Organizing and Documenting Information

UNV-104 Topic 3 Resource

Introduction

You have gathered your research, it is time to create a thesis statement and start organizing all this information in the form of an outline. This will consist of writing out your introduction and conclusion, developing the main points of your three supporting paragraphs, and including in-text citation to indicate where you used outside resources.

Developing a Thesis Statement

To write an expository essay successfully, you must develop a thesis statement.  A thesis statement is a basic statement that tells your reader or audience the intent of your essay and is typically included at the end your introductory paragraph.  In other words, it provides the rationale or road map for the supporting information to be included in your essay and provides a way to organize your writing.  For example, if the topic of your expository essay was adults and online learning, your thesis could be either of the following:

  • Earning a degree online is great for working adults because it is convenient, economical, and allows them to learn with other working adults around the world.
  • For a student to be successful in earning a degree online it requires effective time management, organizational skills, and self-discipline.

Documenting Resources

Using In-Text Citation to Document Where You Included Outside Resources

The purpose of using resources is to support your writing and further your credibility as a writer. Using too many resources or too much of a resource does not allow the reader to understand your thoughts, so choose quality (scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles) resources and only enough to support, not overwhelm your writing. Instructors know you can find the resources; they want to know how your thoughts tie in with the information.

In-text citations reference your resource material within the body of your paper. Using in–text citations to give credit to others whose ideas or words you have used is an essential requirement to avoid issues of plagiarism. To avoid potential problems, always be sure to cite your sources by referring to the author’s last name and the year of publication in parentheses at the end of the sentence, such as (Johnson, 2008). If you are quoting the resource word-for-word (which you would do for a historical text, but not current journal articles), you need to include the page number as well. For example: “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” (Kennedy, 1960, p. 34). Please also note that the period in each case comes after the in-text citation, not before.

Creating and Formatting an Outline

Creating an outline is a great way to help organize your writing, regardless of the type of assignment (summaries, essays, research papers, etc.). Without an outline, you can easily veer off topic and end up with a rambling piece of writing that fails to meet the assignment objective. Once you have selected the topic, identified subtopics or related ideas, and located resources, you are ready to organize your paper.

Formatting the Outline

Title of your essay

(Aligned Center; do not use bold and all font should be 12 throughout outline and essay)

I. Introduction Paragraph (Paragraph 1):

This should be an introduction to your topic. You should include some background information for the reader and also try to gain their interest and attention in reading your essay. You also need to include your thesis statement as the last sentence in this paragraph; a further explanation is noted below, as well as an example. *Remember a good paragraph needs to be at least 5-6 sentences in length.

Thesis statement:  must be one sentence and should include your 3 sub-topic areas in which you will write about.

Example: Students can at­tain success in the online classroom through dedication, accountability, and effective time management.

II. Second Paragraph (Body Paragraph #1):

This is supporting your thesis statement and relates to the first subtopic. For example, this sub-topic would be dedication, if I was following the thesis given in the above example.

        a. Topic Sentence for this first sub-topic. (Please use complete sentences throughout outline, and cite if you are pulling information for any points made.)

        b. Supporting information or point made for first sub-topic.

        c. Supporting information or point made for first sub-topic.

III. Third Paragraph (Body Paragraph #2):

This is supporting your thesis statement, and relates to the second subtopic. For example, this sub-topic would be accountability, if I was following the thesis given in the above example.

        a. Topic Sentence for this second sub-topic. (Please use complete sentences throughout outline, and cite if you are pulling information for any points made.)

        b. Supporting information or point made for second sub-topic.

        c. Supporting information or point made for second sub-topic.

IV. Fourth Paragraph (Body Paragraph #3):

This is supporting your thesis statement and relates to the third argument subtopic. For the provided example, this sub-topic would then be effective time management.

        a. Topic Sentence for this third sub-topic. (Please use complete sentences throughout outline, and cite if you are pulling information for any points made.)

        b. Supporting information or point made for third sub-topic.

        c. Supporting information or point made for third sub-topic.

V. Concluding Paragraph (Paragraph 5):

This is where you will wrap up your essay. You need to be sure to restate your thesis statement and summarize the main points made with your arguments in the body paragraph; you want the readers to be left thinking about what they just read.

References

Purdue Online Writing. (2011). OWL: Paraphrase: Write it in Your Own Words. Retrieved

      from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/619/01/