April 21, 2021

Essay Writing 101: Micro-Organization

By Sona Mathews

In this article, we will simply take the ideas that we have been dealing with thus far and apply them on a smaller scale.

Instead of dealing with the body of an essay as a whole (i.e. macro-organization), the focus of this article will be on micro-organization.

Essay Writing 101: Micro-Organization: eAskme
Essay Writing 101: Micro-Organization: eAskme

Other people are at: Standard Essay Format: [Explained] Everything that You Must Know

Or, in other words, how to structure the paragraphs that support the macro-pattern of organization and the thesis statement.

Being clear about precisely what part of an essay is being discussed will be crucial.

Therefore, broaching this topic with clarity will require the introduction of some new terms.

According to essaywritingservice, the following sections will lay out the relationship between macro and micro methods of organization and the various ways in which they can interact.


Working from most general to most specific, the elements of an essay to be discussed here are:

  • Topic - Thesis - Macro-organization - Major Details - Topic Sentences - Micro-organization.

The two articles referred to the above deal with the first three terms.

As we have not used the term Major Detail (MD) yet, let's move directly to clarify what they are.

Major Details

MDs directly support the claims in the thesis and they are organized according to the macro-pattern of organization.

To support the thesis, they must be more specific.

For an example of this, let's return to the thesis for a process pattern used in the article on thesis statements.

  • Thesis: Several steps must be followed if gold is to be efficiently extracted and refined from the bedrock in South Africa's Witwatersrand region. So, the macro-pattern would be a progression of steps. In this case, the first MD (MD1) would read something like:
  • MD1: The first step in processing gold is to separate pieces of gold-containing rock from the bedrock.

Let's recap. Above we have a thesis, which clearly states the topic and the macro-pattern of organization.

We can also call these two elements by different names.

The thesis is a type of the Main Idea (MI) and the macro-organization pattern can also be referred to as a Major Pattern of Organization (MPO), which was dealt with in the article on macro-organization.

Main Ideas

Two types of MIs need to be distinguished. One we already know the thesis statement.

The other will become relevant now.

On a smaller scale, we can use the notion of MI about MDs. But an MD is not the main idea.

The main idea form of an MD is a topic sentence.

Topic Sentences

Just as the thesis sentence must contain a topic and pattern of organization, so too must the topic sentence.

The difference is the specificity of the information. A topic sentence will almost always be more specific than the thesis.

Otherwise, the thesis and topic sentence perform similar functions. That is, they both alert the reader of what is to follow.

The topic sentence just works on a smaller scale.

Let's continue our example to distinguish between MDs and topic sentences. Two possible topic sentences for MD1 used above would be:

  • Topic sentence 1: The first step in processing gold is to separate pieces of gold-containing rock from the bedrock. There are two common methods of doing this.
  • Topic sentence 2: Over the years, there have been two approaches often used to extract gold from bedrock in the Witwatersrand region.

Note the differences between the first and second examples.

The first example is more explicit than the second.

This has the benefit of making it very clear. It has a couple of problems though.

Firstly, it sounds stiff and, secondly, putting it in two sentences makes it a little clunky and inefficient.

In contrast, the second example has a little more flair than the first.

More importantly, though, it is more precise.

By introducing not only that there are two methods of extraction, but also that there is a historical dimension at work, the second topic sentence can impart more information on the topic with fewer words than the first.

Being an essay writer, I can say that Its shortcoming is that it does not mention that it is the first step in the mining process.

It is likely though that this would be inferred based on its location in the paper and the action it is describing.

In either case, the important point to note is that the micro-level pattern of the organization has been set up.


In contrast to MPOs, of which there is typically only one in a paper, there will be many different minor patterns of organization (MPO) in an essay.

These MPO will be nestled within the MDs, which are organized around the MPO. It's a jumble of jargon, I know, but it is useful.

Let's continue to develop our example.

I'm going to use the second topic sentence example from above, as it does an overall better job of setting up the MPO.

  • Topic sentence: Over the years, there have been two approaches often used to extract gold from bedrock in the Witwatersrand region.

