Step 3: Conclude and Organize

Your goal in this step is to reflect on what you have learned, draw a conclusion, and then organize your information to support that conclusion.

 
Quote icon
Quote icon
“Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.”
Quote icon
~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (Nobel Peace Prize winner)
Quote icon

What did you learn from reading, listening, and/or viewing?

Try to answer this question in one sentence—write a thesis statement. Take a stand and prepare to persuade your audience that your interpretation is correct. Make the strongest thesis statement that you can defend with the evidence that you have.

Brainstorming and sketching your ideas can help make this process easier!

Sketch out your ideas

Grab a writing device (colored pencils are fun) and a blank piece of paper. Begin with your thesis. Write it somewhere on your blank paper. Brainstorm and note ideas that you have identified in your information sources. Use arrows. Draw circles. Look for connections and patterns. Identify lines of reasoning. (Software programs such as Inspiration can also be used for this step.

  • Can you see any common ideas?
  • Which are more important? Why?
  • Look for new ideas or new ways of connecting old ideas.

Reading, viewing and listening

No ideas? Alas, my dear researcher, you must return to your sources and read (view, listen). Or, return to your search and find useful sources and then read carefully, always considering what you know and what the author is saying.

How do you organize your points to effectively persuade your audience?

Use all or some of the following steps to organize your information.

  • Sketch out your argument

    Grab a writing device (colored pencils are fun) and a blank piece of paper. Begin with your thesis. Write it somewhere on your blank paper. Brainstorm and note ideas that you have identified in your information sources. Use arrows, draw circles. Look for connections and patterns. Identify lines of reasoning. (Software programs such as Inspiration can also be used for this step.)

    • Can you see any common ideas?
    • Which are more important? Why?
    • Look for new ideas or new ways of connecting old ideas.
  • Create an outline

    Using the pattern you identified in your sketch, develop a sequential outline. Use the model below, one recommended by your teacher, or create one yourself.

    Outline Guidelines

  • Structure your argument

    Your goal is to persuade readers, listeners or viewers that your points and conclusions are true. Identify at least three reasons that show how the answer to your original research question is correct. Select the best facts and expert opinions you can give to support these reasons. Carefully consider the order in which you present your ideas.

    Ask yourself

    • Does my thesis control the direction of my outline?
    • Are all of my main points relevant to my thesis?
    • Do I have sufficient support for each of my points?
    • Is my outline logical?
    • Does my outline reflect a thorough, thoughtful argument? Have I sufficiently covered all the ground?

    Your answer to each of the above questions should be yes.

Congratulations! You have now completed your research. You have answered your question and created powerful arguments.

Schedule | Question | Gather | Conclude | Communicate: Essay - Electronic Slides - Video | Evaluate | Start Over | Printer iconPrinter-friendly view

The Research Project Calculator is a project funded jointly by MINITEX and MnLINK to develop Cool Tools for Minnesota secondary school students and their teachers. It is based on the original Assignment Calculator from the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Please tell us what you thought of the Research Project Calculator.