Types of Graphic Organizers
There are several graphic organizers available for you to use, and some work better for a specific essay style than others. In general, though, there are a few that will be useful to you the next time you write an essay.
1. The basic Outline is an essay classic. In an outline, you number the paragraphs of your essay using Roman numerals. Start with your introduction, then include a paragraph to cover each supporting detail, and end with your conclusion. Underneath your Roman numerals you can list your main topics for that paragraph using capital letters, then use numbers to list the details under each topic. The outline is particularly well-suited to writing a five-paragraph essay. Find an interactive essay map outline tool here.
2. A compare and contrast map will help you organize your thoughts for, what else? A compare and contrast essay. A basic compare and contrast map will help you outline your information ahead of time. You might choose to write a description of topic #1, then a description of topic #2, then a conclusion. Instead, you might choose to write about the similarities between topics #1 and #2, then their differences, then your conclusion. Or you might choose to focus on one specific point for both topics, then a second point for both topics, then your conclusion. In either case, a compare and contrast map can help you organize these thoughts as notes before turning them into an essay. Other students find it useful to use a Venn Diagram for comparing and contrasting, or even a simple outline format.
3. For a persuasive essay, consider using a persuasion map to organize your ideas. A persuasion map is like a flow chart; you start with your main topic and then list three (or however many you have) supporting details for that topic. Then you split those supporting details into further evidence. When you list your ideas in this format, it helps you see very quickly which ones you can support well and which ones will make for thin arguments in your paper. Then you can add or take away details as needed in order to round out your persuasive argument before writing your essay.
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