Hourglass Strategy

Resources for Learning

Hourglass Strategy




Start with necessary general information—describe the issue, define key terms/concepts.

Choose your words for your purpose and audience—why are you writing and for whom?

The last (or next-to-last) sentence of your intro paragraph should be your thesis statement:

a specific claim that answers a question, takes a stance on an issue, or expresses an interpretation. In your thesis, or in another sentence directly following it, you

should briefly outline the organization of your paper—what points will you

 make and in what order will you make them?




Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence

that suggests the content and scope of the paragraph. 

The topic sentence should remind the reader of why

the paragraph is relevant and how it’s related to

the thesis. You may need more

than one paragraph to make

a point.

Don’t let the reader fall through

Cracks between ideas, paragraphs, or

sentences. Use transitions to lead the reader along.

Each point should be a mini-hourglass. Make a claim

 in your topic sentence and follow the claim with supporting

evidence. Keep reminding the reader of how each point relates

to your thesis by using key words from your intro/thesis. You determine

how many points you have to make and how many paragraphs you need to

make each point. Don’t follow an arbitrary organization; create a logical one!



The conclusion should remind the reader of how all of your points relate to your thesis. What

have you proven? Why does it matter? Broaden back out to show the relevance of your essay in

a larger context. How does what you’ve said relate to other discourse surrounding your topic? Re-member that the conclusion to your paper has within it the conclusions that you have come to in the process of writing your paper. These should match the thesis or focusing statement that you presented in your opening paragraph. This is not the time to change your thesis but give your paper firm footing.