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Organizing Your Material

Organizing Your Material

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Organizing Your Material

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  1. Organizing Your Material

  2. Introduction • Your report will begin with an introduction that states your thesis. Many topics require that you start by providing background information. Think about what background information should appear early on, and group that information together. Among this background information, you might want to include definitions of any key terms that may appear in your paper.

  3. Body • Events are usually presented in chronological order unless there is a good reason to present them in some other way. • As you gather notes, sort the note cards into separate piles of related ideas and information. • Once you have your note cards separated into piles of related ideas and information, come up with a phrase to describe what is in each pile. • Look for relationships among the ideas in each group of note cards. Also look for relationship among groups of cards.

  4. Ways to Relate Ideas • Chronological order: from first event to last event or from last event to first event. • Classification: in groups sharing similar properties or characteristics. • Order of degree: according to importance. • Cause and effect • Comparison and contrast • Inductive order: from specific examples to generalizations • Deductive order: from generalizations to specific examples • Hierarchical order: from class to subclass (group within a class.)

  5. Creating an outline • Before beginning your rough draft, you will want to create an outline. The outline begins with a statement of controlling purpose. It is divided into two or more major sections introduced by Roman numerals (I, II). Each major section is divided into two or more subsections introduced by capital letters (A, B). The subsections may be divided into sub-subsections introduced by Arabic numerals (1, 2), and those into sub-sub-subsections introduced by lowercase letters (a, b).

  6. Controlling Purpose: The purpose of this report is to discuss the causes of the War of 1812. • Causes of the War of 1812 • Trade conflicts with Great Britain and France • Impressment of U.S. sailors by Britain • Responses by the U.S. government • Embargo Act • Failure of the act • Problems with Native Americans • Alliance with Great Britain • Responses by war hawks • Battles and events of the War • British victories • Battle of Detroit • Fort Mackinac and Fort Dearborn • Battle of Washington • U.S. victories • Battle of Baltimore • U.S.S. Constitution