day 5: structuring your argument
For most of us, it’s been awhile since the 5-paragraph essays (or the GRE argumentative essay) but the idea is roughly the same:
Of course, your dissertation will be longer than 5 paragraphs, and a Letter to the Editor may be shorter!
But remembering the idea of topic sentences and transitions not only leads to a strong argument, but an easy to read one, too.
We’ll talk more about using outlines to organize your thoughts but if you’ve got your main ideas (topic sentences) and some drive-home points, you can try out this nifty strategy used in qualitative data analysis: print, cut, and shuffle.
Print, Cut, Shuffle
The strategy is as simple as it sounds.
Step 1: print out all your text (these could be in bullet points, outline form, or maybe you have some paragraphs written).
Step 2: cut up the printout into sections with 1 idea each.
Step 3: lay them all out on a big table and swap around the order until you find one that works!
Then, head back to your document and virtually cut/paste to match.
A great picture of the Print, Cut, Shuffle method in action during the #EpiWritingChallenge. @SarahTwardowski
Some logistic tips? Add some spaces between your different bullet points, and increase the font size before printing.
If you don't quite have your topic sentences yet, you may try printing or writing on post-it notes, and grouping ideas together. [Check out the quote of the day!]
If you're printing on post-it notes, I highly suggest using a pre-made template. You can read how to do it here, and download a template (the MS Word 1997-2003 link on that page works - note that the text boxes are there, they just aren't outlined). If that template isn't working for you, try this PDF from a super cool mom blog.
Quote of the Day
“The organization of information actually creates new information."
– Richard Saul Wurman
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