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13.03 Text organization

Decide what information is most important to include and structure it in such a way that the document is logically presented and easily understood. Do this by putting yourself in the reader’s place: What is the most important thing you would want to know if you were the reader? What would help you find the information needed?

  • Divide your text into main points and secondary points.
  • Decide on a structure. Is a brief summary of background information required? What are to be the main divisions of your document? How much detail is required? Is a question-and-answer approach appropriate?
  • Put the most important ideas first—both in the document and in each paragraph.
  • At the outset, tell your reader what your document is about and how it is organized. Use a table of contents and an introduction for longer documents.

See Chapter 11 Reports and Minutes for detailed information on the organization of reports.