Organization Organization covers these topics: –Titles –Subheadings –Introduction –Transitions –Conclusion First, some general thoughts on organization.
Why Organize? Disorganized writing –is difficult and boring. –seems sloppy or poorly thought-out Good organization helps readers see connections between ideas.
What is Good Organization? Know the genre. –Formal, scientific, or academic documents are upfront and explicit about their organization.. –Less formal documents may be more subtle organization. Model your work on outstanding examples from the genre.
Organizational Schemes Some common schemes are –Chronological or time-based –Spatial (from left to right, up and down, etc.) –Order of Importance Choose a scheme based on the type of information and what parts you want to emphasize.
Titles Titles are important. –A vague title may cause readers to ignore a document. –A misleading title might frustrate readers looking for specific information. –A boring title might cause readers to fall asleep before they read the first sentence!
Good Titles Be clear, accurate, catchy, and memorable. –The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. –The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman. –Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt –The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss
Bad Titles Don’t be vague, misleading, or boring. Consider these titles for essays: –Essay #1 –History Paper –The Civil War: An Essay –Plato –On the Various Means by which People who Play Videogames Solve Linguistic Puzzles
Titles and Subtitles Many academics prefer a two-part title: –Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault. –Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print by Jay David Bolter. –Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. Subtitle are usually more exact than the title.
Puns and Word Plays Some authors prefer titles with a pun or a “riff” on other titles: –What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff –When Your Phone Doesn't Ring, It'll Be Me by Cynthia Heimel –Babies and Other Hazards of Sex : How to Make a Tiny Person in Only 9 Months, with Tools You Probably Have around the Home by Dave Barry
Alliteration or Rhyme Use poetry tools to create memorable titles: –Publish or Perish by Allan A. Glatthorn –Publish—Don’t Perish by Joe Moxley –Beard On Bread by James Beard –Dungeons and Dreamers by Brad King, John Borland
Tips for Titles Make sure your title is a phrase or brief question, not a whole sentence. Don’t use quotation or other title for your title: –“75% of the Students Surveyed Are Not Smokers” –“The Study Indicates the Participant Suffered a Mild Side-Effect.” –Moby Dick
Tips for Titles Think of what your paper is about, then write a specific subtitle. –: The Importance of Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning –: Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships Think about a short, catchy phrase that naturally flows into the subtitle: –Adding it Up: The Importance of Mathematics… –Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: …
More Tips Use a keyword from your paper as part of your title: –Dialectic of Enlightenment by Horkheimer and Adorno Think of a short phrase that relates to your subject matter: –Cutting Out the Cut and Paste: Turnitin.com and the War on Plagiarism –To Promote Progress: A Study of Patent Law
Tips for Titles Wait until you are finished. Consider whether your title accurately reflects the content and themes of your paper. Say your title aloud several times to hear if it sounds good.
Titles Horrible title: –Essay #1 Bad title: –Blackboard Essay Better title: –Using Blackboard to Enhance Communication Even Better title: –Click to Send: Using Blackboard to Enhance Student and Teacher Communication
Subheadings Subheadings are useful ways to divide up portions of a document. –Add subheadings after you have completed a document. –Do not add too many subheadings. –Subheadings are not a substitute for transitional words or phrases.
Subheadings A lengthy essay on Blackboard might have these subheadings: –Announcements –Discussion Boards –Virtual Classrooms –Gradebooks –Costs and Performance “Conclusion” or “Introduction” should not be listed as subheadings.
Introductions A good introduction –States the issue at hand –Establishes the author’s position –Describes organizational scheme –Identifies the essay’s scope If you read the first paragraph or two and still don’t know what the paper is about, the introduction isn’t ready. Always revise the introduction when you are finished with the paper.
State the Issue Don’t beat around the bush, especially with a short essay. Get to the point right away. –Microsoft PowerPoint is a more effective way to present information to students than chalkboards or overhead projections. –Proprietary software may generate good profits, but open source software generates good programmers. –Anti-abortion laws violate the principle that the state and the church should remain separate.
Establish Your Position Don’t start off sounding neutral or wishy- washy. Establish your position! Bad: –There are good points and bad points to having computers in the classroom. Good: –Teachers should avoid using computers in the classroom because they are expensive and distracting.
Describe Organizational Scheme In formal, academic papers, you can be very explicit about your organization: –Being is made known through three basic modes of disclosure: moods, which I discuss in section one of this article; understanding, which I discuss in section two… –This paper is divided into three sections. The first section, “Costs,” discusses… –I will discuss three kinds of new media: films, websites, and videogames. First…
Organizational Scheme You may be less explicit about your organizational scheme as long as the reader can easily determine your setup: –Students who wish to develop their writing skills must read often, study general principles and concepts, and reflect on their writing. –Duty—honor—country. These three hallowed words reverently dictate what soldiers ought to be, what they can be, and what they will be.
