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Step 4: Organizing Information  

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2016 URL: http://library.aolp.org/step4 Print Guide RSS Updates
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Step 4: Organizing Information

Step 4: Organizing Information

 A.    Assess if you truly have enough information. Consider your research question and carefully review your notes to determine if you have enough info to thoroughly answer your question. 

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

B.  Write a draft of your thesis statement.  Your thesis statement will be the backbone of your paper.  You will spend the rest of the paper trying to explain/support your thesis statement.  To create your thesis statement, look at your research question and turn it into a statement using the information you've gathered in the research process.

C.  Organize your note cards.  Arrange your note cards in the order that you plan on using them in your paper.  Related information should be organized into piles.  Spending some time on this step will make writing the rough draft much easier!

D.  Create a topic outline.  This is a crucial step before you begin writing!  A topic outline is helpful because:

  • prevents writer's block while writing your rough draft
  • allows you to see your paper at a glance which can help you idenify inconsistencies in organization
  • helps you finalize the organization of your paper before you write

To create your topic outline, take the piles of note cards from earlier and organize the cards within each pile.  When you are done, the cards should be in the order that you plan to use them.

You can use this template for your topic outline:

I.  Introduction

   A. Background information

  1. Fact with a citation (actually write out which fact you'll use)
  2. Fact with citation (keep adding important facts as needed)

   B.  Thesis Statement

II.  Topic Sentence.  Write out your first topic sentence.

   A. Fact or sub-topic

   B. Fact or sub-topic

   C. Fact or sub-topic

   D.  Fact or sub-topic

III.  Topic Sentence.  Write out your first topic sentence.

   A.  Fact or sub-topic

   B.  Fact or sub-topic

   C.  Fact or sub-topic

   D.  Fact or sub-topic

IV.  Topic sentence.  Write out your third topic sentence.

  A.  Fact or sub-topic

  B. Fact or sub-topic

  C.  Fact or sub-topic

  D.  Fact or sub-topic

V.  Topic Sentence.  Write out your second topic sentence.

  A.  Fact or sub-topic

  B.  Fact or sub-topic

  C.  Fact or sub-topic

  D.  Fact or sub-topic

VI.  Conclusion

  A.  Re-word thesis statement

  B.  Final thought to bring closure to the paper.

 

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