The Writing Center

Structuring your WAC Paper

Aristotle's Model

You can think of your research paper—if it is an argumentative paper—as falling into the following parts:
            Statement of Facts
            Proof of Facts
            Refutation or Opposing Arguments

Some Questions to Ask for Each Part of the Paper

            Do the first 4 sentences keep my interest?
            Is the subject clearly defined in the introduction?
            Do I want to know more, keep reading?  Why?
Statement of Fact
            Does this section clearly explain the nature of the problem or situation?
            Is there anything else the reader needs to know?
            Will the problem interest my reader?
            Do I have adequate citations throughout?
            Is the argument convincing and believable?
            Does the order of the presentation seem reasonable?
            Has any obvious argument been left out?
            Has the opposing position been completely refuted?
            Do I have adequate citations throughout?
            Has the case been summarized well?
            Is the ending graceful?

Organizing a Technical Paper That Solves a Problem

Here are 8 steps to organizing such a paper from the work of Richard Larson:

  1. Definition of the problem.
  2. Determination of why the problem is indeed a source of difficulty.
  3. Enumeration of goals that must be served by whatever action is taken.
  4. Determination of goals that have highest priority for decision maker.
  5. Invention of procedures that might be implemented to attain the goals.
  6. Prediction of results of each possible action.
  7. Weighing of predictions.
  8. Final evaluation of the choice that seems superior.

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