Many people come to the Writing Center for help getting information organized. They have already selected and researched their topic, but now they don't know what to do with the information they have collected. There are several steps in the process, each one discussed below.
If you used a brainstorming list or a topic mapping to get your ideas flowing, you can now return to that sheet and look for ideas that go together.
Look for the "big" ideas first. Now that you've done some reading on the subject, you will be better able to judge what the more important ideas are. If you are a list-maker, dividing your paper into columns, put one main idea in each column at the top and underline it. Follow up by putting related, supportive, but less dominant ideas underneath the main ideas.
If you're more of a visual person, you can set up your "map" like a family tree: put those main ideas in key spots on the paper (and underline them); then put related, supportive, but less dominant ideas underneath with lines connecting them to the main ideas. Connect specific details to their related ideas in the same way.
Grouping ideas has several benefits:
The mode the teacher may have assigned will play some role in the ordering of these "modules" that you have already planned. If no mode has been specified, then there are still several options that you can use depending on the assignment or writing circumstances.
Since the thesis is the single most important sentence of the essay, you want to spend some time making it clear and emphatic. Your purpose in the assignment will largely shape its development. If you are informing, your thesis should provide a clear statement of the most significant concept you have learned from your study and want to share with your audience. If your purpose is to argue, your thesis should make a clear assertion of the idea you intend to prove.
Be sure to consult your writing/composition text for more specific examples and illustrations of these techniques.