Mapping Your Ideas
Tutor: OK, we’re making a lot of progress. You know what you want to write about, and you have a good working thesis statement.
Student: Yes, and I know where to look for information.
Tutor: Before you start collecting information, it’s time to map your ideas.
Student: What do you mean exactly?
Tutor: When you map your ideas, you come up with an outline for your paper.
Slide 2 – Developing an Outline
As we saw before, American professors expect you to produce the basic organization of an outline in academic writing.
Slide 4 – The Introduction
The introduction provides a preview of what you are going to say. It includes the thesis statement. Its purpose is to get the attention of the reader.
Slide 5 – The Body
The body contains the main discussion. It includes all your arguments, evidence, examples, statistics, and facts.
The body may be several paragraphs.
Slide 6 – Conclusion
The conclusion is the final piece of your essay. It may be a summary or re-statement of what you have said before.
Introduction – What you will say.
Body – Say it.
Conclusion – What you just said.
As Dale Carnegie said, “Say what you’re going to say. Say it. Tell them what you just said.”
Slide 8 – How Can You Get Your Ideas Into an Outline?
One way to do this is to map your ideas.
Start with a blank sheet of paper.
Or, if you use a computer, start with a drawing or paint program.
Write a general topic at the center of the page. As an example, let’s use the essay about airline fees.
As quickly as possible, let’s write down whatever we think about this topic. For now, don’t worry about organization.
Ok, here are some more words for this topic: “meals,” “drinks,” “blankets,” and “pillows.”
…and more words: “profit,” “fuel,” “baggage,” and “carry-on.”
Still more words: “reservations,” “seats,” and “headsets.”
Now we need to look for connections among all these ideas.
We can make a connection between “baggage” and “carry-on.”
…and another group among “meals,” “snacks,” and “drinks.”
We can draw lines between other ideas that seem to be related.
We can continue grouping and connecting the words as we like.
We can then arrange the words into groups as the main discussion paragraphs.
We can add some ideas to get the reader’s attention in the introduction.
Finally we can add our conclusion at the end.
Now we have all of the information we need for the basic organization of an outline.
Tutor: Now you can practice what you’ve learned about developing an outline.
Slide 26 – Ordering Activity (introduction slide)
Slide 27 – Ordering Activity
To see the summary of your activity, go to slide 29.
When you are ready, select Reflection Questions: Getting Ready to Write in the menu on the left.