• Step Four:  Organization of Information


    A.  Review the information that you have.   Now that you think that you have finished gathering all of the information necessary to write your paper, you should review your notes just to be sure. 

    ·    Look at your research question and estimate if that you have enough information to answer it thoroughly.  If you do, you can move on.

    ·    It may be that the focus of your research has changed.  If it has, revise your research question to fit your new focus.  Then estimate if  you have enough information to address the new question thoroughly.

    B.  Write a preliminary thesis statement. Your thesis statement is the essence of your paper.  It is the main point you are trying to make, the one that you will spend the rest of the paper explaining.  To create one, look at your research question and turn it into a statement using information that you have come across in your research. 

              Click HERE for tips on the development of a thesis statement BEFORE 
                you move to Step C below.

    C.  Decide on a pattern of organization.  Next you have to decide HOW you want to organize your information.  Your topic and your thesis statement will likely suggest (or dictate) a logical pattern of organization for you. 
    Click HERE for instructions of choosing a pattern of organization BEFORE
     you move to Step D below.
    D. Organize Note Cards. In this step, you will arrange your note cards in the order that you intend to use them in your paper.  Spending some time on this step will make writing the rough draft much easier!
             Click HERE for tips on organizing your note cards BEFORE
    you move to Step E below. 
    E. Create a Topic Outline. An outline is a REQUIRED part of your research paper.  Taking the time to do one well will save you hours of frustration during the drafting process!
    Click HERE for instructions on writing a topic outline BEFORE
     you move on.
        F. Study the Outline and Revise. After you have created a topic outline, study it in order to make sure that       your ideas will be presented in a logical manner. Revise the outline, your thesis statement, and/or the       arrangement of your notes cards as necessary.

    BEFORE you move on, be sure that you have:

    • Evaluated the information that you have to make sure that you have enough to write a good paper.
    • Written a strong thesis statement and revised it as necessary.
    • Chosen a logical pattern of organization and used it to arrange your note cards.
    • Created a topic outline.
    • Studied the outline to make sure that your ideas will be presented in a logical manner in your paper, and revised the outline as necessary.