The Statement of Purpose

It's nothing complicated—a paragraph or two broadly describing what you want to say, how you're going to organize it, what you want readers to understand, feel, believe. The paragraphs are written for yourself, to clarify your ideas and to give you a guide; you don't have to worry about anyone else's reading them. Even so, you may find on occasion that composing a statement of purpose is difficult, perhaps impossible. What that means is that you don't really know what your purpose is. Yet even failure is worthwhile if it makes you confront and answer the question: Just what am I aiming at in this paper?

Not facing that question before they begin to write is one of the chief causes people suffer from writing block. It's not so much that they can't think of what to say, as that they haven't thought about what they can say. Ideas do not come out of the blue; as we saw in the last chapter, they have to be sought. And when they are found, they don't arrange themselves. A writer has to think about the why and how of using them.

Many of us think better if we write down our ideas. That's all a statement of purpose is really, thinking out loud, except with a pencil. The thinking, however, is not so much about the subject itself as about the problems of focusing and communicating it.

Here's how a statement of purpose might look for a theme about attitudes toward sex, love, and marriage in the 1990s:

It seems to me that today people in their twenties feel differently about sex, love, and marriage than young people did in the 1960s. I'm not claiming the differences are universal, that every young adult today feels one way, while every young adult twenty years ago felt another. Just that the predominant tone has changed. want to identify and describe these differences, focusing on the nineties, and to discuss why the changes came about. see a problem of organization. Am I going to organize primarily around the differences themselves, first attitudes toward sex, then attitudes towards love and marriage? In this case, a discussion of causes would be subordinate. On the other hand, I could make the causes my main points of organization, beginning with a relatively detailed discussion of how attitudes today are different, but spending most of the paper in discussing how feminism, the hardening economy, and a tougher, more self-centered approach to life have combined to bring about the changes. think do it this second way. What want readers to see is less of the facts about the new attitudes to ward sex, love, and marriage, and more of the social and cultural causes generating the change.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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