The Speech Writing Process

By Philippe John Fresnillo Sipacio & Anne Balgos (Page 62)

Just like events planning, or any other activities, writing an effective speech follows certain steps or processes. The process for writing is not chronological or linear ; rather, it is recursive . That means you have the opportunity to repeat a writing procedure indefinitely, or produce multiple

drafts first before you can settle on the right one.

By Philippe John Fresnillo Sipacio & Anne Balgos

The following are the components of the speech writing process.

• Audience analysis entails looking into the profile of your target audience. This is done so you can tailor-fit your speech content and delivery to your audience. The profile includes the following information.

Q demography (age range, male-female ratio, educational background and affiliations or degree program taken, nationality, economic status, academic or corporate designations)

Q situation (time, venue, occasion, and size)

Q psychology (values, beliefs, attitudes, preferences, cultural and racial ideologies , and needs)

A sample checklist is presented below.

The purpose for writing and delivering the speech can be classified into three — to inform, to entertain, or to persuade .

  • An informative speech provides the audience with a clear understanding of the concept or idea presented by the speaker.
  • An entertainment speech provides the audience with amusement.
  • A persuasive speech provides the audience with well-argued ideas that can influence their own beliefs and decisions.

The purpose can be general and specific. Study the examples below to see the differences. The general purpose is to inform ….

These are examples of specific purpose….

  • To inform Grade 11 students about the process of conducting an
  • automated student government election
  • To inform Grade 11 students about the definition and relevance of

information literacy today

  • To inform Grade 11 students about the importance of effective money management

The purpose can be general and specific. Study the examples below to see the differences. The general purpose is to entertain ….

  • To entertain Grade 11 students with his/her funny experiences in

automated election

  • To entertain Grade 11 students with interesting observations of people who lack information literacy
  • To entertain Grade 11 students with the success stories of the people in the community

The purpose can be general and specific. Study the examples below to see the differences. The general purpose is to persuade ….

  • To persuade the school administrators to switch from manual to
  • To persuade Grade 11 students to develop information literacy skills
  • To persuade the school administrators to promote financial literacy
  • among students

The topic is your focal point of your speech, which can be determined once you have decided on your purpose. If you are free to decide on a topic, choose one that really interests you. There are a variety of strategies used in selecting a topic, such as using your personal experiences, discussing with your family members or friends, free writing, listing, asking questions, or semantic webbing .

Narrowing down a topic means making your main idea more specific and focused. The strategies in selecting a topic can also be used when you narrow down a topic. In the example below, “Defining and developing effective money management skills of Grade 11 students” is the specific topic out of a general one, which is “ Effective money management.”

Data gathering is the stage where you collect ideas, information, sources, and references relevant or related to your specific topic. This can be done by visiting the library, browsing the web, observing a certain phenomenon or event related to your topic, or conducting an

interview or survey. The data that you will gather will be very useful in making your speech informative, entertaining, or persuasive .

Writing patterns, in general, are structures that will help you organize the ideas related to your topic. Examples are biographical , categorical / topical , causal , chronological , comparison / contrast , problem-solution, and spatial .

The different writing patterns

An outline is a hierarchical list that shows the relationship of your ideas. Experts in public speaking state that once your outline is ready, two-thirds of your speech writing is finished. A good outline helps you see that all the ideas are in line with your main idea or message. The elements of an outline include introduction, body, and conclusion. Write your outline based on how you want your ideas to develop. Below are some of the suggested formats.

The body of the speech provides explanations, examples, or any details that can help you deliver your purpose and explain the main idea of your speech. One major consideration in developing the body of your speech is the focus or central idea. The body of your speech should only have one central idea.

The following are some strategies to highlight your main idea.

  • Present real-life or practical examples
  • Show statistics
  • Present comparisons
  • Share ideas from the experts or practitioners

The introduction is the foundation of your speech. Here, your primary goal is to get the attention of your audience and present the subject or main idea of your speech. Your first few words should do so. The following are some strategies.

  • Use a real-life experience and connect that experience to your subject.
  • Use practical examples and explain their connection to your subject.
  • Start with a familiar or strong quote and then explain what it means.
  • Use facts or statistics and highlight their importance to your subject.
  • Tell a personal story to illustrate your point.

The conclusion restates the main idea of your speech. Furthermore, it provides a summary, emphasizes the message, and calls for action. While the primary goal of the introduction is to get the attention of your audience, the conclusion aims to leave the audience with a memorable statement.

The following are some strategies.

  • Begin your conclusion with a restatement of your message.
  • Use positive examples, encouraging words, or memorable lines from songs or stories familiar to your audience.
  • Ask a question or series of questions that can make your audience reflect or ponder.

Editing/Revising your written speech involves correcting errors in mechanics, such as grammar, punctuation, capitalization, unity, coherence, and others. Andrew Dlugan (2013), an awar di ng public speaker, lists six power principles for speech editing.

  • Edit for focus.

“So, what’s the point? What’s the message of the speech?”

Ensure that everything you have written, from introduction to conclusion, is related to your central message.

  • Edit for clarity.

“I don’t understand the message because the examples or supporting details were confusing.”

Make all ideas in your speech clear by arranging them in logical order (e.g., main idea first then supporting details, or supporting details first then main idea).

  • Edit for concision.

“The speech was all over the place; the speaker kept talking endlessly as if no one was listening to him/her.”

Keep your speech short, simple, and clear by eliminating unrelated stories and sentences and by using simple words.

  • Edit for continuity.

“The speech was too difficult to follow; I was lost in the middle.”

Keep the flow of your presentation smooth by adding transition words and phrases.

  • Edit for variety.

“I didn’t enjoy the speech because it was boring.”

Add spice to your speech by shifting tone and style from formal to conversational and vice-versa, moving around the stage, or adding humor.

  • Edit for impact and beauty.

“There’s nothing really special about the speech.”

Make your speech memorable by using these strategies: surprise the audience, use vivid descriptive images, write well-crafted and memorable lines, and use figures of speech.

Rehearsing gives you an opportunity to identify what works and what does not work for you and for your target audience. Some strategies include reading your speech aloud, recording for your own analysis or for your peers or coaches to give feedback on your delivery. The best

thing to remember at this stage is: “Constant practice makes perfect.”

Some Guidelines in Speech Writing

1. Keep your words short and simple. Your speech is meant to be heard by your audience, not read.

2. Avoid jargon , acronyms, or technical words because they can confuse your audience.

3. Make your speech more personal. Use the personal pronoun “I,” but take care not to overuse it. When you need to emphasize collectiveness with your audience, use the personal pronoun “we.”

4. Use active verbs and contractions because they add to the personal and conversational tone of your speech.

5. Be sensitive of your audience. Be very careful with your language, jokes, and nonverbal cues.

6. Use metaphors and other figures of speech to effectively convey your point.

7. Manage your time well; make sure that the speech falls under the time limit.

Module 6: Organizing and Outlining Your Speech

Chronological, step-by-step, and spatial organization, learning objectives.

Explain the chronological, step-by-step, and spatial patterns for speeches and identify which topics work best for these types.

We can think of speeches organized chronologically, step by step, or spatially as following a “natural” or self-evident structure. When you’re talking about a process, for instance, walking the audience through the process step by step seems like a logical or natural choice.

Remember, though, that even if your speech is structured in a “natural” sequence, you still need an introduction that helps the listener understand why they’re listening to this story. Imagine that a friend is going to tell you a story about something that happened to them that day. First, let’s imagine that they start the story with “Something really funny happened to me . . . .” What are you listening for in the story? Now imagine if they started the story with “I’m really upset because of something that happened today.” Or “I really need your advice. Here’s what happened . . . .” With each of these different beginnings, we listen in a different way. In the first case, we’re primed to laugh; in the second, we get ready to offer comfort and sympathy; in the third, we’re prepared to problem solve. The same is true of the beginning of your speech: by setting the stage with the introduction or the “hook,” you’re letting the listener know what they’re listening for and how they should listen.


A flooded plaza

A persuasive speech about Climate Change might describe the predicted effects of global warming in chronological order.

A chronologically organized speech pattern organizes its main points following a sequence of events or occurrences according to the time they took place. This structure works particularly well for informative and introductory speeches. For example, an introductory speech about the life events that lead you to attend your college could be organized chronologically starting with the first meeting with your guidance counselor, which lead to filling out an application a few weeks later to then drafting an essay, going on a campus tour a few months after that, having an interview with the department, and then finally getting the acceptance letter. Another example of a chronological speech topic would be a speech about a historical event, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the Boxer Rebellion, or the Arab Spring, which covers the events that occurred in the order in which they happened.

The advantages of a chronological speech pattern are that it is very easy to follow and it creates a clean, clear order. The timeline does the organizational work for the speaker and makes it easy to use. The cons are that there may be many events that occurred, such as in a speech topic about women getting the right to vote, which may not fit into the speech delivery time limit. So, consider the time allotted in addition to whether the time sequence of events is the most effective way to present the material before selecting this pattern.


A simple diagram showing instructions two basic salsa dance patterns.

An informative speech about Salsa dancing might give step-by-step instructions.

This pattern presents the steps involved in doing something and is useful for “how-to” or demonstration speeches where you are teaching or showing how to do a task. It follows the order of a process. For example, the steps involved in baking a cake, a speech demonstrating the dance steps required to do the Macarena, or how to create a PowerPoint presentation would use a step-by-step structure.

The advantage of this organizational pattern is that it breaks the task into small pieces for the audience. It allows them to see the process of doing something so that they may be able to do it themselves. The disadvantage of this pattern is that it can be tedious or repetitious if listeners are already very familiar with some of the steps in the process. With this organizational pattern, it’s particularly important to know how much prior knowledge of the process your audience already has.

A detailed poster showing the different parts of the International Space Station.

An informative speech about the International Space Station might use a spatial organization pattern, giving the listeners a tour of each part of the station as though they were moving through it.

A spatial pattern organizes each main point in a directional structure, connecting each main point to a whole. This structure is used for informative speeches where the topic is organized by location, geography, or moving through a space (“spatial” is the adjective form of “space”). For example, a speech about the parts of a resume might move in order from the top section to the bottom section. A speech about the regional cuisine of Germany might move from the Northwest region in a clockwise direction around the country. A speech about a building might start at the front doors and end on the roof. A speech about the pathway of Hurricane Sandy would include the geography showing the path moving from south to north east.

