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Starting up a new essay or research paper is not as easy at it sounds. It should involve serious brainstorming and in-depth research. Organizing and generating ideas are important. If you do not know how to organize your thoughts properly, then you will surely fail generating effective ideas for your paper.

Brainstorming for ideas is the first step towards writing, followed by the development of a strong sketch plan. With that said, you must know how to assess the writing situation.

Writing situations are situations that define the different elements you encounter as you write your essay or research paper. The following are the key elements you should remember:

  1. Subject
  2. Sources of Information
  3. Purpose
  4. Audience
  5. Length and Document Design
  6. Reviewers and Deadline

To make use of those elements, be sure to develop a checklist that will constantly remind you how you would approach each. For instance, it must remind you that when it comes to the subject of your paper, you should be able to provide reasons why it is worth writing about. Furthermore, you must find out and confirm how broad or narrow your chosen topic is. Overall, it must serve as a guide – to help you remember the basic important things to consider in writing your paper.

Important points to consider for each element:


  1. Determine if the subject has been given to you by your professor or you have the freedom to choose your own. 
  2. Think about the importance and value of your subject.
  3. Analyze how broad or narrow your subject topic is. Look for hints on whether you have to narrow your topic down or not.
  4. Identify how much details you need to provide.

Sources of Information

  1. Decide where you will acquire the information you need for you paper. There are basically a lot of options: from personal experience, direct observation, interviews, questionnaires, and literatures.
  2. Determine the type of documentation you are required to do. If you have the freedom to do so, determine how you can document information in an organized fashion.

Purpose of the Paper

  1. Identify the purpose of your paper. Possible reasons are: to inform, to persuade, to entertain, to call to action, or a combination of two or more of those.


  1. Identify who your readers are and how well-informed are they about your subject.
  2. Identify the level of interest of your readers on the subject and if there any possibilities they will resist the ideas you present.
  3. Identify your relationship with your readers.
  4. If possible, determine how much time they would be willing to read your paper.

Length and Document Design

  1. Determine what length and document design are appropriate for your readers.
  2. When deciding for a document design, look for guidelines or examples you can consult with.

Reviewers and Deadlines

  1. Be sure to know who will review your draft in progress.
  2. Identify when your deadline would be and how much time you will need to allow for the various stages of writing.

By assessing the writing situation, you can easily identify the basic rules and limitations of your paper. It will help you greatly in managing and structuring the contents, will keep you in track, and will refresh your when lost and confused.

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