Threesology Research Journal
Examples of "Threes"-oriented Web Pages
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~ The Study of Threes ~

The following are references culled from other websites regarding the number 3 or have "three" as a focus, though other labeling may be used. Please give all respective authors their due credits. Links to their websites are provided following each section. However, it must be noted that some of the links may not be viable since the information was compiled in 2004 or earlier.


Everything in Essays comes in threes.

3 parts - Introduction, Body, Conclusion
Each section then neatly divides again into three parts.

Follow the guide below for simple essay structure:


  1. State your hypothesis.
  2. Set in time, space, define any important word in major theme.
  3. State the three points you are going to discuss. (scope)


For each paragraph- (3 paragraphs in total).

  1. Start with a topic sentence telling reader the theme of your research question.
  2. Make three points to respond to your research question, supporting each point with facts, evidence, quote. Order points - least important first, to most important last.
  3. Conclude with a sentence which wraps up by relating the paragraph back to your major theme.


(Don't introduce new ideas which may distract the reader from the main focus of the essay.)

Select three key words or phrases which neatly describe the theme of each research question.

  1. Introduce conclusion with your major finding.
  2. Use your three keywords to relate all your minor ideas to major theme.
  3. Finish with an overall evaluation.

--- Essay Writing ---
by Patricia Barry

Essays, Paragraphs, and Sentences

Form ever follows function.
--Louis Henri Sullivan

Academic articles are usually: Expository: essay as teacher.
Persuasive: essay as lawyer.
Research: essay as explorer.

a unit concerned with one argument only

Introduction Body Conclusion
Often the last thing written.

Establishes topic of essay.

Tells how the topic will be developed.

Makes the main categories and logic of the argument visible.

Conventionally at the beginning of the article.

Awakens reader's interest.

Written at a high level of generality.
Presentation of ideas and data that support them.

Combines high-level abstraction, generalizations, paraphrased source material, quotations, details.

A succession of paragraphs that explain, elaborate, develop and/or support the thesis.

In social sciences and sciences may consist of specifically required sections.

Structure will depend on discipline because each has different sorts of results to present.
Like introductions; more general than the rest of the essay.

The high levels of generality interpret the data found in the body.

Confirms the reader's understanding of the argument.

Doesn't repeat the introduction; relies on reader's new grasp of the ideas of the paper.

Conventionally located at the end of the paper.

a unit concerned with one topic only

Topic Sentence Elaboration, Development, Amplification, Refining, Support Rounding off statement, Transition Device, Summary, Link to Next Paragraph
May serve one or more paragraphs.

Can, for effect, be anywhere in the paragraph.

Contains indication of controlling idea/topic; what aspect of the topic will be discussed.

May continue the idea from the previous paragraph.
Needs enough information to enlighten and convince the reader.

All sentences should relate directly to the controlling idea.
Usually related to topic sentence.

Shows the advances made in the paragraph.

Provides a summary, establishes the point of departure for the next paragraph.

Rounds-off topic for use later.

a unit concerned with one idea only

Simple Sentences
Initial Constituent (Beginning/Subject) Core
Final Constituent
Usually links up with preceding sentence/context.

Is the starting point of what is to come.

Often the subject but can also include modifying adjectives.
Generally the main verb clause alone, but can be an entire clause. Generally contains most important part of the sentence's message: the focus.

Houses prominent information.

Can be a single adverb, usually the object of the sentence; can be a clause.

Complex Sentences
Initial Subclause Main Clause Final Subclause
Delineates the discourse domain; that is, it sets the stage and alerts the reader to the context that will be needed to read the rest of the sentence.

Provides orientation to the mess of words that follow.
Core message unit; this is usually the important part. Presents information that elaborates on the core message; specifies or further narrows the new information.

"No piece of writing is worth much if it does not move along, conducting the reader into
some new region of information or argument."
-- Richard D. Altick, Preface to Critical Reading. 5th edition.

