C. Munzenmaier Hamilton College Urbandale, IA

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Project Plan

Major projects, from constructing a new building to deploying new software, usually begin with a plan. A project plan allows businesses to

  • predict what resources are needed
  • set deadlines that can be met
  • control the quality of the end result

While writing an academic paper is not as complex as planning a new building, it does require project management skills. By doing a project plan, you will

    • find out whether you have enough resources to answer your research question
    • determine whether your topic can be argued
    • develop three claims that you plan to make in support of your thesis
    • anticipate and meet at least one argument against your thesis

How to Write Your Unit 4 Project Plan

STEP 1: Present Your Thesis Statement
Focus on a specific content area and indicate the question, debate, or conflict that arises when people (yourself included) talk about this subject.

For example, child abuse is a topic, not a thesis statement.  Increasing funding to child protective service organizations will drastically reduce child abuse, however, both states the topic and indicates the claim you will seek to prove.  This is a thesis statement.

STEP 2: Describe Three Specific Claims or Main Points
Write three paragraphs that describe three of the claims or main points you plan to pursue in your final project (one paragraph per claim). Include an explanation of how you will develop each of these in the paper.  For example, will you explore specific sources for information to support your claim?  Will you need to present statistics or conduct interviews?

One easy way to do this is to use a three-part divided thesis, such as Increasing funding to child protective service organizations will drastically reduce child abuse because it will reduce case loads, enable more thorough investigations, and increase options for treatment.

  • Claim 1: More funding will reduce case loads.
  • Claim 2: More funding will enable more thorough investigations.
  • Claim 3: More funding will increase options for treatment.

STEP 3: Challenges (or Counterargument)
In a paragraph (or so), describe at least one opposing viewpoint that challenges your claims. How do you plan to deal with this argument? (You can either show why the argument is wrong or admit that your opponent is right, but argue that other factors should be considered.) 

STEP 4: Full APA reference for your first source
After you have completed a library search, create an APA reference for your first source and then, in a paragraph, discuss its strengths/weaknesses in relation to your thesis statement and argument.  Specifically, how will this source help support your paper?

STEP 5: Full APA reference for your second source
Create an APA reference for your second source and then, in a paragraph, discuss its strengths/weaknesses in relation to your thesis statement and argument.  Specifically, how will this source help support your paper?

    Note: You are not required to use the sources you list here in your final project. If you find better sources, use them.

    Remember that your final research paper requires at least five sources. At least two of those sources must be scholarly.

Internet Resources

See interactive Persuasion Map (NCTE)

Developing an Argument (UMUC)

Developing a Thesis

Fill in the blanks to develop a thesis (Kansas)

Developing a Thesis (tutorial takes you step-by-step from topic to thesis; U Wisc—Madison)

 Developing a Thesis (tests for a good thesis from St. Cloud U)

 Thesis Statements: How to Write Them (includes a discussion of how the thesis statement relates to the rest of your paper)

How to Write a Thesis Statement (Indiana U—Bloomington)

Developing Your Thesis (Dartmouth)

Online Thesis Builder (Tom March's Electraguide)

Defining a Position (thinking through your position; resolving contradictions)

Organizing an Argument

Fear Not the Introduction (get started by skipping the introduction; Tina Blue)

Elements of Argument (thesis, organization, supporting evidence)

Counterargument (turn against, turn back)

Ways to organize an argument, including Set Up/Reject, Comparison, and Hybrid (or combination) forms from L. Weinstein The Basic Principles of Persuasive Writing (UBC Writing Centre)

Thinking Strategies and Writing Patterns (U Maryland)

Planning Your Argument (OhioLINK)

Make an Outline Online (Tom March's Electraguide)

Paradigm Online Writing Assistant

Description of a Persuasive Essay (step-by-step guide)

Essentials of Effective Persuasive Essays (by two Hamilton College, NY, students)

Developing a Logical Argument

Pro-Con Chart (POWA)

Argument (includes making a claim)

What Is an Argument? (appeals to logic, emotion, ethics; counterargument)

Models from L. Weinstein, including Set Up/Reject, Comparison, and Hybrid (or combination) forms


Last updated 8/15/2010

 

 

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