Effective Writing: Organization and Synthesis vs. Listing Ideas

Dear Colleagues

This week the challenge for us to address is writing.  Many students often question their faculty regarding the focus on grammar, organization, and format–to include APA details–of their writing.  Why?  The how you present your ideas is as important as what your ideas are.  If your reader can’t follow you, your writing has lost the ability to make your point.

The solution? Take the time to review your writing fundamentals.  First, whether email, discussion, PowerPoint, or assignment, organization is key. Begin with preparing your reader.  What is the goal of the writing? What should your reader expect? Begin with a thesis that offers a narrowing of focus and interest, summarize the purpose or assignment requirements in your own words, AND end this introduction with your writing objectives.  After reading ONLY this paragraph, your reader should know exactly what this paper will be about.  Specifically your faculty, we need to know if you understand what the assignment is asking for.

Introduction: Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em;

Body paragraphs: Tell ’em.

Conclusion: Tell ’em what you’ve told them.

Additionally, as you organize the overall paper, be sure to stay in control of the narrative.  Many writers simply list their ideas as in a book report.  Simons (2014) said this, Peters (2016) said that, and Manny (2018) offered this and then they stop.  Your reader doesn’t know why you provided all this information from these experts.  What is the point? What is the goal? AND most importantly, what is the conclusion you want your reader to come to as a result of providing this information? Simply close the loop and tell your reader why.  The reason? What if your reader comes to their own conclusion and it isn’t what you intended?  Stay in control and simply tell your reader what point(s) these author(s) support that is the focus of this writing and paragraph.

Clarity of the presentation of your ideas is crucial to ensuring that your writing is clear as to its purpose, your writing demonstrates connection and your learning, as well as ensuring that your reader knows EXACTLY what the takeaway is.

Business owners look for advanced writing skills that include more than content.  The lesson here is to focus on overall organization, synthesis, and conclusion to stay in control of the narrative.

Writing is both art and skill.  Keep working at this!  Practice, practice, practice.

My best to your success!

Dr. Cheryl Lentz
The Academic Entrepreneur


February 16th, 2018 by admin

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