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Information Competencies For Effective Writing. John A. Cagle Professor of Communication California State University, Fresno. Purpose and Decision to Start. Problem exigency gives rise to need for solution and communication Build your personal motivation for the tasks ahead

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Information Competencies For Effective Writing

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information competencies for effective writing
Information Competencies For Effective Writing
  • John A. CagleProfessor of Communication California State University, Fresno
purpose and decision to start
Purpose and Decision to Start
  • Problem exigency gives rise to need for solution and communication
  • Build your personal motivation for the tasks ahead
  • Purpose of writing determined: informative, persuasive, entertaining
  • Plan how to use your time well



need for information
Need for Information
  • Before you can speak, you've got to have something to say.
  • Speaking and writing should be based on truth.
  • Use scholarly tools to facilitate research -- the quest for information and knowledge.
problem question
Problem Question
  • Purpose, interests, what you know about your topic and are interested in
  • Process begins with forming a problem question to guide your research.
  • The problem question is what we expect to answer through our research.
  • Often the question is initially general, but it gets refined as you begin and continue your research.
generate information needs and questions
Generate Information Needs and Questions
  • What kinds of things will you need to know to answer the question? Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? What are the facts? What are the critical events? What is the timeline in the history of the problem? What are the causes and effects in a problem?
  • identify topics or specific questions
  • seek information to answer by using personal, documentary, library, and Internet resources
techniques to explore discover and develop ideas
Techniques to Explore, Discover, and Develop Ideas
  • brainstorm lists
  • focused freewriting
  • clustering
  • thinking
organize and synthesize information
Organize and Synthesize Information
  • Academic writing in all fields today still follows the basic organizational plan recommended by Cicero
    • Exordium
    • Narratio
    • Partitio
    • Confirmatio
    • Conclusio


what to say

  • State WHAT you want to say in the speech in a single sentence.
  • The central idea of the speech or essay is called a thesis.
  • Remember that the thesis should be appropriate to the scope and purpose of the assignment and the occasion.
  • Development is the expansion of the thesis, identifying the main lines of development, the major arguments proving your point, and so forth.
  • Types of developmental material include definitions, facts, quotations, statistics, comparisons, contrasts, examples, illustrations, and so forth.
criteria for developmental materials
Criteria for Developmental Materials
  • Audience attitude
  • Timeliness
  • Authoritativeness
  • Relevance or appropriateness

Planning the introduction, body, & conclusion

  • Exordium: Secure attention and interest.
  • Narratio: Give needed background on topic (what does audience need to understand to appreciate your points?
  • Partitio: State the purpose of speech and preview the major parts
  • Orient audience to the thesis or purpose of essay: state the thesis directly
    • "The purpose of this paper is to. . . ."
  • "Preview" the major developmental parts of the essay: state this directly
    • "First, the history of the problem will be explored; second, the consequences. . . ."





Summary at end

of Narratio

body confirmatio
Body (Confirmatio)
  • Body of paper contains the main ideas of the essay and appropriate developmental material.
  • Arrangement of the main ideas/developmental material should be determined by the subject matter and purpose.


(the body of the paper)

conclusion conclusio
Conclusion (Conclusio)
  • Summarize thesis and main points
  • Show relevance to the course (or reason you wrote paper)
  • Stimulate audience to want to know more, do something, think of the implications of your paper, etc.)

Using research

in writing

Summary of findings

Signal phrase before quotation

Writer’s own thought



at the end

transitional material
Transitional Material
  • Throughout paper, the thesis should be abundantly clear.
  • Relate each main idea to thesis and to other ideas.
  • Use transitional “sign post” words (therefore, however, first, etc.)
  • Outline to see the structure of your ideas
  • Typical forms of outlines:
    • Key word outline
    • Sentence outline
revise carefully
Revise Carefully
  • Check for word appropriateness & meaning
  • Use stylistic devices to improve use of language
Check for content: logically sound? points well developed? details sufficient? enough illustrations & examples? support?
Check for overall structure--be sure introduction and conclusion are effective
  • Check for transitions--are there enough?
  • Assess the speech as you think your audience will