Many People Say...No, Really, Many, Many People...
"Finish strong. Don't just repeat your thesis -- bring the reader somewhere."
-I struggle so much with writing conclusions, because I have the tendency to repeat my thesis. It's like I want the reader to see that all of my arguments have proven *exactly* what I'd promised they would prove. However, after working on improving my conclusions, I've come to see the wastefulness of those kinds of conclusions. Dr. Jerz gave me a different way to look at conclusions last week. He said that conclusions are a destination, and a thesis is a starting point. These two should be separate. Why would the reader what to end up exactly where she started?
"Avoid vague references to "some people say" or "research shows." Name names. Interview sources yourself."
Dear God, yes. I only recently realized how annoying such generalizations were the other day when I was trying to do some research for another paper. I needed to find the source of several quotes, or attributed opinions, but instead of telling the reader *who* had said something in the first place, the writers insisted on saying, "Many critics feel..." I ended up nearly screaming at the screen, "Who are these people and where can I find their criticisms?!?" Anyway, "many people say" is not going to win many arguments. How many is "many"? Who are these "people"? Does the reader really care if the people you're referring to are just Joe Nobodies off the street and your piece really requires a quote from an expert? Taking the time to get a real quote, instead of basically textually shrugging away specifics, can be the difference in an article.