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Organizing

Provide thesis and forecasting statements in the introduction to help busy readers focus.

Approximately 100,000 books and millions of journal articles are published each year in the United States (see Bowker Annual). Digital Archivists estimate the size of the Deep Web at over 7.5 billion documents.

Use visual brainstorming to develop and organize your ideas.

Do you have a grand theory or an explanation for a fundamental question such as, "Do computers think?" or "How long have human beings existed?" If so, you may want to use visual language to reveal the complex details, interactions, and processes embedded within your theory.

Use an inductive organizational structure to surprise readers or to address controversial topics.

While writers are under increasing pressure to organize information deductively, they can--and do--write inductively. Typically, writers employ a more inductive style when the topic is controversial or when they wish to surprise readers.

Determine the questions typically addressed in the document you are writing.

Writing and thinking involve asking and answering questions. The term heuristic is derived from the Greek word heuresis, which means to discover or invent. Heuristic questions refer to the questions both writers and readers commonly ask of documents.

Organize information into logical groups.

As with describing, narrating, defining, and comparing, classifying is a component of all writing genres. Just as writers pause to describe ideas and events or define new concepts in most documents, they routinely classify information--that is, show or tell readers how information can be grouped into categories.

Organize according to time. Reveal the logical or chronological steps one conducts to complete something or the cause-and-effect relationship between events.

Writers frequently use chronological order or reverse chronological order to organize a document. Narratives, resumes, family histories, historical narratives, process reports--these common genres typically employ a narrative order. 

Use visual brainstorming to develop and organize your ideas.

Cluster diagrams, spider maps, mind maps--these terms are used interchangeably to describe the practice of visually brainstorming about a topic. Modern readers love cluster diagrams and spider maps because they enable readers to discern your purpose and organization in a moment.

Define content by comparing and contrasting categories or classes of objects.

Comparing and contrasting issues can be a powerful way to organize and understand knowledge. Typically, comparing and contrasting require you to define a class or category of objects and then define their similarities and differences.

Why is it important to organize a paper logically?

Academic writing—like many types of writing—is typically more effective when the writer’s ideas are presented logically. For the sake of clarity and cohesiveness, a logical plan should inform the paper’s organization from beginning to end at the global (big picture) and local (zoomed in) levels. The target audience is more likely to become engaged, and maintain their engagement, when the conversation is clearly organized and purposefully presented.

Use visual brainstorming to develop and organize your ideas.

In 1765, Joseph Priestly created the now commonplace timeline. Priestly's timeline depicted the lifespan of 2000 inventors whom he considered the "most distinguished in the annals of fame."