Organization

  • Enhance the unity, clarity, and persuasiveness of your writing by explicitly considering its logical structure.
  • Refine your thesis or research question so readers understand the focus and significance of your work

Organization, for writers, is a mode of (1) thinking and (2) communication.


The human mind craves order. We look into the sky and we give names to the stars. Order permeates our perceptions, logical reasoning, and conversations with others.

  1. Organization is a mode of thinking, a tool of logic. To think, we name the world. We identify similarities and differences. We define, categorize and prioritize. We recall information by keeping like items together and keep contrasting items apart. We engage in logic to define the world and identify causes and effects, problems and solutions, recommendations and solutions.
  2. Organization is a mode of communication. Rhetors and audiences share common ways of ordering information for audiences (e.g., genres, motifs, or archetypes). To communicate, rhetors impose an order on the information they want to share. In order to figure out the best organization for a document, rhetors analyze their rhetorical situation. They question how the audience could best understand the information that is being conveyed. Rhetors often move from given-to-new information. They also list information in order of priority or chronology or logic.

Rhetors enter a dialogue with audiences. Rhetors are able to communicate with their audiences because they share organizational schemas for organizing information. Writers and readers share language practices (e.g., style, genres, motifs, and archetypes. (See What is Communication?)

In Writing Studies, Global Perspective and Local Perspective refer to two major ways of organize information:

  • The Global Level typically presumes organizational schemas that concern how an entire document is organized. Genre, Research Question, Thesis, Chronological Order–these are organizational schemas that characterize how information is ordered across an entire project/text.
  • the Local Level concerns organizational schemas that occur at paragraph, sentence, and word-level.

Organization @ Writing Commons

To aid communications, rhetors (writers and speakers) rely on organizational structure—schemas—across whole texts as well as sections of texts, paragraphs, sentences, and words.

  1. Chronological Order
  2. Deductive Order
  3. Given-to-New Order
  4. Global Perspective
  5. Inductive Order
  6. Local Perspective
    1. Problem Solution
  7. Logical Perspective
  8. Paragraphs
    1. Paragraph Transitions
    2. Topic sentences
  9. Research Question
  10. Signposting
    1. Add Appropriate Transitional Language to Connect Ideas
    2. Distinguishing between Main Points and Sub-claims
    3. Metalanguage
    4. Segues
    5. Transitional language
  11. Thesis
    1. Absent Thesis
    2. The Guiding Idea and Argumentative Thesis Statement
    3. Writing a Thesis Statement

Additional articles on Organization:

  1. Absent Thesis

    What is a thesis? A thesis consists of one or two sentences that clearly and concisely summarize the main point,...

  2. Add Appropriate Transitional Language to Connect Ideas

    What is transitional language? Transitional language includes words, phrases, and sentences that writers use to help their readers make connections;...

  3. Add Segues to Signal Shifts in Ideas

    Segues are used hand-in-hand with transitions to create uninterrupted movement between ideas. Without the use of segues, ideas can appear...

  4. Conclude Paragraphs with Your Voice

    Why is it important to conclude a paragraph with the writer’s voice rather than a quote or paraphrase? Although quotations...

  5. Conclude this Paragraph with Your Voice, Not Your Source’s

    Why is it important to conclude a paragraph with the writer’s voice rather than a quote?* Though quotations from reliable...

  6. Conclusions

    Where is your conclusion? Reiterate your paper’s thesis in your conclusion Summarize your paper’s main ideas in your conclusion Include...

  7. Distinguishing between Main Points and Sub-claims

    As you learn in “Critical Reading Practices,” an effective argument contains a thesis, supporting claims, and evidence to support those...

  8. Formulating a Thesis

      You need a good thesis statement for your essay but are having trouble getting started. You may have heard...

  9. General to Specific (Deductive)

    Provide thesis and forecasting statements in the introduction to help busy readers focus. Approximately 100,000 books and millions of journal...

  10. Paragraph Structure

    Understand how to organize information in paragraphs so readers can scan your work and better follow your reasoning. Unlike punctuation,...

  11. Paragraph Transitions

    Effective paragraph transitions signal to readers how two consecutive paragraphs relate to each other. The transition signals the relationship between...

  12. Paragraphs Are Influenced by the Media of Writing

    As much as any of the above guidelines, you should consider the media and genre where your text will appear....

  13. Paragraphs Are Unified by a Single Purpose or Theme

    Regardless of whether a paragraph is deductively or inductively structured, readers can generally follow the logic of a discussion better...

  14. Paragraphs Flow When Information Is Logical

    Paragraphs provide a visual representation of your ideas. When revising your work, evaluate the logic behind how you have organized...

  15. Paragraphs Must Logically Relate to the Previous Paragraph(s)

    Readers also expect paragraphs to relate to each other as well as to the overall purpose of a text. Establishing...

  16. Paragraphs Often Follow Deductive Organization

    Your goals for the opening sentences of your paragraphs are similar to your goals for writing an introduction to a...

  17. Paragraphs: Use an Inductive Structure for Dramatic Conclusions or Varied Style

    While you generally want to move from the known to the new, from the thesis to its illustration or restriction,...

  18. Provide Metalanguage to Highlight Your Organization

    Use metalanguage to help your readers understand your organization and reasoning. Clarify logical relationships, temporal relationships, and spatial relationships by...

  19. The Guiding Idea and Argumentative Thesis Statement

    Two Types of Essays Your composition professor has given you an assignment, requiring you to write an essay in which...

  20. The Thesis

    The main idea. The argument of an essay. The thesis. It’s a tricky thing to define “thesis” because theses come...

  21. Weak Thesis

    When is a thesis considered weak? A well-developed thesis statement should clearly and concisely communicate the main point, purpose, or...

  22. What is the Point of this Paragraph?

    Why should each paragraph make a point? In an essay, a paragraph is not just a careless group of sentences...

  23. What Logical Plan Informs Your Paper’s Organization?

    Why is it important to organize a paper logically? Academic writing—like many types of writing—is typically more effective when the...

  24. Where is your topic sentence?

    What is a topic sentence? A topic sentence summarizes the main idea or the purpose of a paragraph. In an...