Identify a topic. Your topic is the subject about which you will write. Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic; or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper. Consider what your assignment asks you to do, Inform yourself about your topic, Focus on one aspect of your topic, Ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts.
Look for patterns in your evidence. To find out what your "controlling idea" is, you have to examine and evaluate your evidence. As you consider your evidence, you may notice patterns emerging, data repeated in more than one source, or facts that favor one view more than another. These patterns or data may then lead you to some conclusions about your topic and suggest that you can successfully argue for one idea better than another.
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