Once you’ve chosen a topic and have started to research it, you’ll want to begin the process of 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.

Outlines and/or annotated bibliographies are some of the tools you can use to organize your paper before you start to actually write. 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.

Organizing your paper

Beyond the 5 paragraph essay(1 min. 22 sec.)
Two Audiences (2 min 06 sec.)
Introduction (2 min. 06 sec.)
Context (1 min. 18 sec.)
Definitions (1 min 02 sec.)
Subclaims and evidence (1 min. 36 sec.)
Tell me more: subclaims and evidence (1 min.)
Refutation of counterarguments (2 min. 41 sec.)
Tell me more: refutation (1 min. 16 sec.)
Conclusions (1 min. 49 sec.)

More Tools to Help

PDFiconWC64x64Reading & Note-taking Guide (PDF)
Taking notes as you read articles can help you keep track of important ideas and concepts you want to discuss in your paper.

PDFiconWC64x64Outline Example (PDF) or Blank Template (DOC)
An outline can help you organize your thoughts in preparation for writing your first draft. In this alphanumeric example, numbers and letters are used to subdivide a topic into separate ideas or sections. For more information about creating outlines, check out Purdue OWL’s outlining resources.

PDFiconWC64x64Annotated Bibliography Example (PDF)
An annotated bibliography can help you keep track of the articles you read as you research your paper topic. Typically, an annotated bibliography summarizes the article, assesses its claims, and explains how the article fits into your paper.

PDFiconWC64x64Case Study Analysis Format (PDF)
This handout explains how to write a case study analysis.

Legal Brief Format Example (DOC)
This document shows you the format for setting up a legal brief.

PDFiconWC64x64Identifying Supporting Evidence (PDF)
This worksheet can help you keep track of the information you want to use to support your paper’s argument.