The spatial pattern is particularly useful if you want your listeners to be able to visualize an entire place or a complex object, since it moves between the part and the whole in a visual way. If you want your audience to visualize the Statue of Liberty, for instance, you might describe it spatially from top to bottom, rather than telling the story of its construction (chronological) or talking about the various things it has come to symbolize (topical).

To Watch: Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, “Diego Rivera, Man Controller of the Universe”

Spatial organizational patterns are often used to describe artworks and architecture. In this short video, art historians Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker discuss Diego Rivera’s 1934 fresco mural  Man, Controller of the Universe  in the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. The first part of the video is organized topically and chronologically, covering some of the major themes of the mural and the circumstances surrounding its creation. At around 3:25 in the video, Zucker says, “Let’s take a closer look at [the mural]”, and the two art historians discuss each part of the mural in sequence starting with the figure in the center. The spatial organization of their description is based on the visual structure of the painting; since the painting is largely symmetrical, Harris and Zucker describe the center, then the upper left and upper right, then the middle left and middle right, then the bottom left and bottom right.

You can view the transcript for “Diego Rivera, Man Controller of the Universe” here (opens in new window) .

What to watch for:

Note how Harris and Zucker end their tour of the artwork with broader thoughts about what we can learn from it: “We’re still very much at these crossroads. Technology is ever more important in our lives. What will technology bring us? A more egalitarian society, a world where everyone can be educated? Or will it bring greater inequality? These are still things debated today. We are still grappling with the increasing power of the tools that we have built, the power that technology has given us, and the choices that we make in terms of how we wield that power.” Whatever organizational pattern you use, it’s always crucial to bring the discussion around to something the audience can take away—a new insight, a new perspective, or a new way of framing a problem.

  • ISS blueprint. Authored by : Daniel Molybdenum/NASA/Roscosmos, with the help of John Chryslar and others. Located at : . License : CC0: No Rights Reserved
  • Salsa steps. Authored by : Florian Hoffmann. Located at :,_LA-style.png . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Acqua alta in Piazza San Marco. Authored by : Wolfgang Moroder. Located at : . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
  • Diego Rivera, Man Controller of the Universe. Authored by : Smarthistory. Located at : . License : Other . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
  • Chronological, Step by Step, and Spatial Organization. Authored by : Susan Bagley-Koyle with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Chronological, Step by Step, and Spatial Organization. Authored by : Misti Wills with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution

Footer Logo Lumen Waymaker

Organizational Strategies for Using Chronological Order in Writing

ThoughtCo / Ran Zheng

  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

The word chronological comes from two Greek words. "Chronos" means time. "Logikos" means reason or order. That is what chronological order is all about. It arranges information according to time.

In composition  and speech , chronological order is a method of organization in which actions or events are presented as they occur or occurred in time and can also be called time or linear order.

Narratives and process analysis essays commonly rely on chronological order. Morton Miller points out in his 1980 book "Reading and Writing Short Essay" that the "natural order of events — beginning, middle, and end — is narration 's simplest and most-used arrangement."

From " Camping Out " by Ernest Hemingway to "The Story of an Eyewitness: The San Francisco Earthquake" by Jack London , famous authors and student essayists alike have utilized the chronological order form to convey the impact a series of events had on the author's life. Also common in informative speeches because of the simplicity of telling a story as it happened, chronological order differs from other organizational styles in that it is fixed according to the timeframe of events which happened.

How Tos and Who-Done-Its

Because time order is essential in things like "How-To" presentations and murder mysteries alike, chronological order is the preferred method for informative speakers. Take for example wanting to explain to a friend how to bake a cake. You could choose another method to explain the process, but putting the steps in order of timing is a much easier method for your audience to follow — and successfully bake the cake.

Similarly, a detective or officer presenting a murder or theft case to his or her team of police would want to retrace the known events of the crime as they occurred rather than bouncing around the case — though the detective may decide to go in reverse chronological order from the act of the crime itself to the earlier detail of the crime scene, allowing the team of sleuths to piece together what data is missing (i.e., what happened between midnight and 12:05 am) as well as determine the likely cause-effect play-by-play that led to the crime in the first place.

In both of these cases, the speaker presents the earliest known important event or occurrence to happen and proceed to detail the following events, in order. The cake maker will, therefore, start with "decide which cake you want to make" followed by "determine and purchase ingredients" while the policeman will start with the crime itself, or the later escape of the criminal, and work backward in time to discover and determine the criminal's motive.

The Narrative Form

The simplest way to tell a story is from the beginning, proceeding in time-sequential order throughout the character's life. Though this may not always be the way a narrative speaker or writer tells the story, it is the most common organizational process used in the narrative form .

As a result, most stories about mankind can be told as simply as "a person was born, he did X, Y, and Z, and then he died" wherein the X, Y, and Z are the sequential events that impacted and affected that person's story after he was born but before he passed away. As X.J. Kennedy, Dorothy M. Kennedy, and Jane E. Aaron put it in the seventh edition of "The Bedford Reader," a chronological order is "an excellent sequence to follow unless you can see some special advantage in violating it."

Interestingly, memoirs and personal narrative essays often deviate from chronological order because this type of writing hinges more upon overarching themes throughout the subject's life rather than the full breadth of his or her experience. That is to say that autobiographical work, largely due to its dependence on memory and recall, relies not on the sequence of events in one's life but the important events that affected one's personality and mentality, searching for cause and effect relationships to define what made them human.

A memoir writer might, therefore, start with a scene where he or she is confronting a fear of heights at age 20, but then flash back to several instances in his or her childhood like falling off a tall horse at five or losing a loved one in a plane crash to infer to the reader the cause of this fear.

When to Use Chronological Order

Good writing relies on precision and compelling storytelling to entertain and inform audiences, so it's important for writers to determine the best method of organization when attempting to explain an event or project.

John McPhee's article " Structure " describes a tension between chronology and theme that can help hopeful writers determine the best organizational method for their piece. He posits that chronology typically wins out because "themes prove inconvenient" due to the sparsity of occurrences that relate thematically. A writer is much better served by the chronological order of events, including flashbacks and flash-forwards, in terms of structure and control. 

Still, McPhee also states that "there's nothing wrong with a chronological structure," and certainly nothing to suggest it's a lesser form than thematic structure. In fact, even as long ago as Babylonian times, "most pieces were written that way, and nearly all pieces are written that way now."

  • The Sharpe Books in Chronological Order
  • Definition and Examples of Narratives in Writing
  • A Guide to All Types of Narration, With Examples
  • Spatial Order in Composition
  • Graphic Organizers
  • AP English Exam: 101 Key Terms
  • How to Write a Personal Narrative
  • Using Flashback in Writing
  • 5 Easy Summarizing Strategies for Students
  • Definition and Examples of Climactic Order in Composition and Speech
  • How to Write a Narrative Essay or Speech
  • 6 Traits of Writing
  • The Difference Between an Article and an Essay
  • Understanding Organization in Composition and Speech
  • What Is Narrative Therapy? Definition and Techniques

Institute of Public Speaking

The Speech Writing Process A Public Speakers Guide – Part I

speech writing is a chronological or linear process

Speech writing is often one of the most difficult processes involved in crafting a speech but it needn’t be. Most new speakers come to my courses, seminars and one on one training with questions relating to writing a speech. There are many questionable speech writing methods that beginning speakers employ that both complicate & impede their speaking endeavors. In this first installment of a two part series on speech writing – I will explore the techniques to avoid (See Part II – The Speech Writing Process A Public Speakers Guide ). The most commonly seen and important to avoid pitfalls of speech writing are:

Starting Without an Outline

Your speech is a journey. Your audience needs to know your key premise and understand where you intend to bring them along the path to your conclusion. This is most successfully accomplished in the writing phase with a proper outline. An outline allows you to organize your thoughts before you go any further in the writing process and keep yourself (and your audience) on the path to the desired outcome of the speech. With a well developed outline you are in good shape to further develop the content of your speech. You can guarantee that the flow of ideas will capture the audience and deliver the message you intend, leaving you to just focus on powerful, authentic delivery.

Write Out Your Speech

Writing a speech and an academic paper or article are not the same process. That is to say, writing content to be delivered for print or web isn’t the same as writing a speech. If we treat these very different tasks as equivalent we are headed for difficulty. For most beginning speakers this is where they learn to dislike the process of speaking. The mistakenly think they need to write a literary masterpiece, memorize it by rote memorization and deliver it from memory. This is entirely incorrect, inverted and inefficient method. Novice speakers then worry far to much about delivering the content they have written word for word or worse yet – reading their content. Doing so impairs your ability to deliver with vocal vigor and body language which you need to be effective as a speaker.

Fire Up PowerPoint

PowerPoint is a powerful and useful technology but it shouldn’t be the first thing you reach for when writing your speeches. If you choose to write and develop speeches in this manner they will be devoid of the natural flow that would come with a developed outline. They will seem more disjunct and less focused. The technology of PowerPoint itself isn’t the issue as much as it forces people to focus less on the content and intention of their talk and more on images, video and transitions. As with any communication, the most vital part is our message. Don’t let your message get mangled by technology. Deploy it after you have a clear outline and a coherent message.

All of these poor speech writing habits get in the way of developing and delivering your speeches effectively. They lead to a lack of passion, vocal variety, and authentic delivery that leave audiences snoozing. In our next installment (part II) , I will speak to the methods we can use to write efficiently and effectively.

About The Author

' src=

Joseph Guarino

4 thoughts on “the speech writing process a public speakers guide – part i”.

' src=

Thanks Joseph – other than an outline, I would say preparation is the MOST important aspect of any public speaking engagement. Personally, I practice my presentation mentally to exhaustion. I also practice in front of a mirror and say the words out loud, paying particular attention to my body language.

I appreciate the checklist you provide here and I like how you emphasize that people shouldn’t obsess over giving a “word for word” speech. The best speeches really are when you come across a bit more natural. Cheers!

' src=

Thanks for your comments! =) Here I’m addressing more of the beginning writing process than latter stages such as practiced delivery. Nonetheless, I have to agree that preparation is vital to success in any speaking situation. Thanks for your insights!

' src=

I would love some tips on how to start. I forever sit there with a blank page and probably waste a good couple of hours just not knowing how to start off. Your tips and recommendations are giving me some direction, so thank you. Any tips on starting the process?

Yolanda, I always recommend people start with an outline. If you are asking about the first steps before developing an outline I’d recommend you brainstorm and put everything out on paper. From there, you can edit and organize your speech. Best of luck!

