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Now that your planning stage is complete, you can begin writing your draft. Be careful as you quote, paraphrase, and summarize. Your writing should be organized, developed, accurate, and original.

1 Exercise: Integrating sources

Imagine you are drafting a paragraph in an essay about the Black Death. Your paragraph lacks development, so you do additional research to add to the paragraph.

Read the quotes below and determine if there is any information that would support the topic sentence below. What information should probably not be used to support this topic sentence?

Topic sentence: The Black Plague was one of history's most deadly epidemics.

  1. "The 14th century epidemic of the "Black Death," also called the black plague or bubonic plague, across Europe and Asia, has become one of the most infamous events in history. The plague killed 30-60 percent of the entire population of Europe, claiming a  grand total of anywhere between 75 to 200 million lives. Population growth did not resume until a full century later, and the world population did not recover until the 17th century" (Galbreath, 2016, "The Black Death," para. 1).
  2. "The massive death toll caused an extreme labor shortage, which meant higher wages for the peasants and a greater choice of who they wanted to work for. The land was plentiful, and lords were forced to try and make conditions more attractive to the peasants. Serfdom all but disappeared as a result, and this "golden age" of prosperity would not be soon forgotten. Decades later, when the feudal lords tried to roll back these benefits and return to the old ways, the result was widespread peasant revolts. The Black Death also helped break the absolute authority of the Catholic Church" (Galbreath, 2016, "The Black Death," para. 2).
  3. "Between 1918 and 1920 a disturbingly deadly outbreak of influenza tore across the globe, infecting over a third of the world's population and ending the lives of 20 – 50 million people. Of the 500 million people infected in the 1918 pandemic, the mortality rate was estimated at 10% to 20%, with up to 25 million deaths in the first 25 weeks alone. What separated the 1918 flu pandemic from other influenza outbreaks was the victims; where influenza had always previously only killed juveniles and the elderly or already weakened patients, it had begun striking down hardy and completely healthy young adults, while leaving children and those with weaker immune systems still alive" ("Masters in Public Health," n.d., "Flu Pandemic (1918)", para. 1).

2 Exercise: Write a body paragraph

The partial outline below includes a topic sentence, some developing questions, and some research (quotes and paraphrases). Use the information to create a body paragraph. This body paragraph would be part of an essay about the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

Topic sentence: The 1906 earthquake was devastating.

  • Q: How did the earthquake cause devastation?
  • A: Fire and shaking
    • "In the public's mind, this earthquake is perhaps remembered most for the fire it spawned in San Francisco, giving it the somewhat misleading appellation of the "San Francisco earthquake". Shaking damage, however, was equally severe in many other places along the fault rupture" (USGS, n.d., para. 3).
  • Q: What did the devastation include?
  • A: Deaths and buildings
    • "The frequently quoted value of 700 deaths caused by the earthquake and fire is now believed to underestimate the total loss of life by a factor of 3 or 4. Most of the fatalities occurred in San Francisco, and 189 were reported elsewhere" (USGS, n.d., para. 3).
    • Deaths were estimated much lower originally than after further research; now the estimate is around 3,000 people. (USGS, n.d.)
    • Over half of the city's residents were homeless (USGS, n.d.).

3 Exercise: Identify good paraphrases

Choose the best paraphrase for each original quote:

1. "It ripped through every economic level, race, religion, and culture" (Graf, 2018, "World War II," para. 1). 

  1. It tore through all economic levels, races, religious groups, and cultures (Graf, 2018).
  2. It affected everybody. (Graf, 2018).
  3. There was no economic, racial, religious or cultural group that was unaffected by it (Graf, 2018).
  4. No groups (racial, cultural, or otherwise) wanted to touch it (Graf, 2018).

2. "The Renaissance gave us new light, pushing aside the Dark Ages when man was directed by superstition and fear" (Graf, 2018, "The Renaissance," para. 1).

  1. Superstitious beliefs and fear drove man in the Dark Ages, but were replaced by new light during the Renaissance (Graf, 2018).
  2. The Renaissance pushed aside the Dark Ages because of superstition and fear (Graf, 2018).
  3. The Renaissance was pushy because the Dark Ages were a difficult time of fear and superstitious directions (Graf, 2018).
  4. The Renaissance brought light to the Dark Ages when man was directed by superstition and fear (Graf, 2018).