--- Threes in Essays, Paragraphs, and Sentences ---

The tripartite structure of a formal report

  1. Executive summary, abstract, preface, and introduction.
  2. Technical Discussion.
  3. Recommendations.

--- The tripartite structure of a formal report ---

(Along With the word "Executive" being used in the first line, we could add "Legislative" to the second and "Judicial" to the third.)

THE HINDU: Important threes

  • Three things to respect — Old age, religion and law.
  • Three things to love — Purity, Honesty and hard work.
  • Three things to cultivate — Courage, cheerfulness and contentment.
  • Three things to maintain — Promise, friendship and affection.
  • Three things to control — Tongue, Temper and temptation.
  • Three things to watch — Speech, behaviour and action.
  • Three things to prevent — Laziness, falsehood and slander.

Vidya S, IX
Chennai: Bhuvana Krishnan Matric H.S. School

--- THE HINDU: Important Threes

In February this year, 2002, Dr Elizabeth Hardie presented a paper entitled "A Tripartite Model of Self-Aspects, Stress and Uplifts, Coping and Health" to the New Zealand Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Conference, Auckland, New Zealand. A summary of the paper is presented below:

Recent critiques of the stress and coping literature note that the field is in crisis and in need of new research directions. Recent advances in social psychology may provide a promising new possibility. A tripartite model of self, comprised of individual, relational and collective self-aspects which can guide one’s beliefs, values and behaviours, may help to explicate the links between stress, coping and health. A series of studies were conducted to explore relationships among individual (independent, autonomous), relational (interpersonal, dyadic) and collective (social group-based) domains of self, perceived stressors and uplifts, and coping activities. The results were used to develop and test theoretical models of well-being and ill-being. Support was found for a tripartite model of well-being in which matched domains of self, uplifts and coping activities predicted multidimensional well-being, and a tripartite model of ill-being in which mismatched domains of self, stressors, and coping activities predicted physical and emotional ill-being. Further research on the nature of self-aspects, their role in the appraisal of domain-specific stressors and uplifts, and selection of particular coping activities is needed; however the tripartite model appears to provide a promising new perspective which may help to clarify the stress-coping-health process.

--- Research in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences ---

Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D.

In comparison with the standard bipartite model (body and mind) and recent multi-part models (including vaguely defined body, mind, emotions, intellect, will, soul, spirit, consciousness), the elaborated tripartite model of the human offers a number of advantages and thus promises an important future for humanistic psychology.

--- Vision for Humanistic Psychology ---

Michael C. Pickett

Three distinct polarizations of management and leadership research was found to fit into the following categories:

  1. Descriptive- The descriptive ideology includes aspects pertaining to the qualitative nature of a discipline. In other words, characterizations that may either be illustrative, expressive or interpretive.

  2. Proscriptive- The proscriptive ideology is exclusive or restrictive in nature; in other words, by choosing one leadership style or theoretical foundation to follow, one does not choose the remaining choices.

  3. Prescriptive- The prescriptive ideology adds situational factors to the application of theory.

Why a Tripartite Ideology?

This journey to find a model for the praxis of ethical leadership may be likened to the start of many journeys. A path, while clear and intuitive to one, may not appear as a clear path to another as all of our individual passions lead us down different paths. However, while the goal in this journey is openly stated, this short introductory section provides a background that this researcher uses to establish a need for the development of a model for the praxis of ethical leadership in organizations.

--- Leadership & Management Evolution ---

Temple AUM RU logo

Nature is triune; there is a visible, objective nature; an invisible, indwelling energizing nature - which is the exact model of the other; there is above these two, spirit - source of all forces, alone external and indestructible. The lower two constantly change, the higher third does not.

The human is also a trinity; the objective, physical body, the vitalizing astral body, the sheath of the soul, the real person; these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third --the sovereign immortal Self. When the REAL PERSON succeeds in merging into the latter, one then becomes immortal.