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The General Steps in the Speechwriting Process

  • First Online: 15 March 2019

Cite this chapter

speech writing is a chronological or linear process

  • Jens E. Kjeldsen 7 ,
  • Amos Kiewe 8 ,
  • Marie Lund 9 &
  • Jette Barnholdt Hansen  

Part of the book series: Rhetoric, Politics and Society ((RPS))

929 Accesses

In this chapter, we outline the general steps speechwriters ought to follow in the process of writing speeches for others. These guidelines are flexible and allow for comfortable adaptation given the varied implementation of speechwriting practices as well as the different approaches in the European and American systems. Our model follows the classical perspective that focuses on topic selection, the speaker-speechwriter negotiation of rhetorical constraints of context and audience as well as determining the fitting style and delivery. The chapter also develops a master rhetorical plan that can be used as a prompt or an outline for speechwriters when drafting a speech, covering the key variables of speech, situation, audience, and a suitable mode of communication.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

Jens E. Kjeldsen

Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA

School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jens E. Kjeldsen .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Kjeldsen, J.E., Kiewe, A., Lund, M., Barnholdt Hansen, J. (2019). The General Steps in the Speechwriting Process. In: Speechwriting in Theory and Practice. Rhetoric, Politics and Society. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Download citation


Published : 15 March 2019

Publisher Name : Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

Print ISBN : 978-3-030-03684-3

Online ISBN : 978-3-030-03685-0

eBook Packages : Political Science and International Studies Political Science and International Studies (R0)

Share this chapter

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Publish with us

Policies and ethics

  • Find a journal
  • Track your research

Rice Speechwriting

Beginners guide to what is a speech writing, what is a speech writing: a beginner’s guide, what is the purpose of speech writing.

The purpose of speech writing is to craft a compelling and effective speech that conveys a specific message or idea to an audience. It involves writing a script that is well-structured, engaging, and tailored to the speaker’s delivery style and the audience’s needs.

Have you ever been called upon to deliver a speech and didn’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re looking to improve your public speaking skills and wondering how speech writing can help. Whatever the case may be, this beginner’s guide on speech writing is just what you need. In this blog, we will cover everything from understanding the art of speech writing to key elements of an effective speech. We will also discuss techniques for engaging speech writing, the role of audience analysis in speech writing, time and length considerations, and how to practice and rehearse your speech. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of how speech writing can improve your public speaking skills and make you feel confident when delivering your next big presentation.

Understanding the Art of Speech Writing

Crafting a speech involves melding spoken and written language. Tailoring the speech to the audience and occasion is crucial, as is captivating the audience and evoking emotion. Effective speeches utilize rhetorical devices, anecdotes, and a conversational tone. Structuring the speech with a compelling opener, clear points, and a strong conclusion is imperative. Additionally, employing persuasive language and maintaining simplicity are essential elements. The University of North Carolina’s writing center greatly emphasizes the importance of using these techniques.

The Importance of Speech Writing

Crafting a persuasive and impactful speech is essential for reaching your audience effectively. A well-crafted speech incorporates a central idea, main point, and a thesis statement to engage the audience. Whether it’s for a large audience or different ways of public speaking, good speech writing ensures that your message resonates with the audience. Incorporating engaging visual aids, an impactful introduction, and a strong start are key features of a compelling speech. Embracing these elements sets the stage for a successful speech delivery.

The Role of a Speech Writer

A speechwriter holds the responsibility of composing speeches for various occasions and specific points, employing a speechwriting process that includes audience analysis for both the United States and New York audiences. This written text is essential for delivering impactful and persuasive messages, often serving as a good start to a great speech. Utilizing NLP terms like ‘short sentences’ and ‘persuasion’ enhances the content’s quality and relevance.

Key Elements of Effective Speech Writing

Balancing shorter sentences with longer ones is essential for crafting an engaging speech. Including subordinate clauses and personal stories caters to the target audience and adds persuasion. The speechwriting process, including the thesis statement and a compelling introduction, ensures the content captures the audience’s attention. Effective speech writing involves research and the generation of new ideas. Toastmasters International and the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provide valuable resources for honing English and verbal skills.

Clarity and Purpose of the Speech

Achieving clarity, authenticity, and empathy defines a good speech. Whether to persuade, inform, or entertain, the purpose of a speech is crucial. It involves crafting persuasive content with rich vocabulary and clear repetition. Successful speechwriting demands a thorough understanding of the audience and a compelling introduction. Balancing short and long sentences is essential for holding the audience’s attention. This process is a fusion of linguistics, psychology, and rhetoric, making it an art form with a powerful impact.

Identifying Target Audience

Tailoring the speechwriting process hinges on identifying the target audience. Their attention is integral to the persuasive content, requiring adaptation of the speechwriting process. A speechwriter conducts audience analysis to capture the audience’s attention, employing new york audience analysis methods. Ensuring a good introduction and adapting the writing process for the target audience are key features of a great speech. Effective speechwriters prioritize the audience’s attention to craft compelling and persuasive speeches.

Structuring Your Speech

The speechwriting process relies on a well-defined structure, crucial to both the speech’s content and the writing process. It encompasses a compelling introduction, an informative body, and a strong conclusion. This process serves as a foundation for effective speeches, guiding the speaker through a series of reasons and a persuasive speechwriting definition. Furthermore, the structure, coupled with audience analysis, is integral to delivering a great speech that resonates with the intended listeners.

The Process of Writing a Speech

Crafting a speech involves composing the opening line, developing key points, and ensuring a strong start. Effective speech writing follows a structured approach, incorporating rhetorical questions and a compelling introduction. A speechwriter’s process includes formulating a thesis statement, leveraging rhetorical questions, and establishing a good start. This process entails careful consideration of the audience, persuasive language, and engaging content. The University of North Carolina’s writing center emphasizes the significance of persuasion, clarity, and concise sentences in speechwriting.

Starting with a Compelling Opener

A speechwriting process commences with a captivating opening line and a strong introduction, incorporating the right words and rhetorical questions. The opening line serves as both an introduction and a persuasive speech, laying the foundation for a great speechwriting definition. Additionally, the structure of the speechwriting process, along with audience analysis, plays a crucial role in crafting an effective opening. Considering these elements is imperative when aiming to start a speech with a compelling opener.

Developing the Body of the Speech

Crafting the body of a speech involves conveying the main points with persuasion and precision. It’s essential to outline the speechwriting process, ensuring a clear and impactful message. The body serves as a structured series of reasons, guiding the audience through the content. Through the use of short sentences and clear language, the body of the speech engages the audience, maintaining their attention. Crafting the body involves the art of persuasion, using the power of words to deliver a compelling message.

Crafting a Strong Conclusion

Crafting a strong conclusion involves reflecting the main points of the speech and summarizing key ideas, leaving the audience with a memorable statement. It’s the final chance to leave a lasting impression and challenge the audience to take action or consider new perspectives. A good conclusion can make the speech memorable and impactful, using persuasion and English language effectively to drive the desired response from the audience. Toastmasters International emphasizes the importance of a strong conclusion in speechwriting for maximum impact.

Techniques for Engaging Speech Writing

Engage the audience’s attention using rhetorical questions. Create a connection through anecdotes and personal stories. Emphasize key points with rhetorical devices to capture the audience’s attention. Maintain interest by varying sentence structure and length. Use visual aids to complement the spoken word and enhance understanding. Incorporate NLP terms such as “short sentences,” “writing center,” and “persuasion” to create engaging and informative speech writing.

Keeping the Content Engaging

Captivating the audience’s attention requires a conversational tone, alliteration, and repetition for effect. A strong introduction sets the tone, while emotional appeals evoke responses. Resonating with the target audience ensures engagement. Utilize short sentences, incorporate persuasion, and vary sentence structure to maintain interest. Infuse the speech with NLP terms like “writing center”, “University of North Carolina”, and “Toastmasters International” to enhance its appeal. Engaging content captivates the audience and compels them to listen attentively.

Maintaining Simplicity and Clarity

To ensure clarity and impact, express ideas in short sentences. Use a series of reasons and specific points to effectively convey the main idea. Enhance the speech with the right words for clarity and comprehension. Simplify complex concepts by incorporating anecdotes and personal stories. Subordinate clauses can provide structure and clarity in the speechwriting process.

The Power of Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal cues, such as body language and gestures, can add emphasis to your spoken words, enhancing the overall impact of your speech. By incorporating visual aids and handouts, you can further augment the audience’s understanding and retention of key points. Utilizing a conversational tone and appropriate body language is crucial for establishing a genuine connection with your audience. Visual aids and gestures not only aid comprehension but also help in creating a lasting impression, captivat**ing** the audience with compelling visual elements.

The Role of Audience Analysis in Speech Writing

Tailoring a speech to the audience’s needs is paramount. Demographics like age, gender, and cultural background must be considered. Understanding the audience’s interests and affiliation is crucial for delivering a resonating speech. Content should be tailored to specific audience points of interest, engaging and speaking to their concerns.

Understanding Audience Demographics

Understanding the varied demographics of the audience, including age and cultural diversity, is crucial. Adapting the speech content to resonate with a diverse audience involves tailoring it to the different ways audience members process and interpret information. This adaptation ensures that the speech can effectively engage with the audience, no matter their background or age. Recognizing the importance of understanding audience demographics is key for effective audience analysis. By considering these factors, the speech can be tailored to meet the needs and preferences of the audience, resulting in a more impactful delivery.

Considering the Audience Size and Affiliation

When tailoring a speech, consider the audience size and affiliation to influence the tone and content effectively. Adapt the speech content and delivery to resonate with a large audience and different occasions, addressing the specific points of the target audience’s affiliation. By delivering a speech tailored to the audience’s size and specific points of affiliation, you can ensure that your message is received and understood by all.

Time and Length Considerations in Speech Writing

Choosing the appropriate time for your speech and determining its ideal length are crucial factors influenced by the purpose and audience demographics. Tailoring the speech’s content and structure for different occasions ensures relevance and impact. Adapting the speech to specific points and the audience’s demographics is key to its effectiveness. Understanding these time and length considerations allows for effective persuasion and engagement, catering to the audience’s diverse processing styles.

Choosing the Right Time for Your Speech

Selecting the optimal start and opening line is crucial for capturing the audience’s attention right from the beginning. It’s essential to consider the timing and the audience’s focus to deliver a compelling and persuasive speech. The right choice of opening line and attention to the audience set the tone for the speech, influencing the emotional response. A good introduction and opening line not only captivate the audience but also establish the desired tone for the speech.

