Developing Support

You may develop support for your thesis sentence idea in a number of different ways, depending on the type and purpose of your writing. The lists below identify just a few selected ways to develop support.

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Thesis-Support Essays (actually all essays) – develop support by:

  • analyzing your thesis’ topic and angle
  • using your analysis to see what type of support the thesis promises to provide
    • e.g., If the thesis is that X is the best political candidate because of the candidate’s community involvement, past voting record, and current platform, then you know that you’ll have to offer multiple paragraphs about the candidate’s 1) community involvement, 2) past voting record, and 3) current platform

Analysis of an Issue/Logical Argument – develop support by:

  • prewriting
  • listing pros and cons related to the issue
  • identifying the information you’d need to “convince the jury” of the validity of your argument
  • applying logical argument strategies (choosing inductive or deductive structure, determining your audience’s values, etc.)

Research Essay – develop support by:

  • prewriting
  • narrowing the thesis to a question that can actually be researched
  • determining the type of research sources and information you need to support the angle in your thesis
  • accessing a variety of sources as appropriate (journal articles, books, people, statistical data, etc.)

Essay Applying a Pattern of Development – develop support by:

  • fully understanding that pattern of development
  • making a list or diagram or mind map that represents that particular pattern of development, and filling it in
    • comparison and contrast requires two things that you’re comparing and/or contrasting at multiple points
    • cause and effect requires as many causes and/or effects that you can identify
    • classification and division requires all of the component “parts” of something
    • process analysis requires all of the major (and appropriate minor) steps in the process

No matter what your writing purpose and type of support, understand that within a unit of support, information usually moves from general to specific, from topic sentence ideas to supporting concepts and then details and examples that further specify the concepts supporting the topic sentence’s angle.

This brief video reinforces the idea of how support develops and is presented in an essay.

Note: The content in this video is presented visually. You may listen to this video with audio description.