narratio is your opportunity to give some background on the topic.
- The divisio will usually be the shortest part of your paper; here you enumerate the arguments you will present.
- In the confirmatio, you will develop these arguments. This is generally the largest portion of your paper.
- In the refutatio, you will anticipate the arguments that could be (or have been) raised against your position.
- Lastly, you will use the peroratio to recap your arguments (likely not necessary with a short paper) and conclude with a flourish.