Determining the Ideal Length of Your Speech

When deciding the ideal length of your speech, it’s crucial to tailor it to your specific points and purpose. Consider the attention span of your audience and the nature of the event. Engage in audience analysis to understand the right words and structure for your speech. Ensure that the length is appropriate for the occasion and target audience. By assessing these factors, you can structure your speech effectively and deliver it with confidence and persuasion.

How to Practice and Rehearse Your Speech

Incorporating rhetorical questions and anecdotes can deeply engage your audience, evoking an emotional response that resonates. Utilize visual aids, alliteration, and repetition to enhance your speech and captivate the audience’s attention. Effective speechwriting techniques are essential for crafting a compelling introduction and persuasive main points. By practicing a conversational tone and prioritizing clarity, you establish authenticity and empathy with your audience. Develop a structured series of reasons and a solid thesis statement to ensure your speech truly resonates.

Techniques for Effective Speech Rehearsal

When practicing your speech, aim for clarity and emphasis by using purposeful repetition and shorter sentences. Connect with your audience by infusing personal stories and quotations to make your speech more relatable. Maximize the impact of your written speech when spoken by practicing subordinate clauses and shorter sentences. Focus on clarity and authenticity, rehearsing your content with a good introduction and a persuasive central idea. Employ rhetorical devices and a conversational tone, ensuring the right vocabulary and grammar.

How Can Speech Writing Improve Your Public Speaking Skills?

Enhancing your public speaking skills is possible through speech writing. By emphasizing key points and a clear thesis, you can capture the audience’s attention. Developing a strong start and central idea helps deliver effective speeches. Utilize speechwriting techniques and rhetorical devices to structure engaging speeches that connect with the audience. Focus on authenticity, empathy, and a conversational tone to improve your public speaking skills.

In conclusion, speech writing is an art that requires careful consideration of various elements such as clarity, audience analysis, and engagement. By understanding the importance of speech writing and the role of a speech writer, you can craft effective speeches that leave a lasting impact on your audience. Remember to start with a compelling opener, develop a strong body, and end with a memorable conclusion. Engaging techniques, simplicity, and nonverbal communication are key to keeping your audience captivated. Additionally, analyzing your audience demographics and considering time and length considerations are vital for a successful speech. Lastly, practicing and rehearsing your speech will help improve your public speaking skills and ensure a confident delivery.

Expert Tips for Choosing Good Speech Topics

Master the art of how to start a speech.

speech writing is a chronological or linear process

Popular Posts

How to write a retirement speech that wows: essential guide.

June 4, 2022

The Best Op Ed Format and Op Ed Examples: Hook, Teach, Ask (Part 2)

June 2, 2022

Inspiring Awards Ceremony Speech Examples

November 21, 2023

Short Award Acceptance Speech Examples: Inspiring Examples

Mastering the art of how to give a toast, best giving an award speech examples.

November 22, 2023

19.5 Writing Process: Writing to Speak

Learning outcomes.

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Develop a writing project through multiple drafts.
  • Compose texts that use rhetorical concepts appropriately in a speech.
  • Apply effective shifts in voice, diction, tone, formality, design, medium, and structure.
  • Demonstrate orality as an aspect of culture.
  • Provide and act on productive feedback to works in progress through the collaborative and social aspects of the writing process.
  • Adapt composing processes for a variety of technologies and modalities.

Now it’s time to try your hand at writing a script or speaking outline for a public audience. Decide on a topic, and take that topic through the planning, drafting, and revision processes. Remember that even the informal writing you do when planning a script or speaking outline is recursive , meaning it is not linear. You will probably go back and forth between sections and processes.

You may question of the wisdom of preparation before speaking to the public. After all, you may post regularly to social media, for example, without following the processes of drafting and revising. However, “winging it” when it comes to speech is not a wise strategy. As a genre, social media in particular lends itself to short and simple messaging. Viewers allow producers very little time and attention before clicking to view the next item. Some sources say that you have 10 seconds to get the attention of a viewer; by the one-minute mark, you may have lost up to 45 percent of your viewers. Live adult audiences will pay attention for about 20 minute increments before their minds begin to wander; for young audiences, the time is even less. Given that knowledge, you must craft your message accordingly.

Summary of Assignment: Writing to Speak, Speaking to Act

You may have heard that merely believing in a cause is not enough; you must take action to create change. As you keep the idea of social, political, or economic change in mind, your task is to develop an outline as the basis for a speech to a live audience or on a social media platform of your choice. The topic is an issue you care about. Speaking from an outline rather than from a written script helps ensure that your speech is natural and smooth. Your audience should not feel as though you are reading aloud to them. If you are free to choose your own topic, consider a cause meaningful to you, or consider using one of the following suggestions as your topic or as inspiration for it:

  • Police and mental health services reform
  • Standards-based reform in education
  • Global human rights
  • Liberty and justice for all
  • Reduction of carbon emissions

Your speech may incorporate multimedia components as you see fit. You’ll also need to plan how to access the audience or platform you have in mind.

As you craft your outline, keep in mind your audience, your purpose for addressing them, and your support for that purpose by using key ideas, reasons, and evidence. When planning your script, use an organizer to collect information so that you can support your ideas credibly with a well-developed argument.

Using Your Authentic Voice

Unlike most formal academic papers, oral presentations give you an opportunity to consider how you might challenge formal writing conventions by delivering your script in your authentic voice. Oral compositions offer an opportunity to bring through conventions of your own culture, perhaps including discursive patterns of language and grammar and challenges to standard language ideologies. As always, keep your audience and purpose in mind as you make choices about your use of language.

Researching and Narrowing the Topic

After choosing the overall subject of your script, research the general topic to learn about context, background information, and related issues. Then narrow the topic and focus your research, as guided by your working thesis and purpose. You can return to Argumentative Research: Enhancing the Art of Rhetoric with Evidence , Research Process: Accessing and Recording Information , and Annotated Bibliography: Gathering, Evaluating, and Documenting Sources to review research processes, including how to allow research to shape your thesis and organization.

After choosing a topic, you will probably need to narrow it further. One way to achieve this task is by brainstorming , which involves generating possible ideas and thoughts quickly and informally. A basic, fast-paced brainstorming technique is simply to list all your possible ideas on paper and combine those that are related. Then you can eliminate some ideas to narrow the range. For example, for this assignment, you might list all of the causes toward which you feel sympathetic. Beginning with an idea that already interests you will help you remain enthusiastic about the idea and generate a positive tone that will come across to the audience and maximize the effectiveness of the presentation.

For example, if you’re interested in the environment, your brainstorm might include the following:

  • Deforestation
  • Plastic waste
  • Rising carbon levels
  • Global warming

If you think you still need new ideas at this point, spend some time researching advocacy organizations. Next, expand each idea by creating subtopics. This activity will help you eliminate topics that are difficult to elaborate on—or at least you will know that you need to conduct more research. In summary, follow this process as you choose and narrow your topic:

  • Brainstorm ideas that already interest you or with which you have experience.
  • Circle topics appropriate for the assignment.
  • Cross out topics that you think you cannot make relevant to the audience. Remember, you are developing a presentation for a public forum.
  • For remaining topics, flesh out subtopics with ideas you might cover in your script. You should have between two and five key ideas; three is fairly typical.
  • Eliminate topics for which you lack sufficient material, or do the necessary research to obtain more.
  • Finally, decide on a topic that you have the resources to research.

Another Lens. Because this chapter focuses on activism and you have read the Trailblazer feature about Alice Wong’s work in the disability activism space, think about content consumers (readers, listeners) who experience the world through the lens of disability. Challenge yourself to create content that meets the needs of diverse consumers. Because the assignment is an activist script outline for a presentation, it naturally lends itself to those who are abled in the areas of sight and hearing. Consider people who are visually impaired or hard of hearing. How might you adapt your script and its delivery to make it accessible to all?

One option to consider is visual representation of your presentation through an infographic that depicts the thesis, main reasoning, and evidence to reach those who cannot hear a speech. Or consider how you might adapt the delivery of a script to reach those who experience visual limitations. By making considerations for accessibility, you will strengthen your message for all who interact with it.

Quick Launch: Outlining

Before your presentation, create an outline of the main ideas you plan to discuss. An outline is a framework that helps you organize your major claims, reasoning, supporting details, and evidence. Creating an outline is also a way to create a natural flow for your ideas and provide a foundation for engaging your audience. Doing this basic organizational work at the beginning will help you present your ideas so that they will have the greatest impact on your audience.

The first step in creating your outline is to develop a purpose statement . This one-sentence statement reveals what you hope to accomplish in the presentation—that is, your objective. The purpose statement isn’t something that you will include in your actual presentation; the purpose statement is for you. It will help you keep your audience at the center of your script, create a central idea, and, most of all, give you a realistic goal. One example of a purpose statement for an informational speech might read, “By the end of this presentation, my audience will better understand the impact of plastic waste on the ocean and the world.” Or, for a persuasive speech, a purpose statement on a similar topic might read, “By the end of this presentation, my audience will feel compelled to reduce their use of disposable plastic.”

Although a speaking outline resembles an outline for an academic paper, with special considerations for the genre, it does not need to be as detailed as an outline for a research paper. Rather, a speaking outline will form the framework for speech. Feel free to write your outline as complete thoughts, sentence fragments, or even bullet points.

A presentation’s basic format is relatively similar to most other writing: an introduction, three to five major supporting points, and a conclusion. The major differences will be the genre-specific choices you make about presenting this information.


Like most persuasive writing, your presentation needs an introduction that establishes its purpose. The introduction should engage the audience, present the topic and main ideas, and validate the speaker’s credibility. Engaging your audience is important. You can capture an audience’s attention by relating an anecdote or a quotation, posing a question, using humor, relating surprising facts or statistics, or any other method you think will do the job.

The introduction will usually lead seamlessly into a definitive statement of the main theme or claim. As you would include a thesis in the introduction of a piece of persuasive writing, your introduction here also should include a statement that previews the main idea and briefly touches on key points. Though you are outlining your presentation rather than writing a full script, it is a good idea to write your thesis so that you clearly identify your aim. When presenting, you won’t have to read your script word for word, but recording the thesis clearly will enable you to summarize the central idea of your presentation easily.

Finally, the introduction is your opportunity to establish credibility with your audience and to tell them why they should listen to what you have to say. Include a brief statement of your credentials, experience, and knowledge that demonstrates your credibility or authority on the topic.

