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Help rewriting Lead paragraph and Conclusion - Computer History Paper

Lead: Recent advancements have been happening so rapidly, with new possibilities emerging faster than they can be realized, that we forgot just how slowly it all began. It's hard to believe that thirty years ago there were no personal computers, but the most amazing thing of all is that it happened by accident "because a bunch of disenfranchised nerds wanted to impress their friends" (Cringley). This is the story of smart decisions and thievery. Picasso once said, "Good artists copy, great artists steal." This is how a handful of guys launched an industrial revolution, changed the culture of business, and made history.

Conclusion: The computer had made its mark everywhere in society and built up a huge industry (Roy 174). The future is promising for the computer industry and its technology. Surely, the computer has impacted every aspect of people's lives, and we can thank the nerds of Silicon Valley for this. The computer has affected the way people work and play, and it's also the very thing I wrote this paper with. Indeed, the computer is one of the greatest inventions in history. Could you imagine your life without computers? They are integrated into our everyday lives and we take them for granted. The PC gave rise to the dot come boom and without that...well who knows?

this was done in a few minutes and it needs A LOT of work as you can see.
the first draft of the paper is due in two weeks and by then, i'd like to have at least the lead and conclusion almost perfected. theres a lot of stuff i'm suppose to include into my lead/conclusion but i just can't think of a way to do it

if you are interested in helping me please please please email me at: tycheongster@gmail.com

Feb 10, 2009   #2
Between the introduction and the conclusion falls the body. At least, it does normally. You seem to be missing the bulk of your paper. I know you only asked for help with the intro and conclusion, but really, they should be judged in context.

"The PC gave rise to the dot com boom and without that...well who knows?" Um, you list a bunch of positives, then end with this, which, given the way it ended, was more of a negative. Was that intentional?

Overall the paragraphs seem solid.
EF_KevinThreads: 8
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Feb 10, 2009   #3

The PC gave rise to the dot come boom, and without that...well, who knows?

Hey, I have found that when I want to write powerfully, I start with a body paragraph, NOT the lead or conclusion. One strong body paragraph, and then another, and then another, and then I am able to see what is taking form. I always write the intro and conclusion last.

Can you write 5 little, powerful essays and integrate them into one? That is how to make a powerful essay. I think the lead para and conclusion should be written according to the body paragraphs, which consist of your actual message. What is your central message? Is it that our dependence on computers is inappropriate? Perhaps our dependence on them is appropriate because they are so powerful, but the complexity they create with the information explosion burdens EDUCATION with an unprecedented challenge to prepare students for a complex world.
Feb 12, 2009   #4
Writing both the introduction and conclusion last is a great idea. In fact, if you are writing a research paper, you might want to start out with key quotations from your sources, then arrange them in the order you intend to use them. This gives you an outline for your body paragraphs, which tend to take very little time to write once you know what evidence you are using to make your points. Then, once you see what you points are, you can come up with a thesis that ties them together.
Feb 12, 2009   #5
Thanks for your feedback!
I agree that writing the introduction and conclusion last is a very nice idea, but for this particular assignment the teacher is making us follow a specific format: introduction, [body], conclusion.

If I do write the body first, followed by the introduction and conclusion, I'm not quite sure how I would be able to do that. The body of my essay is the story of the first personal computer, the rise of the PC, important people/milestones in PC history, and the brief story of the Silicon Valley. Basically, I'm telling a chronologically arranged story starting from Ed Robert's Altair until the release of Windows 95.

In my introductory paragraph, or right before that, the teacher says that it's a good idea to have a few sentences that are a 'bridge' between your reader's mind and your topic. I feel like I'm starting right away with information about my topic but I don't really know how else to start the paragraph. Any ideas? Also, after reading my introduction over again, I noticed that I don't have a clear thesis statement that 'tells the main point of the information I present'. After getting feedback from some friends, I realize that I need some sort of clincher. My teacher says to make the clincher long enough so I really get to make a good point, but it should NOT stay on the same topic as my essay. I'm totally clueless on how to do this...

With the 'dot com boom, and without that...well, who knows?' part, I'm trying to say that computers have had such a significant impact on us and led to many other new technologies that help our everyday lives. According to my teacher, the 'who knows?' is not a bad way to end my conclusion, but I should keep going with it and make a point.

While I know what I'm suppose to do to fix-up my introduction and conclusion, the words just don't come to mind. I would greatly appreciate it if one of you can give some ideas, or maybe rearrange/rewrite some sentences to give me a good start!

Thanks ahead of time!
EF_KevinThreads: 8
Posts: 13,840
[Contributor] 129  
Feb 13, 2009   #6
I feel like I'm starting right away with information about my topic but I don't really know how else to start the paragraph.

That is exactly the reason to write the intro AFTER the body. How can you help but start off writing about what you are writing about? How can you introduce what does not yet exist?

