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Structuring Your Writing (Module 2 of 3)

In college, most of our writing is to inform or persuade the reader. In any type of writing, you will likely need to research ideas. If you use someone else ideas, you will need to use those ideas as sources and cite them. You will also need to structure your writing into paragraphs.

Top Tips

  • Focus on your purpose.Ask yourself throughout the writing process if that is what you are doing.
  • Focus on your reader.What will your reader expect?
  • Cite all of your sources of support.Plagiarism is painful. The 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 paper.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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