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Structuring Your Writing (Module 2 of 3)

In college, most of our writing is to inform, explain to or persuade the reader. You will also need to structure your writing into paragraphs in a form that help to inform, explain or persuade. In any type of writing, you will likely need to incorporate someone else's ideas. If you use someone else's ideas, you will need to use those ideas as sources and cite them.

Top Tips

  • Focus on your purpose and your audience first.  Awareness of these two aspects are critical to writing with meaning.
  • Cite all of your sources of support.Plagiarism is wrong. College librarians can help.
  • Be sure you can back up your position.Do you have enough credible support for the position you have taken or the points you are making?
  • Think about how you might organize your writing. Choose ‘text structures’ that might work in your writing. The most common structures found in academic writing are comparisons, contrasts, causes, effects, and problems/solutions.
  • Structure your writing.Most writing will have some form of an introduction with supporting paragraphs or points and a conclusion.
  • Remember your topic sentences.If you are writing paragraphs, each supporting paragraph should have a clear topic sentence.
  • Never “drop” a quotation into your writing.Always introduce the quotation and explain it after.
  • You don’t always have to use a quotation to make your point.You can get the key point and express it in your own words (paraphrasing and/or summarizing).
  • Use the appropriate level of language for this type of writing.Be aware of tone, who your audience is and the purpose for writing.

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