In your writing, you must make ideas clear not only for yourself, but also for your readers. Being organized is a matter of balancing these two concerns—your ideas and how you convey them to your readers. Then, it must be presented so that your readers, or audience, will understand what you are trying to say.
Keep these two elements in mind when you want to be understood clearly.
Have you created an expectation in the reader’s mind for what your paper will discuss? Here is the place for risk-taking, creativity, and surprise, but it is also the first place that readers see. Does it serve as a good starting position? What are you promising the reader you will deliver?
Has your introduction set up the main point of your paper? If someone asked you what your paper was about, will a one- or two-sentence thesis give them an answer? Finally, does it set up the argument that the rest of the paper deals with?
Is the line of reasoning you chose spelled out for your reader? Will the reader wonder, Why am I reading this? Are some points more important than others? Are any extraneous? Does the thesis need more support? Did you follow your outline?
Transitions help a reader to follow your line of reasoning. Don’t lose your reader; make sure they can follow the flow of your paper. Keep bringing the reader back to the main point.
One option is to make this section short and poignant. Return to the main point of your introduction. Come back to a place where you could (but of course you won’t) write your thesis statement again. Keep in mind that the conclusion should never contradict your main point.
For more help, print out this checklist and let it guide you through organizing your paper.
As you may have concluded, having good organization means writing well in general. A good paper will have good organization; an abominable paper will not.
The Kathleen Jones White Writing Center provides tutoring services, workshops, and writing resources.
Online help with
Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline
© 2007–16 Indiana University of Pennsylvania
1011 South Drive, Indiana, Pa. 15705 | 724-357-2100