Skip to main content
Humanities Libertexts

6.1: Outcome: Supporting Claims

  • Page ID
    5604
  • Skills to Develop

    • Analyze various forms of support that can be used in a text to validate a thesis
    • Analyze use of personal forms of support (narrative, anecdote)
    • Analyze use of research-based forms of support (facts, statistics, outside authority)
    • Analyze relationship between the rhetorical context of a text, and the effectiveness of the types of support used

    Analyze supporting claims of texts

    We’ve examined the relationship between a text’s thesis statement and its overall organization, through the idea of topic sentences in body paragraphs. But of course body paragraphs have a lot more “stuff” in them than just topic sentences. This section will examine in more detail what that “stuff” is made of.

    First, watch this video that details the relationship between a topic sentence and supporting details, using the metaphor of a house. The video establishes the difference between major and minor details, which will be useful to apply in coming discussions.

    (The video has instrumental guitar for audio, but no spoken words, so can be watched without sound if desired.)

    The following image shows the visual relationship between the overall thesis, topic sentences, and supporting ideas:

    Flowchart. Top: How to differentiate topic, main idea, and supporting detail. From this are three vertical sequences. The first moves from The Topic, (is) the general subject, (made up of) word or phrases describing the subject. The second is Main Idea, (is) primary point made about the subject, (made up of) a sentence that states the topic and adds the writer's position or focus on the topic. Third is Supporting Details, (is) specific ideas that support and develop the main idea, (made up of) sentences that provide the author's reasons, facts, examples, and/or other supporting details

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    While this image shows where a topic sentence might reside in the paragraph, in relation to the rest of the supporting details:

    Flow chart. At top: Locations of the topic sentence. From this, 5 vertical sequences. 1) Topic sentence, supporting detail, supporting detail, supporting detail, supporting detail. 2) Introductory detail, topic sentence, supporting detail, supporting detail, supporting detail, supporting detail, supporting detail. 3) Introductory detail, introductory detail, topic sentence, supporting detail, supporting detail, supporting detail. 4) Supporting detail, supporting detail, supporting detail, supporting detail, topic sentence. 5) topic sentence, supporting detail, supporting detail, supporting detail, supporting detail, topic sentence.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    In #5 of the sequence above, the topic sentence is rephrased between the opening and closing of the paragraph, to reinforce the concept more strongly.

    What exactly these supporting details consist of will be examined in more detail as we move into this section.

    • Was this article helpful?