Information Competencies For Effective Writing John A. Cagle Professor of Communication California State University, Fresno
Purpose and Decision to Start Problem exigency gives rise to need for solution and communication Build your personal motivation for the tasks ahead Purpose of writing determined: informative, persuasive, entertaining Plan how to use your time well
Need for Information Before you can speak, you've got to have something to say. Speaking and writing should be based on truth. Use scholarly tools to facilitate research -- the quest for information and knowledge.
Problem Question Purpose, interests, what you know about your topic and are interested in Process begins with forming a problem question to guide your research. The problem question is what we expect to answer through our research. Often the question is initially general, but it gets refined as you begin and continue your research.
Generate Information Needs and Questions What kinds of things will you need to know to answer the question? Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? What are the facts? What are the critical events? What is the timeline in the history of the problem? What are the causes and effects in a problem? identify topics or specific questions seek information to answer by using personal, documentary, library, and Internet resources
Techniques to Explore, Discover, and Develop Ideas brainstorm lists focused freewriting clustering thinking
Thesis State WHAT you want to say in the speech in a single sentence. The central idea of the speech or essay is called a thesis. Remember that the thesis should be appropriate to the scope and purpose of the assignment and the occasion.
Development Development is the expansion of the thesis, identifying the main lines of development, the major arguments proving your point, and so forth. Types of developmental material include definitions, facts, quotations, statistics, comparisons, contrasts, examples, illustrations, and so forth.
Criteria for Developmental Materials Audience attitude Timeliness Authoritativeness Relevance or appropriateness
Organizing Planning the introduction, body, & conclusion
Introduction Exordium: Secure attention and interest. Narratio: Give needed background on topic (what does audience need to understand to appreciate your points? Partitio: State the purpose of speech and preview the major parts
Partitio Orient audience to the thesis or purpose of essay: state the thesis directly "The purpose of this paper is to...." "Preview" the major developmental parts of the essay: state this directly "First, the history of the problem will be explored; second, the consequences...."
Body (Confirmatio) Body of paper contains the main ideas of the essay and appropriate developmental material. Arrangement of the main ideas/developmental material should be determined by the subject matter and purpose.
Conclusion (Conclusio) Summarize thesis and main points Show relevance to the course (or reason you wrote paper) Stimulate audience to want to know more, do something, think of the implications of your paper, etc.)
Transitional Material Throughout paper, the thesis should be abundantly clear. Relate each main idea to thesis and to other ideas. Use transitional “sign post” words (therefore, however, first, etc.)