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Focusing and Integrating Ideas



California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: July 15, 1999
E-Mail Faculty on the Site.

25 Words or Less
Paper Clips: Links Between Ideas



25 Words or Less

What's the most important thing you want the Other to know?

  • general to specific

    Suppose your topic is violence? Maybe you just want to say that violence is bad. But that would never convey to anyone that you had seriously thought about the topic of violence, and had something to say about it. The statement is too general; lacks detail.

    Maybe what you really mean is that you do not like the results of violence, would not like to engage in violence, and would like a community that discouraged violence. Because this statement is specific it immediately suggests at least three following paragraphs:

  • results of violence
  • personal choice not to engage in
  • community discouragement of violence

    Are we talking about street violence, drive by shootings, child abuse, domestic violence, war??? Chances are that one project can't cover all those aspects. So here is where you must start to choose.

    The 25 words makes you settle on a single topic - all that one paragraph can hold.

  • But you will certainly have more to say:
  • give another example
  • compare to a source - an example you read somewhere or say somewhere
  • link facts to a policy - like trust, or the need to beware, or whose interest is being protected, or why the community or the city or the state or the world needs this
  • link facts to a theory - what theories are there? in what field? could you compare it to a theory in an other field
  • link facts to underlying premises, unstated assumptions, privileged subjectivity

    Want a guide?

    Pick anything you've read that appealed to you.

  • go back and see how the ideas were linked.
  • then try linking that way