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ENGL 1301: Composition & Rhetoric I (Boston): Writing Tips

ENGL 1301 | Prof. K. Boston (Fall 2021)

Writing Tips

Develop Your Thesis

Your thesis is where you put forward your argument in a concise, declarative way. It is typically one sentence long and comes at the end of your introduction paragraph. You should only develop your thesis after you've started doing your research. You can have a thesis in mind as you start your research, of course, but be prepared to change it if you find it's unsupportable with the information available to you.

Thesis statements should be:

  • Specific - lay out exactly the arguments/reasons you're using in your thesis
  • Contestable - if you can find a definitive yes/no answer within a few minutes of Google searching, it's not arguable enough
  • Narrow - not about all of privacy ever, but this little sliver of a privacy issue in this particular time and society
  • Provable - or at least something you can persuasively argue.

Your thesis statement should essentially give your reader a preview of what arguments you'll be presenting over the course of your paper.

Adding an Image (With Caption) to a Word Doc

Two images in a Word document: the first has a descriptive caption followed by a parenthetical citation; the other gives the citation in the caption.

Insert Picture using Word's menu (or Copy/Paste)
Word toolbar: Insert tab, Pictures

The image by default will be added "in line" with your text, which may look awkward. Change the wrapping (or not), depending on how you want to situate the image in your text.


In line (image added between paragraphs):Image sitting between paragraphs - lots of white space


Layout Options for text-wrapping: "square" is a good choice.Text wrapping menu expanded to show layout options.

Last: after you have the image where you want it, right click the image, then click on Insert Caption. You can do the equivalent of a parenthetical citation (possibly along with a descriptive caption), or you can place the image citation in the caption. If you include the full citation here, you do not need to have it in your Works Cited.
Right click menu options for image, selecting Insert Caption... Caption creation window

The caption is basically just a textbox (one that can auto-number itself). Click into the box to highlight the text to make edits to what's written there or the font appearance.

Caption selected to edit text withinThe number that preceded the citation has been removed.

E.g. it may not be necessary to number the figures! The caption window won't let you get rid of it altogether, but it can be deleted manually after you OK the caption and it is in your document. Double-click the number in the caption box to select it, then backspace or delete to remove.

Notice the "1" is missing from the right image, which was present in the left version.

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