A person contacts his divine self either along the line of the Will, or of Love and understanding, or of Creative Thought. Accordingly there are three main paths of inner development; the path of Will or Action; the Path of Love or Devotion; the Path of Thought or Wisdom. Three Fates weave the living garment our destiny- thought, action and desire.

--- The Threefold Path ---

Note: the above site also mentions seven primary God laws based on the analogy of white light passing through a prism which breaks up into seven colors, which is believed to represent an indication of a Cosmic Law that manifests in a seven-fold manner. Notice that the typical shape of the prism ( as well as the emitted colors) is triangular, and is not linear or circular, though the latter shapes are being considered in nano-magnetic technology and other molecular level applications.

triangular prism with white light refracted into seven colors
--- School of Chemical Sciences: University of Illinois ---

The following link concerns the perspective of a deliberately ordered "seven-squared" formula:

--- A Case For Created Time ---

It must be said that while some people have a particular interest in the number 7 as being representative of some cosmological/god influence on humanity, we must ask why the 7 formula is not uniquely represented in physics, genetics, nor language? In other words, why is there not 7 families of fundamental particles instead of three? Why not a 7 codon system in DNA instead of a triplet codon system, nor 7 primordial Germ layers instead of 3, nor 7 fundamental domains of life instead of 3 domains? Why is there not a 7-modal system in language instead of a tri-modal structure?...H.O.B.

An interesting aside comment related to the quantity 7 is in noting that there are 7 slots in the grills of Jeep vehicles. It is said this is an emblematic symbol for the manufacturer in claiming that it was the first vehicle to be driven on seven continents.

There was even a study done with a reference to the number "7":

The magical number seven, plus or minus two:

Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information" by George A. Miller. Interestingly, no one mentions that the underlying 5- 7 -9 combination is a pattern-of-three reference in and of itself: [7 - 2 = 5 and 7 + 2 = 9].

Even though the following is not from a webpage primarily focused on threes, it is an interesting account in which the role of threes played in the initial development of Amnesty International:

Peter Archer, a Member of Parliament and an early member of Amnesty's policy committee, admitted that the committee had no idea what to do with all the offers of help they received after the (1961) publication of the article (in the Observer). The answer was the "Threes."

"Threes" Company

Apparently, Benenson came up with the idea. Headquarters would send prisoners' names and other information to local Amnesty groups. Every group would work on three cases - one from each political bloc. The groups, called "Threes," would do further research, write to officials, send relief to families and prisoners, and help released prisoners gain asylum and rebuild their lives. They would also raise funds to support the work at headquarters and educate the public.

--- Amnesty's Roots ---

... short and to the point

Dear Dr. Universe,
What is the "Rule of Three"?
Patrick and Peggy Mazzuca

Dear Patrick and Peggy,

Okay, I found out what the rule of three is. I guess we were all thinking it more complicated than it is.

Anyway, according to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the rule of three is "The rule of simple proportion; by which, given the relationship of two entities, the proportional relationship of a third can be ascertained."

But apparently, there is also a "rule of three" in superstition.

Here's something I ran across that discusses that aspect.

The Rule of Three is one of two things

By David Tarrant
The Dallas Morning News

Superstition has it that bad luck happens in threes, whether it be car problems or natural catastrophes.

The Rule of Three apparently has revealed itself once again in the deaths of Gianni Versace, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa over a recent seven-week period.

Is three a charm -- good or bad?

Joe Ann Sheffield, a numerologist at the Renaissance and Romance bookstore in Dallas, thinks so. "Oh, definitely. It's a number of completion. It takes three weeks to develop or lose a habit. It's a very important number," Sheffield says.

Pish posh, says John Allen Paulos, a math professor at Temple University in Philadelphia and author of Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper.

"If you believe things happen in threes, you'll wait for it to happen, no matter how far you have to stretch. It's a phenomenon that happens because of people's belief in it. Things happen in fours, too."

