Thursday, November 7, 2013

Recipe for Organization

  ** Written by Lindsey Burke**
       To produce a powerful and complete discussion on a topic, we know that organization plays a key role in its overall success.  Just as in cooking, we need to know when to introduce certain ingredients so that together, everything can be cooked to absolute perfection.  And, of course, the more tasty the dish, the more “wowed” the chef leaves the audience of diners. 

            When a chef is creating an original dish, he or she might begin by composing a recipe that they expect to follow and perhaps modify along the way.  Similarly, writers can create an outline.  In academic writing, teachers often provide students with an assignment sheet that details all of the essential components that must be present in the paper.  Do not underestimate the importance of this document!  That is your list of allergies and special dietary information for your audience (after all, we know how grumpy someone can be when they notify the chef of specific necessities or requests, but the chef makes the order incorrectly and includes the wrong things).  In addition, this sheet illustrates all of the major subtopics and components of the “main course,” that is, the different foods that your teacher wants you to have on your plate. 
In your outline, you can list each of these subtopics separately (and leave some space between each one).  Try giving each of these sections a title, or try wording each one in the form of a short answer question if it makes writing easier.  Also, be careful to make sure that your list is in a logical order.  By doing this, each topic will be able to build off of the information provided in the one before it. 
Then, when you have considered each of these subtopics or main groups of food that will make up your plate, think about what ingredients are needed in the making of each item.  In terms of writing, think about how that subtopic relates to the overall subject of your essay.  How can you address that idea by using information from your sources?  Do you use any of the same ingredients in this subtopic, as you do in another?  Does that relationship mean anything? 
Once you’ve written a paragraph or two for each main component, and when all subtopics are cooked to perfection, think about an appetizer (introduction) and a desert (conclusion) that might go well with your main dish and fit nicely with the theme of your paper.  Your thesis should introduce each of your subtopics or food groups that will appear in your paper or on your plate.  Then, put everything together and serve by compiling all sections into one word document.  And voila! Bon appetit!  The finished product is a paper where nothing is over or under-cooked, and instead, everything’s developed just right.  Yet, in order to create a paper that’s well organized, it’s important to first spend time thinking about the topic and planning.  If a chef didn’t do this and improvised instead, their meal would probably turn out gross!

No comments:

Post a Comment