Types Of Organization In Essays

9 Organizational Patterns-Examples & Traits

Examples and questions to consider when using and identifying one of the 9 major organizational patterns
Arranges information according to how two or more things are similar or different from one another (or both).
How to Make Wine
I. Step One: Harvest the grapes
A. Harvesting procedure number one
B. Harvesting procedure number two
II. Step Two: Prepare the grapes
A. Preparation procedure number one
B. Preparation procedure number two
Topics involving geography and locations fit well here.
Types of Wine
I. Red Wines
A. European
1. Bordeaux
2. Chianti
B. Californian
1. Zinfandel
2. Pinot Noir
To identify it, ask yourself: What happened first? What was the result? Did something good or bad happen? Why?
To "compare" things is to show how they are __________
Provides focus and direction as the writer composes the document;
Increases the ease with which one can understand and remember the information
Each main section of information represents a particular period of time; Sub-points contained within refer to significant events that occurred within that time frame
The History of Flint, Michigan
I. 1895 - 1920
A. Significant Event # 1
B. Significant Event # 2
II. 1920 - 1945
A. Significant Event # 1
B. Significant Event # 2
Similar to chronological; Arranges information in a "step-by-step" order that describes a process
You want to describe how something looks or how parts work together.
To identify it, ask yourself: What are the two main topics? What similarities do they share? What differences exist between them?
To identify it, ask yourself: Where are they talking about? Did a direction or location change?
It's effective when writing a persuasive document in which the writer wants readers to take some action to solve a problem
Things to do in Seattle
I. Downtown Waterfront
A. Aquarium
B. Pike Place Market
II. Seattle Center
A. Space Needle
B. Pacific Science Center
To identify it, ask yourself: What needs to be changed? What was wrong? How can it be made better? What do you want me to do?
To show "contrast" is to show how things are ___________
Use when the reader can better understand one subject when it is described in relation to another
To identify it, ask yourself: Am I following a timeline? What clues let me know I'm going through a time period?
Arranges information according to different sub-topics within a larger topic Or explains the "types" of things that fall within a larger category.
Choosing Between a 2 or 4-year College
I. Points of Comparison
A. Educational Programs
B. Cost of Tuition
II. Points of Contrast
A. Quality of Education
B. Type of Degree
Advantages-Disadvantages Pattern
Organizes information about a topic by dividing it up into its "good" and "bad" parts, or pro's and con's
Topics of an historical nature are best organized using this pattern
Using this pattern, each "type" represents a main section of information
Choosing Between a 2 or 4-year College
I. Cost of Tuition
A. Two-year
B. Four-year
II. Quality of Education
A. Two-year
B. Four-year
Arranges information according to a progression of time.
Advantages-Disadvantages Pattern
It is a good choice when a writer wishes to objectively discuss both sides of an issue in a fair, non-biased, and non-persuasive manner
Argumentative & Abusive Relationships
I. Causes of Conflict Escalation
A. Expanding the issues
B. Personal attacks
II. Effects of these causes
A. Lose focus on original issue
B. Cycle of defensive responses
C. Win-Lose orientation
D. Negative emotions
I. Cause: Expanding the issues
A. Effect: Lose focus on original issues
B. Effect: Cycle of defensive responses
II. Cause: Personal attacks
A. Effect: Negative emotions
B. Effect: Win-Lose orientation
Divides information into two main sections, one that describes an issue and one that describes how to deal with or put an end to those issues
Designed to compel the reader to make some kind of change in opinion or behavior
Not necessarily a pattern, but this organizational style can be used as an added feature with other patterns
I. Problem: Motorized Transportation
A. Increasing traffic congestion
B. Increasing pollution
C. Increasing "road rage" from traffic- related stress
II. Solution: Riding Bicycles
A. Bike riding reduces the number of motorized vehicles in use
B. Bike riding is not a source of pollution
C. Bike riding has physical and psychological health benefits
The most commonly used format
Works when no others will
Advantages-Disadvantages Pattern
Why Go to MSU?
I. Advantages
A. Cost
B. Accessibility
II. Disadvantages
A. Number of educational programs
B. Quality of instruction
Reasons to save the best point for last.
We're more likely to remember your final main points or ideas.
It keeps the reader interested.
Emphasizes or builds up to a strong conclusion.
Main points are presented in order of importance, intensity, or interest.
Main points help to show how the parts work together, or fit together, in space
Says, "because of that, this happened" and shows the reasons why certain positive and negative things happen.
I. Red Wines
A. European
1. Bordeaux
2. Chianti
B. Californian
1. Zinfandel
2. Pinot Noir
Each main section of information represents a main step that one would follow in an actual process.

Patterns of Organization for Essay Assignments

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Patterns of organization for essay assignments vary, but the one thing they all have in common is creating a logical and organized way to present information. No particular pattern is perfect for every type of essay, writer or piece of content. Only by carefully considering the information you identified in prewriting and learning about your topic can you decide on the best pattern of organization.

Patterns of organization do two things for your essay assignments. They present information logically, and they present information in an order that stays interesting to your readers. Essentially, patterns put all the pieces together to create a strong and effective essay. Learn about the different patterns or organization below to decide how to best organize your essay.

Chronological pattern of organization

A chronological pattern organizes information as a progression of time. The time can move forward or backward as long as a logical progression takes place. Best suited for topics that are broken into segments of time, a chronological pattern consists of main sections covering a particular period of time and subsections under each main section covering segments or events within the time period of the main section. When you’re writing about a historical topic, this pattern works well.

Sequential pattern of organization

A sequential pattern organized information in a step-by-step process. It is similar to the chronological pattern because the steps occur over a period of time in a particular order. However, the sequential pattern essentially describes the steps in a certain process. The main sections cover each main step, and the subsections cover the sub-steps. This organization allows you to identify the key steps and to provide the detailed process for that step within the subsections. When you’re writing an essay assignment to describe a process that occurs in a series of steps, the sequential pattern works well.

Climactic pattern of organization

A climactic pattern organizes information from the least important to the most important. As your essay assignment develops and builds throughout the essay, the crescendo of information holds the attention of readers. In essence, you’re saving the best information and part of the essay for last. When you’re writing an essay that builds up to a finishing point, your journey to winning a medal for example, the climactic pattern works well.

Reverse climactic pattern of organization

A reverse climactic pattern organizes information in the exact opposite of the climactic pattern: the most important information precedes the least important. Use caution in choosing this method. While it works well in journalism with the inverted pyramid style of writing, it makes it more difficult to keep your readers’ attention in essay assignments. Using your journey to winning a medal as an example, your essay would start with the act of winning the medal and work backward through the process that got you to that point.

Spatial pattern of organization

A spatial pattern organizes information in a way that leads your readers from one point to the next according to how things fit within a physical space. It allows you to create a mental picture of the parts of something using description to describe psychical location. When you’re writing about geography or explaining multiple things located in different locations (think of a to-do list for a popular city), for example, the spatial pattern works well.

Topical pattern of organization

A topical pattern organizes information into subtopics that fall into larger topics, or examples of types falling into a category. When another pattern of organization doesn’t work, the topical approach generally does; think of it as the catchall pattern. For this reason, it is the most commonly used pattern of organization for essay assignments. If you were writing about cheeses, for example, you would have types of cheese as a larger topic and the individual types as subtopics.

Whatever pattern of organization you use for your essay assignments, make sure to consider any specific instructions from your instructor first by thoroughly reading and understanding the assignment. While these are some of the most common patterns not covered in a specific essay format, they are not the only patterns of organization. Always consider the scope and nature of your topic to pick the pattern best suited to writing a strong paper.

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