Once you’ve chosen a topic and have started to research it, you’ll want to begin organizing your information. As you gather information to support your topic, take notes on what you read so that you can remember important points or ideas that you want to include in your paper. Taking the time to plan how your paper will be organized and what information you want it to include can make the process of sitting down to write go more smoothly.
Freewriting (Example or Blank Template)
Grab a piece of paper and write down any ideas that come to mind about your topic. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar – just write! Once you’re finished, look at what you’ve written. There will be some junk – but there may also be great ideas for you to use. Sometimes just getting started is all it takes.
A cluster diagram can help you visualize the main points of your paper. Write your initial topic in the center bubble. Use the surrounding bubbles to add supporting points/arguments you want to address. Add bubbles as needed – brainstorming techniques like this can help you organize and connect ideas.
A tree diagram begins with the initial idea or topic which is then broken down into subtopics. The subtopics are more focused in nature to help you to narrow down your topic into something more manageable. This method can also help you identify your main ideas.
If you are being asked to compare and contrast ideas, a venn diagram can help! It uses circles to visualize concepts and how they are related. Fill the areas that don’t overlap with information unique to each concept. Fill the area where the circles overlap with information the concepts have in common.