Writing and Research
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The Organization Plan:
The first thing you should notice is that this assignment and information sheet are labeled "The Organization Plan" and not "The Outline." While an Outline is a type of Organization Plan, you are not required in this course to have any sort of formal outline of the sort shown in your texts.
The idea behind an Organization Plan is to gain control over the vast amount of information that you've been collecting from your sources and on your note cards.
Now that you've been reading your sources and finding out all sorts of interesting new information about your topic, you need to determine what you really do know and think about that topic.
- State, in a sentence or so, exactly what you think or feel about the issue at hand. Don't worry about whether you are agreeing with the majority or how you're going to prove this opinion, just state where you are at this time with your subject.
- This is now your thesis. It is a working thesis, and is prone to change as you continue to read new material, but it is a start. Many people find it helpful to turn their thesis into a question to help focus the rest of the essay.
- Determine what the main ideas or evidence is that has convinced you of that position. Try to pick the 3 to 5 most significant or strongest supporting arguments.
- Put them in the order that makes the most sense to you.
Determine at this time if you need to use a comparison/contrast or other specific organization pattern.
Determine if you want to lead off with a strong point, or build to your strongest points.
The actual organization doesn't matter, and may even change later when you start writing.
What's most important is that you are thinking about how to organize the information effectively for YOUR argument.
- Determine what sources you have to support each of those points. At this point you may decide that you need to do more research to support an argument or two, but you will usually have the necessary sources already.
Write down all of this material
- your thesis,
- your main points in their appropriate order, and
- the sources that support each point
- in some organized form and turn it in to your instructor. Your instructor will evaluate your work and make any necessary recommendations or criticisms.