Organization of your Writing Project

Among all the principles that guide us as we organize our written arguments, the role of the paragraph--building block of the written argument--is perhaps most neglected. Only with impeccably structured and ordered paragraphs can the writer build a strong and persuasive argument. Read on this page about paragraphs and other organizational principles.

"Intelligence is the ability to take in information from the world

and to find patterns in that information that allow you

to organize your perceptions and understand the external world."

-Brian Greene

Organizational Tools for Writing

This video walks viewers through basic organizational strategies. Although aimed at students writing short essays in response to prompts, the principles can be applied to any writing project, even one as complex as a dissertation. 

Making an Outline

This video shows how to construct an outline to organize your ideas before beginning the writing process. The strategy could also be used later in the writing process, in order revise a disorganized draft and improve its structure.


Organizing Your Writing

Overall cohesiveness.  Reverse Outlines (Rachael Cayley)  |  How to Organize Your Thesis (John Chinneck)  |  Reorganizing Drafts (UNC)  |  Struggling with Structure? Break out the Scissors (Theresa MacPhail)  |  Writing Your Thesis Outline (PHD Comics)  |  Pat Thompson's series on getting flow in the thesis: connecting chapters/ chapter introductions; chapter flow/using headings to help; and connecting chapters/ chapter conclusions

Paragraphs, Words, & Sentences.  How to Write Paragraphs (Patrick Dunleavy)  |  Paragraphs (Rachael Cayley)  |  Transitional Words & Phrases (U of WI)  |  Transitions (UNC)  |  Transitional Devices (Purdue)  |   Transitions (Rachael Cayley)  |  Scaffolding Phrases (Rachal Cayley) 


Organizing Projects and People

Projects.  Asana Project Manager

People. Strategizing Group Research (Craig Dennis Howard)  |  Five Collaborative Writing Tools for Academics (Christof Schöch)  


"Today, a year after working with Margy, I can tell that my writing is much more organized. I am much more thoughtful about my sentences, and I spend more time thinking of the worth of each sentence in contributing to my overall meaning. She did a great job in helping me, and I'm sure many others as well.” 

Chelsea B.

The subject of my article was complex and my own ideas about it not yet fully formed; nevertheless, her questions elicited responses that not only clarified my own thoughts but provided the basis for a more fully developed structure as well. 

K.G., Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill