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This organiser is based around the W3 (What? Why? Where?) method of structuring information and ideas and it can be used in two main ways:

Firstly, as a way of preparing structured notes about a theory, method or concept.

Secondly as a means of creating a solid, consistent, paragraph structure for answering essay-type questions (questions that test skills of knowledge, interpretation and evaluation). Used in this way it’s similar in scale and scope to a whole range of structuring mnemonics (from PEEL to PERC and all points in between…) with which you may be familiar.

One salient feature of the W3 organiser, however, is that it’s extremely simple for students to remember and apply:

  • Topic: The organiser starts with a topic to consider, such as a theory.
  • What (do you think is important)?
    In this section students identify something significant they want to say about the theory / concept / method.
  • Why (do you think it’s important)?
    A brief explanation of why they think this idea is important.
  • Where (is the evidence, for and against)?
    In this section students identify and briefly explain examples of evidence (such as studies) for and against the theory (or, if the topic was research methods, this section might look at strengths and weaknesses).
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