The main section of the outline, the body is the longest part of the script and the one in which you present key points to support the main idea. Each key point should stem organically from the script’s goal and your thesis. Although standard practice is to present three key ideas, you may choose to have between two and five. Any fewer, and you won’t support your thesis sufficiently; any more, and your audience will lose track of them. Back each key idea with several points, including reasoning, evidence, and audiovisual support.

You can organize your key ideas in several ways. Determining an organizational pattern helps you narrow the central ideas generated from research and allows you to plan material for your script. Topical patterns break main ideas into smaller ideas or subcategories. After dividing the topics into subtopics, consider the most logical order of points. There is often no right answer to this order, so feel free to move your ideas around to create the greatest impact. For example, a topic discussing World War II battles might best be presented in chronological order (listed or arranged according to time sequence), but a topic broken down to address the causes of World War II (diplomatic factors, nationalism, World War I peace treaty) may not fit into an obvious pattern. In a persuasive script, problem-and-solution or cause-and-effect patterns of reasoning may be the best way to organize ideas. These and other organizational patterns are discussed in Reasoning Strategies: Improving Critical Thinking .

This portion of the script provides a summary and is your final opportunity to make an impression on your audience. Typically, in this section, you restate the thesis convincingly and, if applicable in a persuasive script, tell your audience what you believe they should do. Also, you briefly revisit each key idea in the context of how it supports your thesis. Strong conclusions are especially important in scripts.

One strategy for writing conclusions is the “mirrored” conclusion that ties back to the introduction. For example, if you use a statistic to engage your audience’s attention, you return to that statistic in the conclusion. Consider the following example.

student sample text Introduction: It takes 450 years for one plastic bottle to decompose in a landfill. Now consider the fact that, according to the U.S. government, at least 50 million plastic bottles are thrown away each day in the United States. end student sample text

student sample text Mirrored Conclusion: Each time you’re tempted to reach for a plastic bottle, contemplate the 50 million that end up in landfills each year. Consider other options that spare our environment from the centuries of decomposition that each one contributes to. end student sample text

For writers who have difficulty beginning, one idea is to reverse-engineer the structure of the script. Beginning with the conclusion will help you know where you need to end up, thus making it easier to create a roadmap for getting there. This strategy can provide consistency and add emphasis to the key ideas in the script.

Keeping in mind the basic parts of a script outline, you can now begin to craft a skeletal version your own. Use a graphic organizer like Table 19.1 to gather and organize your initial thoughts.

A sample skeletal outline might include the following information.

Drafting: Signpost Language; Tone, Repetition and Parallelism; Media and Other Visuals; and Cultural Cues

After you have analyzed your audience, selected and narrowed the topic, researched supporting ideas, and created a skeletal outline, you can begin adding flesh to the outline. Gather all supporting material for your topic, and consider the various ways to include notes about effective language and delivery.

Signpost Language

The function of signs is to direct people to the places they are going. Think of a road sign that points to an exit off the highway. Signs also can warn people of places they should not go. Similarly, in presentations, signposts are statements that help the audience know where your presentation is going. These may include

  • a preview statement that offers an overview of the path and topics your script will take on;
  • transition statements between the introduction and body, between key points and ideas, and between the body and the conclusion; and
  • a conclusion statement that ends the script.

Table 19.3 shows examples of signpost language. Notice the boldfaced words, called transitions , which help readers and listeners navigate between ideas and concepts. Signposts should clearly connect ideas, are often parallel (repeated words or grammatical forms), and mark the most important parts of an argument or explanation.

Tone is a writer or speaker’s attitude as it is conveyed in a composition or script. A writers or speaker’s language choices as well as other elements specific to speech, such as gestures and body language, help create tone. The tone of a presentation depends largely on its purpose, audience, and message.

Consider this text from Annotated Student Sample .

student sample text Without warning, the smaller dog launched itself from its owner’s lap, snarling and snapping at the guide dog. The owner of the small dog jumped up and retrieved her animal from the Labrador’s vest and stomped back to her seat. That neither she nor the still-yapping dog had an obvious panic attack amazed me, as I questioned, to myself of course, what possible service was being provided—other than a moment of exercise. end student sample text

The author’s tone of disapproval is evident when he relates the actions of the untrained, unrestrained dog causing trouble for others. The attitude is emphasized by words with negative connotations such as snarling and stomped .

The tone you choose for your script will help you relate to your audience. It can help your audience feel connected to you and promote your credibility as well as that of the message you wish to impart.

Notice, too, the use of the first person in script writing. While you may have been taught not to use first-person pronouns in most formal or academic writing, speech is completely different. Even in formal scripts, the use of I helps connect listeners to the speaker. In general, effective speakers also use simple, declarative statements in the active voice (subject + verb + object) to emphasize their key ideas and to keep audiences focused on them. Longer, complex sentences may cause audience members to lose focus. Thoughts and sentences should flow conversationally. See Clear and Effective Sentences for more about effective sentences, including use of the active voice.

Repetition and Parallelism

Repetition and parallelism are literary devices that authors and speakers use for emphasis, persuasion, contrast, and rhythm. In repetition , a word, phrase, or sound is repeated for effect. Repetition is also employed in a variety of figurative language. The following example is an excerpt from the surrender speech of Chief Joseph (1840–1904), the Nez Percé leader who surrendered to the U.S. Army in 1877 after the U.S. government had appropriated Nez Percé land. Rather than be forced to live on reservations, Chief Joseph and his followers unsuccessfully attempted to flee to Canada, a journey of about 1,500 miles, during which they were pursued and vastly outnumbered by the U.S. Army. Notice the use of repetition to emphasize the cold and the death toll.

public domain text I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead , Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead . . . . He who led on the young men is dead . It is cold , and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death . My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death . I want to have time to look for my children. . . . Maybe I shall find them among the dead . end public domain text

Parallelism is the use of similar or equivalent constructions of phrases or clauses to emphasize an idea. Parallelism is especially helpful for organizational and structural concerns in a script or composition. Consider this excerpt from President John F. Kennedy ’s (1917–1963) inaugural address:

public domain text Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. end public domain text

Kennedy uses parallelism for impact as well as to organize his support for the idea that the United States works collaboratively for “the success of liberty.” Parallelism and repetition can work hand in hand as organizational strategies and to emphasize ideas in your script.

Anaphora and epistrophe are two related forms of parallelism.

You can hear examples of parallelism and repetition in audio excerpts on the website American Rhetoric .

In Chapter 19, you have learned about rhetorical techniques used in speech, including parallelism, repetition, and signpost language.

Media and Other Visuals

Because speeches are auditory by nature, you can enhance their effectiveness by using media and other visual aids. These elements can add emphasis, help the audience understand a complex idea, or otherwise support your message. But be careful not to detract from your speech with the media you choose. A common error speakers make is to include too much or irrelevant media.

When considering media and visual aids, remember to keep in mind your audience, purpose, and message. Note these considerations about media and visual aids:

  • Use media in a way that doesn’t clutter or overwhelm your presentation. The media you choose should enhance, not detract from, your message.
  • Ensure that visuals are large enough for the audience to see. Create or obtain media that is clear, concise, and of high quality. Tiny, hard-to-read graphs or muffled audio clips will only frustrate your audience.
  • Keep a consistent visual style, including font, colors, backgrounds, and so on.
  • Provide space and time for your audience to listen to, read, and/or view media and other visuals in your presentation.
  • Consider accessibility; think about an audience member who relies on an interpreter or who is visually impaired. How can you make your presentation accessible to that person?
  • Ensure that your media engages the audience, thus making your speech delivery more dynamic.
  • If using technology, make every effort to test it before your presentation.

As you finish drafting your script, consider all the potential aspects of language and organization you might use to create meaning for your audience. Remember that you will give your presentation orally. Therefore, during drafting, take a few minutes at key points—after completing a section, for example—to practice your presentation by reading it aloud. Listen to how it sounds and make adjustments as you go along, considering the oral elements of speech that lend themselves to fluency.

Peer Review: Using Symbols

After you have completed the first draft of your outline, peer review can help you refine your ideas, improve your organization, and strengthen your language. One aspect of effective peer review is marking the text for revision. You and your peers can do this kind of marking by using symbols, which allow reviewers to give feedback quickly and thoughtfully without overwhelming the writer with notes.

Figure 19.10 below provides some of the editing marks to use for proofreading and review. Peer reviewers may also write in the margin to indicate issues with organization, tone, or flow of ideas.

Revising: Interpreting and Responding to Symbols and Context Cues

After a peer has reviewed and provided feedback on your first draft, you will begin the revision process. Remember that writing is recursive, meaning it is not linear. Although revision won’t go on forever, it’s important to revise your work at each point in the writing process. In fact, even though you are officially working with the first draft, it is likely your writing has already undergone some process of revision. You will want to continue this process to strengthen your writing, respond to peer review, and ensure that your script fulfills your intent. Consider the items in the following checklist.

Checklist for Revision

  • Is it organized logically?
  • Is the topic immediately clear?
  • □ Ensure that the script has a clear purpose.
  • Does the script respond to what the audience already knows about the subject?
  • Does it support new knowledge?
  • Have you taken culture into consideration?
  • □ Review the introduction to determine whether it hooks the audience and establishes a thesis.
  • □ Review the sentences in each paragraph and the order of the paragraphs to ensure that the organization supports the thesis.
  • □ Review the conclusion to ensure that it supports the thesis and provides a strong ending.
  • □ Read the script again after making revisions to find ways to improve transitions and connections. Consider tone, signpost language, parallelism, and repetition.
  • □ Review the draft for conventions, including grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Access for free at
  • Authors: Michelle Bachelor Robinson, Maria Jerskey, featuring Toby Fulwiler
  • Publisher/website: OpenStax
  • Book title: Writing Guide with Handbook
  • Publication date: Dec 21, 2021
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Book URL:
  • Section URL:

© Dec 19, 2023 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.

The Writing Process logo

The Writing Process

Making expository writing less stressful, more efficient, and more enlightening, search form, you are here, it's linear, right.

speech writing is a chronological or linear process

"Writing and learning and thinking are the same process." —William Zinsser

speech writing is a chronological or linear process

As Jill Singleton ( Writers at Work ), though, puts it:

speech writing is a chronological or linear process

Thus what we have is a process that gradually moves from Step 1 toward Step 5. But you can and will loop back at various points, able to take your ideas and assignments to new heights as you build on the work you've done before.

speech writing is a chronological or linear process

1. Singleton, Jill, Writers at Work: The Paragraph . Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011, pp. 3-4. Print.)

