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Writing Solutions: 5 Different Ways To Organize An Essay

You really only need 1 great way to organize your paper, but since some strategies work better for some people, here are 5 different organizational methods for you to choose from. They each have their advantages and disadvantages. Some are easier to implement than others.

  1. The first strategy is to use a chronological or time arrangement. In this type of essay, the events would be listed in the order in which they occurred. This type would work well for papers based on historical events or current affairs in which the time frame of the events is an essential part of the topic.
  2. Geographical arrangements are also a popular style for writing a paper. In this circumstance, the content is written in a place-to-place fashion.
  3. A cause and effect style of paper could be organized into a logical style by using chains of reasoning.
  4. Listing is another method. For example, “five ways to get a better sleep”.
  5. Evidentiary is the method used when presenting evidence. It starts with the most important piece and considers all the figures, graphs, facts, statistics and trends. All sources must be credited.

There are many other choices, but these are 5 of the most popular and well-known. When you begin your essay, look at each of the styles and see which one you think would suit your topic the best. Some students find a way to combine two styles and incorporate traits of each into their writing. This may work for you too.

A great strategy to use includes 3 x 5 index cards. Write an idea on each one and then spread out the cards. Look at them all collectively and decide which the main ideas are and which can be used as supporting evidence. Now arrange them into columns, with the main ideas on top and the supporting ones underneath each. This is a great way to create your outline for your essay. It puts everything out where you can see it so you can organize it.

Your outline helps you see if you’ve missed something in the research and you need to go back and find some more sources. As you read through each source, make sure to write down the proper citations. It’s quite common to need to go back to the original source to get more information or clear something up.


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