The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I only took one AP class in high school: AP Literature. I loved that class for a lot of reasons, but I think the most valuable thing I learned was the Loop Strategy. I’ve used this strategy on every paper I’ve written since and they’ve all been better for it. The Loop Strategy helps my papers sound better with little effort because I just follow its formula.
so, how do you do it?
The basic structure of the Loop Strategy is Evidence —> How —> Why —> Repeat. The strategy is implemented in the body paragraphs of an essay to structure your argument. This allows each piece of evidence presented to be fully explored and completed before moving on to the next. Having a format to follow also makes it easier to add more to your word count without turning your whole paper into fluff.
Let’s breakdown each step of the Loop Strategy:
The first thing you’re going to need is evidence. As an English major, this almost always meant a quote for me. We can look at a paper I wrote about the lens of disability in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to look at this more closely.
Frankenstein works enthusiastically on this project until he sees that the creature has non-normative features and he rejects him which, eventually, escalates to Frankenstein mercilessly hunting the creature so that he can commit “the extinction of [the creature’s] miserable existence”Shelley, 90
This is a point where I was introducing a new idea to further my previous point, which means the first thing to do was present my evidence. As you can see, the quote doesn’t have to be the first thing you say. This is the time to gently introduce the idea you want to expound on and your evidence adds credibility to your claim. It’s important to make sure, then, that whatever evidence you use strongly supports your claim. Personally, when I’m planning a paper, I collect quotes from the work I’m analyzing that relate to and support the claims I want to make in the paper. That way I can pick which quote best enhances the argument I decided to make.
This portion of the strategy is where you connect your evidence to your thesis. My thesis for this paper was that using the lens of disability reveals new aspects of the story. I connected that to my evidence by writing:
This is where the role of eugenics transitions to include filicide in the story.
The ‘how’ provides context to my evidence. It shows the reader where I’m going with my analysis. This sentence adds new meaning to the quote I used, especially the inclusion of the word ‘extinction.’ I like to keep this portion of my analysis brief. This isn’t where the bulk of my argument lies; it’s still leading the reader there. The ‘why’ section is where I’ll expand more and pull everything together.
This is where things get interesting. Everything up until this point has been building the foundation for the analysis. The ‘why’ section is where you explain why what you have presented is significant. In this example, I wrote:
Despite the fact that Frankenstein cannot be biologically labeled the creature’s father, for all intents and purposes, Frankenstein does take the role of the creature’s father. Therefore, when Frankenstein’s aspirations change to hunting and murdering the creature, this is reflective of the ways that filicide intersects with disability.
To expand on how that ties back to the evidence, proving that there is support for the idea of filicide playing a role in the story. Now, the analysis is complete and I can move on to my next point with new evidence. In this case, I continued to expand on the ways that eugenics can be seen in Frankenstein when the lens of disability is applied to the work, but if an analysis is ending a paragraph, another line or two pulling all of the points made in the paragraph together and you can move onto the next topic under your thesis.
What I love so much about the Loop Strategy is that I can easily format analyses and focus my energy on building a strong argument. As an English major, I also spend a lot of time writing papers (last semester I wrote over 14,000 words for one class alone) so whenever there’s an opportunity to save time without sacrificing quality, I’m all for it.