There have been some high-profile examples of bad things happening in threes. Robert Mitchum, Jimmy Stewart and Charles Kuralt all died within a week's time in July. In 1985, three major airline crashes in a little over a month killed almost 700 people. The crashes included the Aug. 2, 1985, crash of a Delta Air Lines Lockheed L-1011 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which killed 135 people.

In January and February of 1978, three record snowfalls fell in New England, the Midwest and Europe. Two weeks in June 1946 saw three terrible hotel fires in Chicago; Dubuque, Iowa; and Dallas, which killed a total of 90 people.

Numerologists, who look for meaning in numbers, are not alone in believing there is an inherent magic in threes. Trinities have been endowed with meaning since ancient times, and there are examples of triads throughout literature, folklore and religion.

Trinities of gods existed in Greece, Egypt and Babylon. Christianity has the Holy Trinity. In the Bible, Noah had three sons, Peter denies Jesus three times, and there are three crosses on Golgotha, where the crucifixion of Jesus took place.

In many traditions, three is associated with a quest for perfection or completion. In the world of sports, certain trinities are the paragon of achievement: the triple play in baseball; the Triple Crown in horse racing; hockey's hat trick (three goals in a game).

"It's the three parts of the quest," says Erla Marie Noffke, a numerologist in Oklahoma City. "Throughout Arthurian legend you will find three challenges that have to be met before the quest is completed."

According to Indian legend, when Mount St. Helens "speaks the third time, it's going to be the big one," Noffke says. "The first two were just little burps."

People tend to believe what they want to believe, and they will see order even in random sequences, says a Cornell University psychology professor, Dr. Thomas Gilovich.

"Things in general operate in threes? Do things tend to cluster together more than by the laws of chance? That strains credulity," says Gilovich, whose most recent book is How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life.

"Why threes and not sevens or twelves?"

--- Dr. Universe- Questions, Questions, Questions ---

3 fingers
Follow the "Rule of Threes"

To get your mind in gear before you put your mouth in motion, you need logic and structure. In fact, you'll find that the best structures for presenting your ideas are three-part structures. We call this the "Rule of Threes."

Most people think that knowing what to say is the hard part of presenting.& Instead, it's knowing what to leave out - and delivering a succinct, coherent message.

The "Rule of Threes" makes selecting information simple, quick, and plausible.

1 The "Rule of Threes" imposes order on any mass of information, thereby avoiding information overload. Trying to deliver too much information will freeze your mind, tie your tongue, and confuse your listeners.
2 The "Rule of Threes" weeds out extraneous emotion. It's great to let feeling into your presentation, but emotion persuades only when it's contained within a clear, sensible framework of ideas.
3 The "Rule of Threes" frees you to be spontaneous. If you use too many notes, or read them verbatim, you will lose your listener's attention. A simple three-part structure keeps you logical and easy to follow, but it also allows you to fill in the details in a spontaneous, natural way.

Three-part structures will suffice to show your thinking is logical, objective, and sound. You can compare and contrast ideas easily, without making things too complicated.

Don't feel that you have to adhere rigidly to the "Rules of Three." Sometimes you'll have only two things to say, sometimes four or five. The "Rule of Threes" is as basic as three-chord rock'n'roll. You can improvise -- but if you stray too far from the basics, your song will lose its structure and coherence.

--- Tip of the Month ---

Is three still the magic number?

In a radically changed world, the third way has reached a crucial juncture, argues its architect, Anthony Giddens

Friday April 25, 2003

Six years ago, the political makeup of the US and Europe was radically different to what it is now. Bill Clinton was in the White House. Eleven out of the 15 EU countries were governed by left-of-centre parties or coalitions. The third way - modernized social democracy - seemed triumphant. Now most of this seems to have changed. The Republicans rule the roost in the US, while the EU is dominated by the right. This begs the question: are those centre-left leaders who remain flogging a dead horse?