Scope Make sure the introduction informs readers what you intend to cover. Explicit: –This paper is concerned only with Walt Whitman’s first edition of Leaves of Grass. –Although there are many ways to transmit HIV, I will only discuss transmission via shared syringes. Don’t raise points in the introduction that are not covered in the paper.
Introductions If you want to write a more interesting paper, include an interesting example, detail, fact, or scenario that the reader with which the reader can relate. –You can use a hypothetical situation, a real person, or even a creative analogy to help spur the reader’s interest. –People enjoy reading about things they can relate to their own lives and experiences.
Human Interest: New Yorker Luna Dawood was twenty-four years old when Saddam Hussein paid a surprise visit to her house in Kirkuk, the ethnically mixed city in northern Iraq. He admits that she reacted like a teen-ager. It was an October afternoon in 1983, and two Presidential helicopters landed in an open field; tanks cordoned off the tidy middle- class streets of the Arrapha neighborhood, home to employees of the state-owned Northern Oil Company; and Saddam, flanked by a large security entourage, showed up at the Dawoods’ kitchen door… –(from a New Yorker essay called “The Next Iraqi War”)
Introductions: Time (less formal) –Doug Gale, a 30-year-old Dallas banker, returned from a vacation to Tokyo and Hong Kong in 2001 raving as much about TV sets as about ancient temples, towering skyscrapers and exotic food. A self-proclaimed tech geek, Gale scouted out electronics shops and was mesmerized by flat-screen TVs. "I'd never seen anything like them," he says of the TVs. "They were just phenomenal. As soon as I got back to Dallas I was thinking, 'I got to get me one of these!'" –(from a recent Time article)
The “hook” In Victorian London, even in a place as notoriously crime- ridden as Lambeth Marsh, the sound of gunshots was a rare event indeed… –From “The Professor and the Madman,” a book about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Transitions Good writers ensure that their sentences connect to one another and that movements between paragraphs are smooth and even. –Use appropriate transition words and phrases to signal to readers what is coming up next. –Do not use transitional words if it is obvious what is coming next. –Readers should always have a reasonable idea where the paper is headed. If a sentence seems to “come out of nowhere,” there is a problem.
Transition Bad transition: –Blackboard is an expensive program. The discussion board feature enables students to communicate with each other outside of class. Good transition: –Blackboard is an expensive program, but its wealth of features make it worth the money. For example, the discussion board…
Transition Bad Transition: –Students are often tempted to download a paper from the Internet rather than write their own. Turnitin.com is a web-based plagiarism detection service. Good Transition: –For many years, the Internet was a cheater’s dream come true. Thousands of essays on almost every conceivable topic were just a Google- search away. Never before had plagiarizing been so easy, but “good” things never last. Now teachers have a new web-based service called Turnitin.com that makes it easy to detect plagiarism and prevent cheating.
Transitions Addition: –In addition, also, as well as Contrast: –However, on the contrary, on the other hand Illustration: –For example, for instance, in other words.
Conclusions The big difference between an introduction and a conclusion is that the reader has read your paper. A good conclusion should –Remind the reader of important points –Explain what could or should be done to address the issue –Suggest additional reading materials –Make some final comments on the issue.
Tips – Don’ts Don’t copy/paste your thesis statement or offer the same statement in slightly different terms. Don’t sound wishy-washy or doubt yourself in the conclusion. Avoid “In conclusion.” After all, you don’t start off an essay by saying “In introduction,” do you? Also avoid “In summary,” “To sum up,” and all variations. Don’t start a new argument or raise new points in the conclusion.
Tips – Do’s If you opened your document with a story, refer back to it and give the reader some idea of what will (or may) happen. If you are writing a persuasive paper, restate what you want the reader to do or think about the issue. Consider briefly mentioning some possible future topics for research or “further reading” suggestions.
Conclusion: New Yorker Dawood spoke so quietly that she might have been a ghost herself. “What is a human being worth, if they steal such a place? Right now, being human means nothing to me. I’m very sorry you brought me to this place. I shouldn’t have come.”
Conclusion – Time Magazine "In 10 years' time, it'll be embarrassing to have a regular, old-fashioned TV set," says Martin Reynolds, an analyst at technology-consulting company Gartner in Stamford, Conn. If the Asian glut continues, chances are you'll be able to have a flat TV hanging in your living room long before that.
Conclusions Teaching the students to use free software, and to participate in the free software community, is a hands-on civics lesson. It also teaches students the role model of public service rather than that of tycoons. All levels of school should use free software. –Richard Stallman If we videogamers and computer enthusiasts are truly on the forefront of technological progress, we should also be on the forefront of artistic progress. Mimicry and imitation are not the skills we should be requiring and cultivating in our electronic composers. We must try our best to fight our prejudice against new music and consider what the computer medium really has to offer—a whole new world of sound. –Matt Barton
Final Tips on Organization There are two ways to go about organization. –One is to organize before you draft, using an outline or similar plan. –Another is to organize after you draft, editing the document and rearranging material into a sensible scheme. Either one works—or do both!
One Minute Writing What was the most interesting thing you learned from this presentation?