"Linear" ©2010 Dr. Kelly . All rights reserved.

"Crazy Straw" ©2011 Erica Miles. All rights reserved.

"Crazy Straw" ©2011 Jesse Roberts. All rights reserved.

Logo for M Libraries Publishing

Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

9.3 Organizing Your Writing

Learning objectives.

  • Understand how and why organizational techniques help writers and readers stay focused.
  • Assess how and when to use chronological order to organize an essay.
  • Recognize how and when to use order of importance to organize an essay.
  • Determine how and when to use spatial order to organize an essay.

The method of organization you choose for your essay is just as important as its content. Without a clear organizational pattern, your reader could become confused and lose interest. The way you structure your essay helps your readers draw connections between the body and the thesis, and the structure also keeps you focused as you plan and write the essay. Choosing your organizational pattern before you outline ensures that each body paragraph works to support and develop your thesis.

This section covers three ways to organize body paragraphs:

  • Chronological order
  • Order of importance
  • Spatial order

When you begin to draft your essay, your ideas may seem to flow from your mind in a seemingly random manner. Your readers, who bring to the table different backgrounds, viewpoints, and ideas, need you to clearly organize these ideas in order to help process and accept them.

A solid organizational pattern gives your ideas a path that you can follow as you develop your draft. Knowing how you will organize your paragraphs allows you to better express and analyze your thoughts. Planning the structure of your essay before you choose supporting evidence helps you conduct more effective and targeted research.

Chronological Order

In Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” , you learned that chronological arrangement has the following purposes:

  • To explain the history of an event or a topic
  • To tell a story or relate an experience
  • To explain how to do or to make something
  • To explain the steps in a process

Chronological order is mostly used in expository writing , which is a form of writing that narrates, describes, informs, or explains a process. When using chronological order, arrange the events in the order that they actually happened, or will happen if you are giving instructions. This method requires you to use words such as first , second , then , after that , later , and finally . These transition words guide you and your reader through the paper as you expand your thesis.

For example, if you are writing an essay about the history of the airline industry, you would begin with its conception and detail the essential timeline events up until present day. You would follow the chain of events using words such as first , then , next , and so on.

Writing at Work

At some point in your career you may have to file a complaint with your human resources department. Using chronological order is a useful tool in describing the events that led up to your filing the grievance. You would logically lay out the events in the order that they occurred using the key transition words. The more logical your complaint, the more likely you will be well received and helped.

Choose an accomplishment you have achieved in your life. The important moment could be in sports, schooling, or extracurricular activities. On your own sheet of paper, list the steps you took to reach your goal. Try to be as specific as possible with the steps you took. Pay attention to using transition words to focus your writing.

Keep in mind that chronological order is most appropriate for the following purposes:

  • Writing essays containing heavy research
  • Writing essays with the aim of listing, explaining, or narrating
  • Writing essays that analyze literary works such as poems, plays, or books

When using chronological order, your introduction should indicate the information you will cover and in what order, and the introduction should also establish the relevance of the information. Your body paragraphs should then provide clear divisions or steps in chronology. You can divide your paragraphs by time (such as decades, wars, or other historical events) or by the same structure of the work you are examining (such as a line-by-line explication of a poem).

On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph that describes a process you are familiar with and can do well. Assume that your reader is unfamiliar with the procedure. Remember to use the chronological key words, such as first , second , then , and finally .

Order of Importance

Recall from Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” that order of importance is best used for the following purposes:

  • Persuading and convincing
  • Ranking items by their importance, benefit, or significance
  • Illustrating a situation, problem, or solution

Most essays move from the least to the most important point, and the paragraphs are arranged in an effort to build the essay’s strength. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to begin with your most important supporting point, such as in an essay that contains a thesis that is highly debatable. When writing a persuasive essay, it is best to begin with the most important point because it immediately captivates your readers and compels them to continue reading.

For example, if you were supporting your thesis that homework is detrimental to the education of high school students, you would want to present your most convincing argument first, and then move on to the less important points for your case.

Some key transitional words you should use with this method of organization are most importantly , almost as importantly , just as importantly , and finally .

During your career, you may be required to work on a team that devises a strategy for a specific goal of your company, such as increasing profits. When planning your strategy you should organize your steps in order of importance. This demonstrates the ability to prioritize and plan. Using the order of importance technique also shows that you can create a resolution with logical steps for accomplishing a common goal.

On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph that discusses a passion of yours. Your passion could be music, a particular sport, filmmaking, and so on. Your paragraph should be built upon the reasons why you feel so strongly. Briefly discuss your reasons in the order of least to greatest importance.

Spatial Order

As stated in Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” , spatial order is best used for the following purposes:

  • Helping readers visualize something as you want them to see it
  • Evoking a scene using the senses (sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound)
  • Writing a descriptive essay

Spatial order means that you explain or describe objects as they are arranged around you in your space, for example in a bedroom. As the writer, you create a picture for your reader, and their perspective is the viewpoint from which you describe what is around you.

The view must move in an orderly, logical progression, giving the reader clear directional signals to follow from place to place. The key to using this method is to choose a specific starting point and then guide the reader to follow your eye as it moves in an orderly trajectory from your starting point.

Pay attention to the following student’s description of her bedroom and how she guides the reader through the viewing process, foot by foot.

Attached to my bedroom wall is a small wooden rack dangling with red and turquoise necklaces that shimmer as you enter. Just to the right of the rack is my window, framed by billowy white curtains. The peace of such an image is a stark contrast to my desk, which sits to the right of the window, layered in textbooks, crumpled papers, coffee cups, and an overflowing ashtray. Turning my head to the right, I see a set of two bare windows that frame the trees outside the glass like a 3D painting. Below the windows is an oak chest from which blankets and scarves are protruding. Against the wall opposite the billowy curtains is an antique dresser, on top of which sits a jewelry box and a few picture frames. A tall mirror attached to the dresser takes up most of the wall, which is the color of lavender.

The paragraph incorporates two objectives you have learned in this chapter: using an implied topic sentence and applying spatial order. Often in a descriptive essay, the two work together.

The following are possible transition words to include when using spatial order:

  • Just to the left or just to the right
  • On the left or on the right
  • Across from
  • A little further down
  • To the south, to the east, and so on
  • A few yards away
  • Turning left or turning right

On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph using spatial order that describes your commute to work, school, or another location you visit often.


Please share with a classmate and compare your answers.

Key Takeaways

  • The way you organize your body paragraphs ensures you and your readers stay focused on and draw connections to, your thesis statement.
  • A strong organizational pattern allows you to articulate, analyze, and clarify your thoughts.
  • Planning the organizational structure for your essay before you begin to search for supporting evidence helps you conduct more effective and directed research.
  • Chronological order is most commonly used in expository writing. It is useful for explaining the history of your subject, for telling a story, or for explaining a process.
  • Order of importance is most appropriate in a persuasion paper as well as for essays in which you rank things, people, or events by their significance.
  • Spatial order describes things as they are arranged in space and is best for helping readers visualize something as you want them to see it; it creates a dominant impression.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Library homepage

  • school Campus Bookshelves
  • menu_book Bookshelves
  • perm_media Learning Objects
  • login Login
  • how_to_reg Request Instructor Account
  • hub Instructor Commons

Margin Size

  • Download Page (PDF)
  • Download Full Book (PDF)
  • Periodic Table
  • Physics Constants
  • Scientific Calculator
  • Reference & Cite
  • Tools expand_more
  • Readability

selected template will load here

This action is not available.

Humanities LibreTexts

2.3: Writing is a Non-Linear and Recursive Process

  • Last updated
  • Save as PDF
  • Page ID 7361

\( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

\( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

\( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

\( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

\( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

\( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

\( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

\( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

\( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

\( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

\( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

\( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

\( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

\( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

\( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

\( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

\( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

\( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

\( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

\( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

\( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

\( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

In Lewis Carroll’s tale Alice in Wonderland, the following dialog takes place between the King and the White Rabbit. Alice is on trial, and the Rabbit believes that he has a letter that might prove her innocence. He asks the King to allow him to read the letter. After the King agrees, the Rabbit asks: “Where shall I begin, please, your Majesty?” And the King answers: “Begin at the beginning…. And go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Writing, of course, is not the same as reading, but writers who are used to the product-based approach to composing often work on their compositions in a manner similar to the one in which the Rabbit read his letter. As you recall, the product-based approach requires writers to “think before they write.” According to this theory, we have to plan and lay out our whole compositions in our heads before we can begin writing them down. Consequently, a writer who has the whole piece stored in his or her mind, can quite easily write it from the beginning through the middle and to the end. After all, according to this approach nothing should change in the content of the piece during the act of writing itself. According to the product theory, writing is a sequential and orderly process of transcription.

Having studied the process model, however, we know that the content of every piece of writing gets developed during composing and not before. Thus, when we are working on a paper, we are not merely committing to paper or computer screen some pre-determined and pre-planned ideas that existed in our heads before we began composing. Instead, we are formulating and refining those ideas as compose. Such an approach allows us to take care of the content of the piece before be begin to worry about its structure.

Writers who approach composing in a linear way, tend to think about their pieces in terms of structure rather than content first. That is, before they even come up with enough to say, they, at least subconsciously, begin to worry about introduction, body, conclusion, and other structural elements of a text that does not yet exist. It is difficult for them to do otherwise because, if writing is linear (and in their minds it is), then you have to create the pieces of the future paper sequentially. According to this method, it is impossible to write the body of a text before the introduction. Similarly, within this framework, you cannot write a conclusion before the introduction is finished, and so on.

Writing is a non-linear and recursive process. This means that most writers do not “begin at the beginning” of a piece and “end at the end.” Instead, composing takes places in chunks, with authors going back and forth between clusters of ideas and writing possibilities, constantly reviewing and revising them, and moving them between the various parts of the prospective text.

So, how might this non-linear approach to writing work in practical terms? To understand, consider one student’s composing process. Melissa Hull was a student in one of my first-year writing classes. One of the assignments in that class required her to find and study a text produced by some oppressed or under-represented ethnic or cultural group and to show how that group had, over time, adjusted its writing and its self-representation in order to survive in a society dominated by other cultures. Melissa decided to study texts produced by Arvanites, an ethnic and linguistic minority in Greece. Melissa’s approach to the project is an excellent example of the recursive and non-linearity nature of writing. I interviewed Melissa to gain an insight into her research and writing processes.