This weekend a large number of centre-left policy experts from a range of countries will meet to try and answer that question. Several Labour ministers and heads of UK think-tanks will also attend. The conference marks the halfway stage in a programme of discussions stretching across to a summit meeting of centre-left prime ministers and heads of state due to take place in mid-July. The summit will be the latest in a series of progressive - or third way - meetings that have been held over several years in Washington, Florence, Berlin and Stockholm. This time it is London's turn to play host.

So is the third way a dead duck? Absolutely not, would be my answer. Centre-left parties may have lost ground in the EU countries, but they have notched up a range of successes elsewhere. Left-of-centre governments have come into power in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, and have been re-elected in Sweden and Germany. All are following revisionist programmes heavily influenced by third way ideas and policies. The same applies to the new government in Brazil. President Lula da Silva (who will come to the summit) has abandoned the more traditional leftist rhetoric of his earlier days in favour of a position that closely resembles the modernizing social democratic parties of Europe.

Critics say the third way is empty of content, nothing more than an invention of spin doctors. But I would argue that exactly the opposite is true. Third way thinking is driven by policy innovation and the need to react to social change. The main outlines of the third way remain as relevant as they ever were: the restructuring of the state and government to make them more democratic and accountable; a shake-up in welfare systems to bring them more into line with the main risks people face today; a stress upon high levels of job creation, coupled to labour market reform; a commitment to fiscal discipline; investment in public services (but only where conjoined to thorough-going reform); investment in human capital as crucial to success in the knowledge economy; and the balancing of rights and responsibilities of citizens.

The recent electoral successes of the right have not been the result of the establishing of a political ideology that can rival third way thinking. Compassionate conservatism may have helped George Bush scrape into power, but it is hardly a developed political philosophy. In Europe, the right has been propelled back to government largely on the back of a wave of far-right populism. This "populist revolt" everywhere has the same themes. It concerns citizens' anxieties about immigration, multiculturalism and crime. It is anti-establishment, reflecting disquiet about orthodox democratic mechanisms. It taps into worries about loss of national identity in the EU and more generally about the impact of globalization. The worries and concerns that fuel the far right are shared by much wider sections of the population than those who actually vote for them. Essentially, the centre right has normalized some of these populist themes and incorporated them within its own perspectives. Its successes have been, in a large part, opportunistic.

The centre-left thus remains in a strong position. But no one should doubt that at this point there is a good deal of rethinking to do. Progressives have to respond not only to the issues brought into focus by the populist right, but also to wider changes in the world situation. The world has moved on since the original formulations of third way, which date from the early 1990s. At that time, the global environment seemed relatively benign, with the ending of the cold war and the apparent prospect of steady long-term growth in the world economy. After September 11, plus the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, with economic growth stuttering almost everywhere, continuing mass protests against globalization, stock markets in free fall and corporate scandals filling the headlines, things look much more difficult.

To give solidity and depth to the discussions over the next few months, seven papers have been commissioned, written by policy experts from different countries. The debates will be firmly comparative, looking at the experiences of centre-left governments and parties across Europe, North America and elsewhere. The aim will be to put them together to generate a new policy framework - a fourth way, if you like. I have my own ideas about how this aim might be achieved. I hope and anticipate that they will be shared by many of my fellow participants. We need, for example, a more robust defence of the public sphere, of public goods and interests, than current progressive thought has achieved. It is, I believe, possible to revive trust in government, and we should work to secure such an end. New models of corporate governance must be high on the agenda. So too must be more radical ways of tackling inequalities, still on the increase both within many countries and on a global level. There is a lot to do, but if approached with drive and ambition the meetings should have a major impact upon centre-left thinking worldwide.

Anthony Giddens is director of the London School of Economics. He is leading the policy process for the:

--- Progressive Governance Conference ---

--- Guardian Unlimited Politics: Is three still the magic number? ---,13255,943358,00.html

Latest Updated Posting: Saturday, 17-June-2007... 3:48 PM
Your Questions, Comments or Additional Information are welcomed:
Herb O. Buckland