Idea Development

6 Oct

Developing ideas is probably one of the most challenging aspects of writing, especially scholarly writing.


In general, analysis is the best way to develop an idea. Simply stating more examples or observations won’t allow you to get very far. Of course, analysis can be tricky. To get started, I recommend that you ask yourself these three questions about your big ideas and your smaller pieces of evidence:

1. So, what?: Ok, I’ve got this great point, but so, what? What are the implications of what I’m saying?

2. Who cares?: Why should this matter to my audience?

3. Why is the idea/example/explanation important to my main argument/claim?: How does this connect back and help to strengthen my point?


Another thing that typically helps is redefining your terms. Phrases such as “certain (or certain types),” “today’s society,” “people,” and “in this age” are empty. They don’t give me any specifics. Defining these things can help you expand your argument, and furthermore, it adds depth to your ideas. The same goes for value words such as “good,” “moral,” “bad,” and “diverse.” These words mean something different to everyone. Defining value terms can add depth and help you develop your own ideas.


Below are two links to help you when you’re stumped about how to push your ideas further:


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