The following are summaries of parts of our conversation.

PZ: Could you describe the early stages of the project? How did you begin to make sense of the assignment?

MH: I started to take notes and jot down ideas before even finding any texts written by Arvanites. However, I did not want to get too far along into the project without showing it to someone first. I was worried that maybe I was doing something wrong.

PZ: How did you start your research and why did you choose to write about Arvanites?

MH: I did some searches of online databases on the library websites on marginalized cultures. At first, the assignment was a little confusing, though.

PZ: Could you describe the writing of the first draft?

MH: I did some searches and found a lot of materials about Arvanites but none by them. It appears that their language is almost dead, so there aren’t many written texts by them. I found some texts on the web that said they were by Arvanites, but they were in Greek, so I could not go with them. I decided to start writing the draft just to make a better sense of the assignment and to go by what I had. I thought things would become clearer as I went. I ended up writing five drafts.

PZ: I seem to remember that you struggled after you write the very first rough draft? What was difficult and how did you resolve the problems?

MH: I knew absolutely nothing about them, but they seemed interesting and wanted to find out.

PZ: Could you describe the differences between your first and following drafts?

MH: After I wrote the first draft and received some feedback from my workshop group, I began to understand that I need a change of direction in my approach because I was not going to be able to find enough texts by the Arvanites. So, I looked a bit broader and wondered if I could use other elements of their culture, such as architecture and crafts, as texts. I was also beginning to realize that the point of my paper could be that there weren’t enough texts by the Arvanites and that facts showed something about their culture. So, my point of view on the subject changed as I kept writing drafts and researching.

As you can see from these excerpts, Melissa’s plans and the direction in which her paper was going change as she conducted additional research, revised, and received responses from her classmates and instructor. She was creating meaning in and through the process of research and writing.

How does the non-linear and the non-sequential nature of the writing process affect you as a writer? It urges you to move away from thinking about your compositions in structual terms of an introduction, body, and conclusion. Very often, when students discuss their writing plans with me, they say something like “and then, in this paragraph, I will have idea X. And then in the next paragraph, I will include story Y.” Certainly, there comes a time in the writing process when a writer needs to revise for structure and coherence deciding how to organize paragraphs and sentences. But, in my experience, many student writers begin to worry about structure way too early, way before they have fully formed and developed their ideas for writing.

So, as you begin to write your next piece, I invite you to begin by thinking not about the structure of your yet unwritten text but about its content. You will create the structure later, once you know what kind of material you have for your writing. Your content will determine the structure of your paper, and you will generate that content not by going through some predetermined routine, but by working in a creative, non-linear, and non-sequential way.

  • Top Courses
  • Online Degrees
  • Find your New Career
  • Join for Free

What is Natural Language Processing? Definition and Examples

Natural language processing ensures that AI can understand the natural human languages we speak everyday. Learn more about this impactful AI subfield.

[Featured Image] A machine learning engineer who works with a form of a  natural processing language wears a red button-down shirt and sits in a server storage room.

Natural language processing (NLP) is a form of artificial intelligence ( AI ) that allows computers to understand human language, whether it be written, spoken, or even scribbled. As AI-powered devices and services become increasingly more intertwined with our daily lives and world, so too does the impact that NLP has on ensuring a seamless human-computer experience.

In this article, you’ll learn more about what NLP is, the techniques used to do it, and some of the benefits it provides consumers and businesses. At the end, you’ll also learn about common NLP tools and explore some online, cost-effective courses that can introduce you to the field’s most fundamental concepts. 

Natural language processing definition

Natural language processing (NLP) is a subset of artificial intelligence, computer science , and linguistics focused on making human communication, such as speech and text, comprehensible to computers. 

NLP is used in a wide variety of everyday products and services. Some of the most common ways NLP is used are through voice-activated digital assistants on smartphones, email-scanning programs used to identify spam, and translation apps that decipher foreign languages.

Natural language techniques 

NLP encompasses a wide range of techniques to analyze human language. Some of the most common techniques you will likely encounter in the field include:

Sentiment analysis: An NLP technique that analyzes text to identify its sentiments, such as “positive,” “negative,” or “neutral.” Sentiment analysis is commonly used by businesses to better understand customer feedback. 

Summarization: An NLP technique that summarizes a longer text, in order to make it more manageable for time-sensitive readers. Some common texts that are summarized include reports and articles. 

Keyword extraction: An NLP technique that analyzes a text to identify the most important keywords or phrases. Keyword extraction is commonly used for search engine optimization (SEO) , social media monitoring, and business intelligence purposes. 

Tokenization: The process of breaking characters, words, or subwords down into “tokens” that can be analyzed by a program. Tokenization undergirds common NLP tasks like word modeling, vocabulary building, and frequent word occurrence. 

NLP benefits 

Whether it’s being used to quickly translate a text from one language to another or producing business insights by running a sentiment analysis on hundreds of reviews, NLP provides both businesses and consumers with a variety of benefits. 

Unsurprisingly, then, we can expect to see more of it in the coming years. According to research by Fortune Business Insights, the North American market for NLP is projected to grow from $26.42 billion in 2022 to $161.81 billion in 2029 [ 1 ]. 

Some common benefits of NLP include:

The ability to analyze both structured and unstructured data, such as speech, text messages, and social media posts. 

Improving customer satisfaction and experience by identifying insights using sentiment analysis. 

Reducing costs by employing NLP-enabled AI to perform specific tasks, such as chatting with customers via chatbots or analyzing large amounts of text data. 

Better understanding a target market or brand by conducting NLP analysis on relevant data like social media posts, focus group surveys, and reviews. 

NLP limitations

NLP can be used for a wide variety of applications but it's far from perfect. In fact, many NLP tools struggle to interpret sarcasm, emotion, slang, context, errors, and other types of ambiguous statements. This means that NLP is mostly limited to unambiguous situations that don't require a significant amount of interpretation.

Natural language processing examples

Although natural language processing might sound like something out of a science fiction novel, the truth is that people already interact with countless NLP-powered devices and services every day. 

Online chatbots, for example, use NLP to engage with consumers and direct them toward appropriate resources or products. While chat bots can’t answer every question that customers may have, businesses like them because they offer cost-effective ways to troubleshoot common problems or questions that consumers have about their products. 

Another common use of NLP is for text prediction and autocorrect, which you’ve likely encountered many times before while messaging a friend or drafting a document. This technology allows texters and writers alike to speed-up their writing process and correct common typos. 

What about ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a chatbot powered by AI and natural language processing that produces unusually human-like responses. Recently, it has dominated headlines due to its ability to produce responses that far outperform what was previously commercially possible.

If you'd like to learn more, the University of Michigan's ChatGPT Teach Out brings together experts on communication technology, the economy, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, healthcare delivery, and law to discuss the impacts of the technology now and into the future.

Read more: ChatGPT 101: What Is Generative AI (and How to Use It)

Natural language processing tools

There are numerous natural language processing tools and services available to help you get started today. Some of the most common tools and services you might encounter include the following: 

Google Cloud NLP API

IBM Watson 

Amazon Comprehend 

Natural language processing with Python 

Python is a programming language well-suited to NLP. Some common Python libraries and toolkits you can use to start exploring NLP include NLTK, Stanford CoreNLP, and Genism. 

Read more: What Is Python Used For? A Beginner’s Guide

Learn more with Coursera

Natural language processing helps computers understand human language in all its forms, from handwritten notes to typed snippets of text and spoken instructions. Start exploring the field in greater depth by taking a cost-effective, flexible specialization on Coursera. 

DeepLearning.AI’s Natural Language Processing Specialization will prepare you to design NLP applications that perform question-answering and sentiment analysis, create tools to translate languages and summarize text, and even build chatbots. In DeepLearning.AI’s Machine Learning Specialization , meanwhile, you’ll master fundamental AI concepts and develop practical machine learning skills in the beginner-friendly, three-course program by AI visionary (and Coursera co-founder) Andrew Ng.

Article sources

Business Fortune Insights. “ The global natural language processing (NLP) market… ,” Accessed March 28, 2023. 

Keep reading

Coursera staff.

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

How Much Research Is Being Written by Large Language Models?

New studies show a marked spike in LLM usage in academia, especially in computer science. What does this mean for researchers and reviewers?

research papers scroll out of a computer

In March of this year, a  tweet about an academic paper went viral for all the wrong reasons. The introduction section of the paper, published in  Elsevier’s  Surfaces and Interfaces , began with this line:  Certainly, here is a possible introduction for your topic. 

Look familiar? 

It should, if you are a user of ChatGPT and have applied its talents for the purpose of content generation. LLMs are being increasingly used to assist with writing tasks, but examples like this in academia are largely anecdotal and had not been quantified before now. 

“While this is an egregious example,” says  James Zou , associate professor of biomedical data science and, by courtesy, of computer science and of electrical engineering at Stanford, “in many cases, it’s less obvious, and that’s why we need to develop more granular and robust statistical methods to estimate the frequency and magnitude of LLM usage. At this particular moment, people want to know what content around us is written by AI. This is especially important in the context of research, for the papers we author and read and the reviews we get on our papers. That’s why we wanted to study how much of those have been written with the help of AI.”

In two papers looking at LLM use in scientific publishings, Zou and his team* found that 17.5% of computer science papers and 16.9% of peer review text had at least some content drafted by AI. The paper on LLM usage in peer reviews will be presented at the International Conference on Machine Learning.

Read  Mapping the Increasing Use of LLMs in Scientific Papers and  Monitoring AI-Modified Content at Scale: A Case Study on the Impact of ChatGPT on AI Conference Peer Reviews  

Here Zou discusses the findings and implications of this work, which was supported through a Stanford HAI Hoffman Yee Research Grant . 

How did you determine whether AI wrote sections of a paper or a review?

We first saw that there are these specific worlds – like commendable, innovative, meticulous, pivotal, intricate, realm, and showcasing – whose frequency in reviews sharply spiked, coinciding with the release of ChatGPT. Additionally, we know that these words are much more likely to be used by LLMs than by humans. The reason we know this is that we actually did an experiment where we took many papers, used LLMs to write reviews of them, and compared those reviews to reviews written by human reviewers on the same papers. Then we quantified which words are more likely to be used by LLMs vs. humans, and those are exactly the words listed. The fact that they are more likely to be used by an LLM and that they have also seen a sharp spike coinciding with the release of LLMs is strong evidence.

