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Writing: Organising ideas


How to organise your ideas

Use a concept map to put down all the information you have gathered and it will help you see how you can link things together and what relates to the main idea for the assignment. Look at three different ways to try.

Axial mind map

The following axial map puts key words of your provisional thesis statement at the centre with your data (points taken from your notes) radiating outwards.

Axial Map image/svg+xml Axial Map An example of an axial map, where key words for a provisional thesis statement are placed at the centre with points taken from notes radiating outwards. grammar spelling thesis statement clear writing punctuationdiction paragraphsSUCCESSFUL ESSAY Good sentences reader-friendly rhetorical strategies logical argument topic sentence body wrap sentence vocabulary tone ‘BIG IDEA’last sentence, first paragraph planning scope direction transitions single statement concisearguable organisation avoid ambiguity! thesis statementrepeated at beginning of last paragraphends first paragraph AXIAL MAP focus

Thematic mind map

Assuming that there are three themes or points that you will develop as your key elements, you can draw a map with three category sections, into which you will sort your data.

If there are points covered by notes that don't fit into a category, they probably don’t fit in the essay or you may consider another theme section, if you see it’s important enough to be included.

Thematic Map image/svg+xml Thematic Map An example of a thematic map, where concepts are sorted into three themes, namely focus, organisation and clarity. THEMATIC MAPEffective essays have... 100 WORDS 100 WORDS 100 WORDS thesis statement reader-friendlyspellinggrammarpunctuation mechanics paragraphsintroductionbody‘wrap’ ‘big idea’scope directionone point per paragraph logical argument 500 WORDSIntro: >thesis statement para 1: “FOCUS” para 2: “ORGANISATION” para 3: “CLARITY” Conclusion:<restate thesis transition between paragraphs intelligible (makes sense!) avoid ambiguity! central point of reference

Fishbone mind map

The Fishbone concept map is useful for an argumentative essay. It allows you to view all the points for and against your provisional thesis statement and to evaluate the comparative strength of each side of the argument.


Fishbone Map image/svg+xml Fishbone Map An example of a fishbone concept map, which is useful for an argumentative essay. It allows all points for and against a provisional thesis statement to be viewed and the comparative strength of each side of the argument can then be evaluated. FISHBONE MAP FORAGAINST assessment don’t write essays in the workplace artificial educational skill development time-consuming VALIDINVALID focus for learning consolidate explore transform Information knowledge reports E-mailsmemos writinggrades feedback motivation mechanics punctuation grammar diction structure organising data Logicaldevelopment assessment exercise theoreticalnot practicaldot points quicker reading note-making Follow academic rules