8.5 GETTING READY TO WRITE: Sewing Pieces of Writing Together

It’s time! We are finally going to take all of the individual pieces that we have written about technology and sew them together into an organic research paper. Before we start, however, it’s important to remind ourselves how an organic research paper is different than a simple five-paragraph essay.

  1. One key difference is the thesis statement. An arguable thesis gives the paper purpose, and a three-story thesis gives the writing some weight. It puts the idea into context and identifies consequences.
  2. A second key difference is the flow of information. Each body paragraph depends on the one before, and each body paragraph leads into the next. Therefore, if you changed the order of the body paragraphs, then the essay would not make sense.
  3. Finally, the conclusion doesn’t just signal the end of the essay. And it does a lot more than simply restate the thesis. Now the conclusion explains why the thesis matters.

Thesis Statement

So let’s start with the thesis statement. In the previous exercise, we already looked at how to combine your three existing thesis statements into one large enough to describe all of your research on this technology. Go ahead and paste that into a new Google Doc to get started. Here’s the example from the previous exercise:

  • Today, smart clothing is beginning to have a huge influence on the fashion industry, and many of the new developments are focused on underwear. Elite athletes already use this technology, but new developments in the health care industry may help make this form of fashion more functional. Once it is also affordable, smart clothing — and especially smart underwear — is sure to be a new staple in a person’s everyday wardrobe.


Now focus on the body paragraphs from each writing assignment. Start by collecting just the topic sentence from each body paragraph of each essay assignment and the “Digging Deeper” paragraph. Remember: The topic sentence is often — but not always — the first sentence of the paragraph.) For example:

From Essay 01:

  • Smart clothing is like a wearable computer that can monitor a person’s physical health.
  • Underwear, in particular, is receiving a lot of attention.
  • Skiin is one of the most popular new companies in this market.
  • While the advantages are clear, so are the disadvantages. (charging)

From Essay 02:

  • The problem, however, is that these sensors, like all electronics, require a power source to function. (Notice how this builds from the description of the disadvantages listed in Essay 01.)
  • Wireless charging is one promising solution to this problem.
  • A newer form of wireless charging from a company called Energous may make a difference.

From Essay 03:

  • So while athletes are the most obvious niche customers of smart underwear, health care — ranging from short-term hospital stays to long-term care to drug research — represents another potential market. (Notice that this is part of the original thesis of Essay 03; we can recycle it here to improve the flow of information.)
  • With smart clothing, doctors and nurses can easily monitor patients both in the hospital and also at home, which would lower the health care costs by not having to pay for an extended hospital stay.
  • According to ICT Results, smart clothing can also be convenient for people with long-term problems.
  • Smart clothing can also help drug companies to “better understand how their drugs perform outside the lab.”
  • Some negative factors to consider might include cost and safety.

From Digging Deeper paragraph:

  • Smart clothing — specifically smart underwear — can collect biometric data that can be useful to both athletes and anyone who cares about their health.

Study the flow of ideas in the topic sentences. Does the sequence make sense? Does one idea lead to the next? Does each idea depend on what came before it? Remember: It’s OK to move whole paragraphs around if it helps the reader better understand your writing.

For example, one edit among the examples above should be to decide where the “Digging Deeper” paragraph should go. It gives more specific description about the technology, so it should probably come before the problem or implications. It should probably be added somewhere with the other information from Essay 01.

Use these topic sentences like a reverse outline and decide the best story to tell about your technology. Once you have the order determined, copy and paste each whole paragraph in its appropriate place.


Now copy and paste the three introductions near the top of your new document. Read them again carefully and choose only the pieces that are still relevant to your new thesis statement. Choose the most effective hook and background information. Add it to the revised thesis statement to complete your new introduction.


Do the same with your conclusions. Copy and paste all three conclusions together near the end of the new document. Read them again carefully and choose only the pieces that are still relevant to your new thesis statement. Remember that your new conclusion should answer the question, “So what?” In other words, it needs to explain why the reader should care about the paper at all.

Works Cited

Copy and paste all of the citations onto the last page of the new document. Give it the same centered heading (“Works Cited”). Put them in alphabetical order according to the first word of each citation (sometimes that’s the last name of the author, and sometimes it’s the first word of the title).  Remember that this section needs hanging indents, and it needs to start a new page.


Now go back to the title and pick (or write) the best one. Use the same size and style of font, but center it on the page. Capitalize the first letter of each word (don’t capitalize a preposition, conjunction, or article unless they are the first word of the title or part of a proper noun).  Titles should be creative and interesting; ask yourself this: If you saw this title on social media, would you click on it to learn more?

Need a little more explanation? Watch this video from Portland Community College instructor Eric Dodson about How to Connect Your Essays.


After you have all the pieces in place, now you can do a full edit. Read carefully. Pay attention to transitions and vocabulary. Look for these three things in the body of the paper:

  1. Are the ideas in the right sequence? Is the information clear?
  2. What is missing? What should be added so that the reader can better understand the thesis statement? Is the information coherent?
  3. What is no longer needed? What can be deleted because it is no longer relevant to the thesis statement? Is the information concise?

Proofreading the Draft

Take a break between editing and proofreading. When you’re ready to proofread, focus now on the small details of grammar and mechanics, such as capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and formatting. Check that all citations appear as both an in-text citation and on the Works Cited page (they must be linked by the author’s last name or, if there is no author, the title of the publication).


You will receive feedback on your draft from your instructor and/or tutor. Don’t rush through these corrections. Take time to understand the error. You want to understand how to fix it, but you also want to learn to avoid it in the future. And search the whole paper for other instances of that error because your instructor or tutor might only note the first one; it’s your responsibility to find and fix them all.  Finally, take another break and then proofread one last time before submitting your revised work to your instructor.


Appendix B has an example of a final organic research paper.

You can also find examples from other students in these three anthologies:


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