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University of Houston - Victoria
Generate and Refine Ideas

Listing

To try listing, you will need paper and pencil or a computer. Write or type your topic at the top of the page. Then list several thoughts, facts, or ideas related to that topic using single words or short phrases. When you’re finished writing, carefully look over your list and group like items together. After you’ve grouped the items, give a title to that group. You can then list supporting thoughts and any new associations that you make about the items in the list. These groups may become major sections in your paper.

 

Let’s look at an example of listing with a writer who knew he needed to write a paper on Mary Wollstonecraft.

List One:

Mary Wollstonecraft

 

considered radical

 

Father bullied his wife

 

she established school

 

Mother was Elizabeth Dixon

 

wrote Vindication of

 

the Rights of Women

 

important document

 

in women’s liberation

 

met Captain Gilbert Imlay

 

lived with William Godwin

 

List Two:

Mary Wollstonecraft

 

“Personal History”

 

Father was Edward John Wollstonecraft

 

he bullied his wife- Elizabeth Dixon

 

Mary established school with sister at Newington Green

 

In 1792 she went to Paris and witnessed Robespierre's Reign of Terror

 

She met Captain Gilbert Imlay and bore him a daughter

 

Later, she went to live with William Godwin

 

She and Godwin eventually married due to Mary's pregnancy (March 1797).

 

In August, a daughter (Mary) was born

 

Mary died on September 10.

 

“Publications”

- wrote Thoughts on the Education of Daughters

 

Book Vindication of the Rights of Women published in 1972- Most important document in movement for women’s liberation

 

Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman

 

When in Paris she collected information for An Historical and Moral View of the Origins and Progress of the French Revolution: and the effect it has Produced in Europe- a book sharply critical of the violence of the French Revolution.

 

“Other”

 

She was a free-thinking person regarding marriage and religion

 

She advocated equality of the sexes

 

In this example, you can see the original list above and the revised list to the right. In the original list, you can see the writer typing short phrases about his topic, Mary Wollstonecraft. List two, to the right, shows an organized version of the original list to which the writer has added even more specific information.

 

You can also try “reverse listing.” If you know the main topic areas that you want to discuss in your paper, begin by listing those and then fill in the information beneath the main topic areas.