Patti Richards reports:
"Writing a paper about your beliefs, as part of a creative or essay writing course, requires knowing your thoughts and organizing them. Usually assigned as a personal essay, this topic is also used in social studies, philosophy and psychology classes. Personal essays about beliefs share the same essay structure as essays on other topics, and following an outline can keep you on point throughout the writing process...The thesis statement should encompass your overall life’s philosophy as well as at least three major points that support that belief system. Your thesis statement guides your writing and is included as the final sentence of your introductory paragraph. Begin developing your thesis statement by making a list of words that describe your personal belief system. From that list choose three to five words that best encompass your entire philosophy and work those words into one or two sentences that explain your beliefs. Keep the ideas in the thesis as broad as possible to allow for specific examples and explanations throughout your paper...Once you have a thesis statement that gives an overall view of your personal beliefs, it is time to organize your thoughts into an outline. Your outline should have five main headings that talk about your belief system as it relates to things like faith, family, relationships, community and worldview. Each main heading needs three to five subheadings that provide examples of how your belief system informs each area of your life. Organize your headings as follows: introduction, three to five body paragraphs and a conclusion. The introductory paragraph introduces your topic and contains your thesis statement. The body paragraphs explain the points of your thesis, and the conclusion summarizes your paper and leaves the reader with some final thoughts about your belief system...Use your introduction to let your reader know some background information about how your belief system has developed and how you plan to explain your beliefs throughout your paper. Your introduction should be conversational in order to draw the reader in and make her sympathetic to what you have to say. Remember that the goal of a personal essay about beliefs is to inform the reader and inspire empathy, not to persuade...The body of your paper should be three to five paragraphs in length depending on your thesis statement. Each paragraph should cover one aspect of your belief system...as outlined in your thesis and should contain three to five well-crafted sentences giving examples of how your belief system impacts each area of your life...Your final paragraph should summarize what you have written and include any information that further illustrates your personal belief system. Use quotes from people that personify your worldview or examples of behaviors from others that you admire. Your conclusion should leave your reader with a firm grasp of who you are and what you believe in three to five sentences."
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