Once my students and I have narrowed our research topics to a manageable size, it's time to start thinking about our research in more detail. To do this, I introduce them to our next prewriting strategy: Content-Purpose-Audience (C-P-A).
I quickly explain that we're going to use the C-P-A to help organize our research. I provide each of my students with a copy of a sample completed C-P-A on one side and a blank C-P-A chart on the other side. Eventually, they will fill this in for their own topics.
We then read the sample together. As we do, I point out that the Content boxes include Main Idea and Key Details, the Purpose boxes include Think/Do, and the Audience boxes include People and Questions. Once my students have an overview of what the C-P-A is, it's time to put this strategy into action.
Know Who Your Audience Is
For many students, this is their first experience writing a research paper in MLA Format for someone other than their classmates or their teacher. Knowing who they're writing to helps them further focus their research (and take it seriously). We start in the bottom boxes by determining who our Audience is and what Questions these People might have about the research topics we've chosen.