Deciding on a Pattern of Organization
· Chronological. This pattern of organization arranges information based on the sequence in which events occur. It is often effective for historical events and biographies.
· List. This pattern of organization would mirror a list created in a thesis statement. For example, if your thesis statement mentions three major reasons for an event, you would use this method of organization to create and develop paragraphs about each reason.
The list pattern of organization would work well for two of the thesis statements about railroads that were given as examples earlier. They were:
During the 1800s,the development of railroads helped to industrialize the United States in threeways.
During the 1800s,the development of railroads helped to industrialize the United States by allowing materials and goods to be more easily transported, allowing people to travel between industrial centers more quickly, and decreasing the cost of products.
In either case, you would have an introduction, a conclusion, and three major sections in the body of the paper, one for each reason mentioned in the thesis.
· Topical. This pattern of organization breaks down information into smaller categories within the larger topic. This type of organization is often effective for highlighting smaller groups within a larger one. For example, a paper about FDR’s New Deal might use this pattern of organization to discuss four major programs that were a part of the larger New Deal.· Cause-Effect. This pattern of organization illustrates acause-effect relationship between ideas. You might divide the paper into two sections: causes and effects. Or you might pair this pattern of organization with another one to list several causes and effects. It is often effective for persuasive papers or papers in which you want to show HOW something came into being. For example, a paper about the Stock Market Crash might highlight several events that caused the crash as well as several effects.
· For more patterns of organization, as well as examples of the above, click here (the link will take you to the Web).