Create a detailed outline, mapping out each paragraph and highlighting each main point to your argument. Establish a main argument or thesis statement and include that in your introductory paragraph. Make sure that the sources and evidence (research, quotes, facts/statistics, etc.) you use to support your argument does in fact clearly support your main argument/thesis. If your evidence does not clearly relate, provide analysis and discussion showing the reader how your evidence supports your main argument. Provide lots of examples and summarize why the examples and other evidence support the argument. Use transitional phrases from one main idea to the next idea, and from paragraph to paragraph. As you write follow your outline.
First off, I would highly recommend that you review the handouts that are located on the rack near the front of the SLC under the title “Writing Tutoring”. These handouts will help you with anything and everything you may have questions about—coherence, unity, introductory sentences, transition sentences, concluding sentences, sentence structure, paragraph construction, organization, thesis statements, grammar, punctuation, formatting, etc.
There are a number of strategies that you can utilize to ensure that you remain on track and do not lose sight of the focal point of your paper. Like Melissa mentioned about, creating a detailed outline which clearly maps out the organizational breakdown of each component of your paper is your first step. Once you have decided what your thesis statement will be, all sentences and paragraphs from that point on should not only support your thesis, but it should all tie back in with one another at some point in time. Once you have completed the first draft of your paper, go through and delete the information (words, sentences, paragraphs) that do not relate to your thesis statement. Also, avoid irrelevant and/or unnecessary information and run-on-sentences.
Diagram from “Understanding Unity” handout
Paragraph Structure= Topic Sentence—> Supporting Detail—> Specific Details