And it is the same for a paragraph as it is for a whole essay: write the intro sentence last, so that you know it will go well with the rest of the paragraph.

Start off by telling your story, but then go back and add an intro paragraph. Furthermore, you mentioned that you lack a clear thesis, and that is because it is hard to write a sentence that captures the central point of the paper when the paper has not been written.

The thesis sentence, and that whole first paragraph, are like the guy that comes out on stage to introduce the famous speaker. The intro guy needs to know what he is introducing. So, write the body, and then write the intro after you have seen how the body is going to look.


With the 'dot com boom, and... well, who knows what new technologies computers will contribute to our everyday lives.
Feb 13, 2009   #7
"Basically, I'm telling a chronologically arranged story starting from Ed Robert's Altair until the release of Windows 95." Your thesis would be the reason you are telling the story. That is, why should your readers care? What does the story show us about the evolution of the computer?
Feb 13, 2009   #8
Actually, I do have my body already written, but it is the introduction and conclusion that I need help on the most.
I'm really considering following the body first, then introduction and conclusion. You say how can I help but start off by writing about what I'm writing about, but if I put my body paragraphs in the very start of the paper, wouldn't that still be 'starting away with information about my topic'? What would be the 'bridge' sentence(s), if any?

The reason I'm telling this story is because I'm a bit of a computer geek. Its also such a rich and interesting history and my readers should care because this is the story of the personal computer which ended up affecting many aspects of our lives. My thesis should contain this information, and also a brief look into what my essay will be about or was about?

While I know what information needs to go into my thesis, I can't seem to put it into words. My teacher is grading heavily on the thesis.
Feb 13, 2009   #9
Okay, then: "my readers should care because this is the story of the personal computer which ended up affecting many aspects of our lives." So simply refine this idea to take a debatable stand on the issue. Everyone would agree that the PC has affected many aspects of our lives. But, has the net benefit been positive (more convenience, greater access to information, easier communication with people around the globe) or negative (it's made us lazier, given us information overload with information that is often of dubious quality, and replaced personal, face-to-face communication with a ersatz substitute)? The key to a good thesis is that it provokes disagreement from at least some quarters. That gives you something meaningful to argue. There is no point making an argument for something that everyone already agrees on, after all.
EF_KevinThreads: 8
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Feb 14, 2009   #10
Something slightly surprising sometimes suffices to bridge the gap. Something you did not expect to read appears before you. Yes, the first step to bridging the "gap" is called a narrative hook, and it is really a psychological strategy for causing a person, who may have other things to do, or who may feel restless, to read what you have written.

Even if it is an essay or paper that WILL indeed be read by someone, regardless of whether they are interested, it is still necessary to hook the attention so that their hearts will be in it.

How do you hook? Some use humor, and that is a good one. However, some readers have no sense of humor! Or perhaps they take themselves too seriously to appreciate YOUR humor. How about starting with a pressing issue of concern? Some people are not concerned with the same things as other people. A narrative hook is hit or miss, to an extent, but you have to take a shot at bridging that gap. Get them to engage cognitively in what you wrote. Say something slightly unexpected!
Feb 19, 2009   #11
Thanks for your help on my thesis, I really appreciate it. But, I'm not so sure I can make my thesis 'provoke disagreement' simply because this paper is on the history of the personal computer, history that is definite and can't exactly be proven wrong. The talk about whether or not the PC's affect in our lives is a whole different topic.

Yes, that 'hook' is exactly the bridge I was talking about! You just gave me some really great ideas!

But back to that body first, then intro/conclusion format... If I start off with one of my bodies, I would still need that 'hook'. Wouldn't adding in this hook to the body paragraph in a way make it an introductory paragraph? I think that since my paper isn't necessarily an essay, but a story, it'd be better to just follow the intro-body-conclusion format. I'll be sure to try the body-intro/conclusion format in my next 'real' essay.

You guys have been extremely helpful!
Feb 19, 2009   #12
History is definite? Really? You can't find any example of disagreements among historians on any topic whatsoever? Lol! Everything in history is debatable. People still argue about whether FDRs New Deal pulled America out of the Depression or merely prolonged it by a decade, and that still in living memory for some people. Discussing how computers have shaped our lives is bound to include ideas that will provoke strong disagreement. For instance, as computer software developed, it allowed factories to use machines to replace workers. Some at the time predicted a golden age in which no one had to work, or in which everyone worked only 15 hours a day. Others predicted 30% unemployment leading to revolution and anarchy. Why did neither of these things happen? Computers were supposed to lead to a paperless society -- why then are so many offices awash in paper? Bill Gates predicted that no one would ever need more that 64k of memory. Why was he wrong? And so on. In answering any of these questions, you will come up with statement that could be used as a thesis for an essay.

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