for the Humanities:
If you've ever written a paragraph or essay, you know that one of the most difficult stages of the writing process is organizing all of your notes and examples into a coherent outline. The following typologies are possible ways to create order out of chaos! They are different ways to organize your information into groups of like-minded ideas, which in turn can become sections in paragraphs or body paragraphs within an essay.
- A common way of organizing your examples is according to thematic typologies. Here are the most common:
- Politics (means of resolving conflict: government, law, military, ideologies, social movements, etc.)
- Economics (means of meeting material needs through production and distribution: money, ownership, wealth, income etc.)
- Culture (human expression: arts, media, language, beliefs, philosophy, religion, etc.)
- Technology (machinery, tools, equipment, organizing ideas, etc.)
- Society (group structure & interaction: class, race, ethnicity, caste, etc.)
- "Society" is often used as a general term that incorporates #1-4 and #5; we will use the narrower, sociological definition above.
- Another useful typology is geography. Sometimes you may wish to analyze a topic by comparing it from one country or region to the next.
- You may wish to compare or evaluate two or more concepts (e.g. A and B);if this is so, then you could:
- argue that one idea is better than the other (e.g., A is better than B).
- demonstrate that the similarities of A and B are more significant than the differences (or vice versa).
- The key in both cases is that your written response has to incorporate two or more conflicting ideas or issues. You have to be careful that you don't contradict yourself.
- Also beware of a golden rule of formal writing: the pro-thesis idea(s), such as "A" or the similarities in the above examples, should always go at the end of the body just before the conclusion.
- Transitional phrases help make the movement from one idea to another much smoother, so use them!
- Sometimes it makes sense to explain an event by describing the sequence in which the events occur.
- One advantage of explaining things chronologically is that it better explains what are the causes and effects of an event.
- The best way to analyze an event chronologically is to divide up your response into three sections:
- 1. Causes
- What are the long and short-range causes of the event?
- 2. Sequence of Events
- What was the actual sequence of events, from the moment it was triggered to the moment it was concluded?
- Try to focus on only the major events; don't get bogged down in detail.
- 3. Outcomes (short and long-range)
- Describe what resulted from the event. Were there immediate results? Were there any long-lasting results?
You may wish to mix these typologies. Thus, if you organize an essay thematically, you could still explain each example within a typology in a chronological fashion.