Charts showing significant shift in the frequency of certain adjectives in research journals.

Some journals permit the use of LLMs in academic writing, as long as it’s noted, while others, including  Science and the ICML conference, prohibit it. How are the ethics perceived in academia?

This is an important and timely topic because the policies of various journals are changing very quickly. For example,  Science said in the beginning that they would not allow authors to use language models in their submissions, but they later changed their policy and said that people could use language models, but authors have to explicitly note where the language model is being used. All the journals are struggling with how to define this and what’s the right way going forward.

You observed an increase in usage of LLMs in academic writing, particularly in computer science papers (up to 17.5%). Math and  Nature family papers, meanwhile, used AI text about 6.3% of the time. What do you think accounts for the discrepancy between these disciplines? 

Artificial intelligence and computer science disciplines have seen an explosion in the number of papers submitted to conferences like ICLR and NeurIPS. And I think that’s really caused a strong burden, in many ways, to reviewers and to authors. So now it’s increasingly difficult to find qualified reviewers who have time to review all these papers. And some authors may feel more competition that they need to keep up and keep writing more and faster. 

You analyzed close to a million papers on arXiv, bioRxiv, and  Nature from January 2020 to February 2024. Do any of these journals include humanities papers or anything in the social sciences?  

We mostly wanted to focus more on CS and engineering and biomedical areas and interdisciplinary areas, like  Nature family journals, which also publish some social science papers. Availability mattered in this case. So, it’s relatively easy for us to get data from arXiv, bioRxiv, and  Nature . A lot of AI conferences also make reviews publicly available. That’s not the case for humanities journals.

Did any results surprise you?

A few months after ChatGPT’s launch, we started to see a rapid, linear increase in the usage pattern in academic writing. This tells us how quickly these LLM technologies diffuse into the community and become adopted by researchers. The most surprising finding is the magnitude and speed of the increase in language model usage. Nearly a fifth of papers and peer review text use LLM modification. We also found that peer reviews submitted closer to the deadline and those less likely to engage with author rebuttal were more likely to use LLMs. 

This suggests a couple of things. Perhaps some of these reviewers are not as engaged with reviewing these papers, and that’s why they are offloading some of the work to AI to help. This could be problematic if reviewers are not fully involved. As one of the pillars of the scientific process, it is still necessary to have human experts providing objective and rigorous evaluations. If this is being diluted, that’s not great for the scientific community.

What do your findings mean for the broader research community?

LLMs are transforming how we do research. It’s clear from our work that many papers we read are written with the help of LLMs. There needs to be more transparency, and people should state explicitly how LLMs are used and if they are used substantially. I don’t think it’s always a bad thing for people to use LLMs. In many areas, this can be very useful. For someone who is not a native English speaker, having the model polish their writing can be helpful. There are constructive ways for people to use LLMs in the research process; for example, in earlier stages of their draft. You could get useful feedback from a LLM in real time instead of waiting weeks or months to get external feedback. 

But I think it’s still very important for the human researchers to be accountable for everything that is submitted and presented. They should be able to say, “Yes, I will stand behind the statements that are written in this paper.”

*Collaborators include:  Weixin Liang ,  Yaohui Zhang ,  Zhengxuan Wu ,  Haley Lepp ,  Wenlong Ji ,  Xuandong Zhao ,  Hancheng Cao ,  Sheng Liu ,  Siyu He ,  Zhi Huang ,  Diyi Yang ,  Christopher Potts ,  Christopher D. Manning ,  Zachary Izzo ,  Yaohui Zhang ,  Lingjiao Chen ,  Haotian Ye , and Daniel A. McFarland .

Stanford HAI’s mission is to advance AI research, education, policy and practice to improve the human condition.  Learn more . 

More News Topics


  1. The Speech Writing Process

    The Speech Writing Process By Philippe John Fresnillo Sipacio & Anne Balgos (Page 62) Just like events planning, or any other activities, writing an effective speech follows certain steps or processes. The process for writing is not chronological or linear; rather, it is recursive. That means you...

  2. 10.2 Using Common Organizing Patterns

    Learning Objectives. Differentiate among the common speech organizational patterns: categorical/topical, comparison/contrast, spatial, chronological, biographical, causal, problem-cause-solution, and psychological. Understand how to choose the best organizational pattern, or combination of patterns, for a specific speech.

  3. Chronological, Step-by-Step, and Spatial Organization

    A spatial pattern organizes each main point in a directional structure, connecting each main point to a whole. This structure is used for informative speeches where the topic is organized by location, geography, or moving through a space ("spatial" is the adjective form of "space"). For example, a speech about the parts of a resume ...

  4. Organizational Strategies and Chronological Order

    In composition and speech, chronological order is a method of organization in which actions or events are presented as they occur or occurred in time and can also be called time or linear order. Narratives and process analysis essays commonly rely on chronological order. Morton Miller points out in his 1980 book "Reading and Writing Short Essay ...

  5. The Speech Writing Process A Public Speakers Guide

    Your speech is a journey. Your audience needs to know your key premise and understand where you intend to bring them along the path to your conclusion. This is most successfully accomplished in the writing phase with a proper outline. An outline allows you to organize your thoughts before you go any further in the writing process and keep ...

  6. The General Steps in the Speechwriting Process

    Determining the appropriate style and delivery for the audience and setting. 7. Determining the key points and outlining the speech. 8. Drafting the speech and generating feedback. 9. Completing and, if operative, submitting speech text to the speaker. 10. Feedback, editing, and approval of the speech.

  7. Beginners Guide to What is a Speech Writing

    The speechwriting process relies on a well-defined structure, crucial to both the speech's content and the writing process. It encompasses a compelling introduction, an informative body, and a strong conclusion. This process serves as a foundation for effective speeches, guiding the speaker through a series of reasons and a persuasive ...


    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like speech writing process, chronological or linear, audience profiling and more.

  9. 19.5 Writing Process: Writing to Speak

    1.5 Writing Process: ... around to create the greatest impact. For example, a topic discussing World War II battles might best be presented in chronological order (listed or arranged according to time sequence), ... While you may have been taught not to use first-person pronouns in most formal or academic writing, speech is completely different.

  10. It's linear, right?

    The process of writing is the same way. Good writers move forward and backward between the steps. For example, when you are writing your [draft], you may think of a better way to organize your ideas. That's good! That is how experienced writers really write." 1. Thus what we have is a process that gradually moves from Step 1 toward Step 5.

  11. the speech writing process Flashcards

    The process for writing is not chronological or linear; rather, it is _____ speech writing process you have the opportunity to repeat a writing procedure indefinitely, or produce multiple drafts first before you can settle on the right one.

  12. The Writing Timeline

    The Writing Timeline. The Writing Timeline. Writing is a process both linear and recursive. It is linear because effective writers construct documents in well-defined and ordered stages. It is also recursive, however, because at any point an author may need to return to a previous stage.

  13. The Speech Writing Process Flashcards

    Q-Chat. Just like events planning, or any other activity, writing an effective speech follows certain steps or processes. The process of writing is not chronological or linear; rather, it is recursive. That means you have the opportunity to repeat a writing procedure indefinitely, or produce multiple drafts first before you settle on the right one.

  14. Lesson 6

    or processes. The process for writing is not chronological or linear; rather, it is recursive. That means you have the opportunity to repeat a writing procedure indefinitely, or produce multiple drafts first before you can settle on the right one. Figure 1 shows the schematic diagram. The following are the components of the speech writing process.

  15. Speech Writing

    It means that the writing process doesn't follow a strict chronological or linear order. Instead, it involves going back and forth, revisiting and revising different parts, making it a recursive or repetitive activity. ... In speech writing, an outline is like a plan that helps you organize your ideas and the order in which you'll ...

  16. The Writing Process

    Step 3: Writing a first draft. Once you have a clear idea of your structure, it's time to produce a full first draft. This process can be quite non-linear. For example, it's reasonable to begin writing with the main body of the text, saving the introduction for later once you have a clearer idea of the text you're introducing.

  17. Speech writing process Flashcards

    Terms in this set (21) Speech Writing Process. just like a event planning or any other activities writing an effective speech follow certain steps or processes a process is not chronological or linear rather it is recursive. recursive. repeats a writing procedure and definitely or produce multiple drops first before you can settle on the right one.

  18. 9.3 Organizing Your Writing

    Exercise 3. On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph that discusses a passion of yours. Your passion could be music, a particular sport, filmmaking, and so on. Your paragraph should be built upon the reasons why you feel so strongly. Briefly discuss your reasons in the order of least to greatest importance.

  19. 2.3: Writing is a Non-Linear and Recursive Process

    Writing is a non-linear and recursive process. This means that most writers do not "begin at the beginning" of a piece and "end at the end.". Instead, composing takes places in chunks, with authors going back and forth between clusters of ideas and writing possibilities, constantly reviewing and revising them, and moving them between ...

  20. What is Natural Language Processing? Definition and Examples

    Natural language processing (NLP) is a form of artificial intelligence that allows computers to understand human language, whether it be written, spoken, or even scribbled.As AI-powered devices and services become increasingly more intertwined with our daily lives and world, so too does the impact that NLP has on ensuring a seamless human-computer experience.

  21. Speech Writing Process Flashcards

    the process of speech writing is not chronological nor linear. Click the card to flip 👆. 1 / 63. Flashcards. Learn. Test. Match. Created by. paukthv. Terms in this set (63) Recursive. the process of speech writing is not chronological nor linear. Audience analysis. Entails looking into the profile of your target audience. Demography. age ...

  22. Speech Writing.pptx

    Document Speech Writing.pptx, Subject Communications, from Visayas State University Main Campus - Baybay City, Leyte, Length: 19 pages, Preview: Speech Writing Speech Writing Process: Writing process is not chronological or linear; rather it is recursive. Speech Writing Process: •

  23. How Much Research Is Being Written by Large Language Models?

    A few months after ChatGPT's launch, we started to see a rapid, linear increase in the usage pattern in academic writing. This tells us how quickly these LLM technologies diffuse into the community and become adopted by researchers. The most surprising finding is the magnitude and speed of the increase in language model usage.


    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Speech Writing Process, Audience analysis, • demography (age range, male-female ratio, educational background and affiliations or degree program taken, nationality, economic status, academic or corporate designations) • situation (time, venue, occasion, and size) • psychology (values, beliefs, attitudes, preferences ...

  25. Speech Writing Process Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Speech writing process-, AUDIENCE ANALYSIS, demography and more.