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3.2: Methods of Development

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    After looking at ways of writing with tone, style, and ethics in mind, looking at ways to logically develop a document you write is also useful. As discussed with genre, each document as its own shape and structure. For example, we know what an email looks like because of its inherent structure. Next, we need to discuss ways of creating a logical method of development in each text you compose. Note that having a logical method of development for any writing you do will help your reader. This also helps you as it helps you move seamlessly from one idea to another.

    You probably already know that most written documents have some type of introduction and a conclusion at the end. This still holds true, but there are various methods of developing a structure to the body of your writing. The list below will describe different methods of development that will help you as you take on various writing opportunities.

    Cause and Effect method of development

    If you are writing about a solution to a problem, a cause and effect method of development may work best for your document. Start with either the cause or the effect of the event. This approach can help develop a report that offers a solution to a problem, beginning with the problem and moving onto the solution or you may begin with the solution and then describe the problem.

    Chronological method of development

    If your writing needs to focus on time or sequence, then you would use a chronological method of development. For example, if you have to write an incident report (a report that focuses on an accident in the workplace), you would trace the events as they occurred in time.

    Division and classification method of development

    This can be a useful method of development if you are describing a technical mechanism, product, or process. To use division and classification, your document separates the whole into component parts and discusses each part separately (division) or groups parts into categories that clarify the relationship of the parts (classification).

    General and specific methods of development

    If you want to proceed either from general information to specific details or from specific information to general conclusions, you use a general to specific method of development. For example, most college essays, especially essays in freshman courses, use this type of development.

    Order of Importance method of development

    If your document needs to present information in either decreasing order of importance, as in a report that starts with the most important point, or increasing order of importance, as in a presentation that ends with the most important point.

    Sequential method of development

    If your document needs to emphasize the order of elements in a particular process, like you do with step-by-step instructions, then you use a sequential method of development.

    Spatial method of development

    A spatial method of development is useful to describe the physical appearance of an object or area from top to bottom, inside to outside, front to back, and so on.

    Definition method of development

    Extends the definition of an object or mechanism with additional details, examples, comparisons, or other exploratory devices.

    Rarely will you choose just one method of development. Documents often use a blending of different methods of development. For example, in a proposal that describes the organization of a company, you might use elements from three methods of development. You could divide the larger topic, which is the company, into operations using division and classification and arrange the operations according to what you see as their impact on the company in using order of importance. If you wanted to present manufacturing operations in the order they occur, you would be using a sequential method of development. In other words, do not think a document includes just one of these methods and so when you create your own documents you need to keep this in mind.


    3.2: Methods of Development is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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