Planning, Organizing, Revising, and Editing An Essay

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  • Planning


    The process of questioning, analyzing, and

    researching a topic

  • Planning


    Have you ever started an essay without a concrete

    topic? Did you have a topic but you didnt know

    what you wanted to say about it? The following

    strategies will help you to generate ideas.




  • Planning


    Initially, you explore the surface level components (shape, color, functions) of your topic. Analysis offers you a chance to search under the surface of these components and discover their significance.

    What is unique about the topic?

    What is ordinary about the topic?

    Who is involved with the topic?

    How does the topic affect those who are involved with the topic?

    What would life be like without the topic?

    Why should anyone care about the topic?

  • Planning


    Do you ever think of a good topic yet lack the background knowledge to further develop the topic? The following tips suggest how you might start your research:

    Set up a consultation with a research librarian by calling 217-206-6633

    Look through the subject guide for your discipline on the UIS library website, such as English, Communication, History, Business, and Criminal Justice

    Explore scholarly databases on the UIS library website

    Check the library catalog for relevant books, periodicals, and state government documents

  • Organizing


    The process of shaping rhetorical tools and

    analytical ideas into a clear, thoughtful essay

  • Organizing

    The Parts of an Essay



    Body Paragraphs


  • Organizing

    The Parts of an Essay

    Introduction: The introduction offers the audience an

    overview of your topic. With analytical writing, you

    want to insure that your introduction supports an

    argumentative claim that you will discuss through the

    course of your essay. One of the primary resources of

    your introduction is a thesis statement.

  • Organizing

    The Parts of an Essay

    Thesis: A statement that offers a concise, insightful, and focused rhetorical stance on your topic. A thesis statement should discuss the main argument(s) you decide to discuss. With a direct thesis, you offer your audience clarity and the ability to understand your arguments direction. For example, consider the following statement:

    Cell phones can make people behave rudely.

    This statement lacks an insightful argument. Instead, it reads like a commonly held opinion. Consider the following, more focused, statement:

    Cell phone calls crowd out time for the most important dialogue in lifethe one in our own heads.

    This thesis statement expands upon the previous ideacell phones can cause problems with human behavior. However, unlike the previous statement, this one suggests a specific problem that stems from cell phone usage.

  • Organizing

    The Parts of an Essay

    Body Paragraphs: Body paragraphs should support the

    claim(s) made in the thesis. Each paragraph begins with

    a strong topic sentence that defends the main

    argument. After this sentence, you might use a number

    of methods to support your claim(s): analysis of a text,

    statistical data, description, narrative, or historical

    information. The method(s) you choose will be based on

    your topic and/or field of study.

  • Organizing

    The Parts of an Essay

    Conclusion: The concluding portion of your essay should

    not summarize your introduction. Instead, you might

    conclude with thoughts on further study that connects

    with your topic or discussion of your topics relevance

    for future generations or cultures. Again, this largely

    depends on your topic.

  • Organizing


    Outlines help with the process of organization. You

    can choose several different formats, including

    Sentence Outline

    Idea Outline


    Flow Charts

  • Revising


    The process of rethinking or restructuring the

    argumentative aspects of an essay

  • Revising


    Appealing opening statement

    Relevant and researched background knowledge

    of your topic

    Clear and specific thesis

  • Revising

    Body Paragraphs

    Topic sentences Support the thesis

    Offer insight into the topic

    Arranged in a logical order that provides your audience with a clear pathway through your argument(s)

    Transitions Between each paragraph

    Allow the audience to read with clear comprehension

    Tie contiguous paragraphs together

    Supporting sentences Expand upon idea(s) in topic sentences

    Placed in a logical order

  • Revising


    Does not summarize introduction

    Might offer suggestions for future study

    Might suggest topics relevance for future

    generations or cultures

  • Editing

    The process of correcting grammar, spelling, and

    punctuation errors within an essay

  • Editing




    Subject/verb agreement (see handout)

    Search for strong verbs (see handout)

    Cut unnecessary or wordy material

  • Editing

    Some General Tips for Proofreading

    Read your essay aloud and slowly

    Have an unbiased pair of eyes look over your essay

    Distance yourself from your essay between revisions

  • Source

    Mauk, John and John Metz. The Composition of

    Everyday Life: A Guide to Writing. United States:

    Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010.

  • Further Questions?

    Contact The Center for Teaching and Learning


    Brookens 460

    Monday-Thursday: 8:30 7:00

    Friday: 8:30 4:30