Top 6 Tips to Improve Your Essay Organization
There are several ways to organize a paper. Here are some examples of popular organization structures: Spatial, in which you set things up in space, one section of the setting at a time; Cause and Effect, in which you discuss a set of causes, then what effect they had; Compare and Contrast, in which you talk about similarities between two or more topics, then the differences; Chronological, in which you describe things in the order in which they happen or should happen. Classification and Division, in which you explain something in a general manner and then get more and more specific; as well as Problem/Solution, in which you present a problem and then explain the solution, or solutions, to the problem. These are just some ways you can organize a paper.
Organization in a Paper
Organization is very important in a paper, because it helps the reader follow the writer’s train of thought. There are several types of organization. Some of those I’ve written up here on the board. The important thing is that the writer picks a method of organization and sticks with it through the entire paper. The first method of organization is spatial organization. Say I was describing a room.
I would describe everything on the floor, then everything on one wall, and moving clockwise describe each wall, then describe the ceiling. I wouldn’t describe the couch, then a painting on one wall, then a picture on another wall, then discuss the recliner on the floor. I would focus on one area of the room before moving on to the next area. Another way to organize a paper is through cause and effect.
You could talk about something that’s going on and the effect of that, or talk about several causes and several effects. You can also compare and contrast where you’re talking about two or more things, talking about how these things are alike and how these things are different. Another way is through chronological order. You could talk about the series of events. This is great if it’s step-by-step instructions.
You wouldn’t start with something and start talking about it and say, “Oh, before you do this make sure you do this.” You would start at the very beginning. If you were talking about a recipe, you would talk about the first ingredient, then the second ingredient, then the third ingredient. That can be very good. If you’re talking about someone’s life, you would start when they were born and move all the way till where they are currently or until death.
If you’re talking about a series of events, it’s best to get the background information first and work up to today. Chronological order can be a great method of organization. Classification and division. This is talking about things that are very general and getting more specific. Problem and solution. You can talk about a problem and then the solution to that problem, or some possible solutions to that problem. These are just some basic ways to organize a paper.
There are other methods out there. There are some that you can come up with on your own. You wouldn’t have to find them. You just naturally know this is the best way to organize my paper. The important thing is: Find one way to organize your paper and stick with it. Don’t jump around between the different methods of organization.