It seems as though there might be two MPO suggested.

The words, "Over the years" indicate that a time dimension is involved.

But, the presence of "two approaches" also indicates something.

They tell us that a list could be following. So which is it, a time or listing pattern?

In my opinion, the emphasis should be placed on listing the two types of extraction methods.

A writer must always remember their ultimate priority: to support the thesis.

So, if the thesis is describing a process of extraction, then listing the different methods to complete the first stage in the process is more important than when these methods were practiced.

That is not to say that the writer should ignore the historical dimension.

It would be an oversight to do so. However, in terms of organizing the information, it would best serve the essay to employ a listing pattern for this MPO.

But writing is not an exact science.

If a writer feels that they can justify another choice, if they believe a time order would best serve their argument, then by all means they should follow their instinct.

One more point should be clarified.

Just because a listing pattern was used as the MPO for the first MD, that does not mean that all subsequent MPO would also be listing.

In the following sub-section, a sustained example will demonstrate the variety of MPO that can be used throughout an essay.

Putting it all together (A sustained example)

We will continue the example used throughout this lesson and extended it through several stages of the essay's body.

This will demonstrate the extent to which different patterns of organization can be used to support one another.

Thesis: Several steps must be followed if gold is to be efficiently extracted and refined from the bedrock in South Africa's Witwatersrand region.

  • MPO: Process
  • MD1: The first step in processing gold is to separate pieces of gold-containing rock from the bedrock.
  • MD1's topic sentence: Over the years, there have been two approaches often used to extract gold from bedrock in the Witwatersrand region.
  • MD1's MPO: Listing
  • MD2: The second step in processing gold is to transport the excavated rock to the refining facility.
  • MD2's topic sentence: Transporting the unrefined, gold-infused bedrock to a refining facility is a major procedure.
  • MD2's MPO: Process
  • MD3: The third stage in gold processing is the refining process.
  • MD3's topic sentence: There are competing processes for refining, each of which bears some relation to one another.
  • MD3's MPO: Comparing and Contrasting

As you can see, MPO can be neatly stacked within the MPO in an article.

It is even possible to start stacking other patterns of organization within each MPO.

For instance, in MD3's MPO the author could describe each of the processes before noting in what ways they are similar and different.

Therefore, two process patterns could be nestled within the comparing and contrasting pattern.

How many paragraphs should be used?

I have avoided telling the reader how many paragraphs should be used to perform a particular task. I have done this for two reasons.

  1. First of all, determining how topics and paragraphs should be divided is a domain of creativity that should be left to each writer to decide.
  2. Second of all, it is impossible to say. Without having any knowledge of the details of a piece of writing, it would be inappropriate to dictate when and where paragraphs should be formed.

Use your best judgment. If a paragraph looks like it's getting too long for your comfort, then find a suitable place to divide it.

Pay attention to the pattern of organization at work in that paragraph. Find a point in the pattern that would benefit from having a new paragraph.

For instance, if you were listing something and the first point was running long, start a new paragraph on the second point.

Or, if the first two points are quite short, put them in one paragraph and the third point in a new one.


In this lesson, we covered how to use the major patterns of organization to complement one another in support of a thesis.

While only one sustained example was offered, the principles at work in it can be generalized to any piece of writing.

Paying attention to what you are trying to accomplish and how you are trying to accomplish it at every stage in an essay.

This is essential in crafting a sustained, coherent argument.

There are no rules in writing.

There is nothing that must be and there is nothing that must not be in any particular piece.

But some techniques can be employed to determine how to best approach a particular problem.

You can always be certain that your writing will benefit from being organized, clear, and to the point.

About the author: Timothy M. Wilson works as a content provider. He is interested in self-development and spiritual awakening. So he likes keeping up with modern tendencies of personal development. It helps him plan and have time to do everything.

If you still have any question, feel free to ask me via comments.

If you find this article interesting, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family.


Because, Sharing is Caring!

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and join eAskme newsletter to stay tuned with us.

You May Also Like These;