Free Guide to Write Better Papers
Writing papers is perhaps the hardest and most
important thing you have to do in college. Writing is hard because
it requires work, understanding and thinking. It requires research,
clear language and discipline. Essays often weigh heavily in grades
and sometimes are required to get into schools or programs. Writing
ability is critical to success in school and your future career.
10. Start early and budget your time.
You've heard this a million times, but it can be too easy to let
time slip away when you must juggle class assignments, work and
party time. But starting early can mean simply thinking through
and budgeting your time. If there is reading and research involved,
then the sooner the better. Starting early will also help you deal
with unforeseen problems like difficulty obtaining the required
research materials or coming down with the flu just before the paper
is due. Starting early helps not only to get through the work, but
also to let the ideas steep into your brain.
9. Clearly understanding the assignment.
If the paper topic is assigned, it is important to clearly understand
the assignment. Analyze the topic word by word to understand the
requirements and scope of work. You might want to underline key
words in the assignment and think about how they relate to the reading
and/or lectures. Figure out whether you must interpret or simply
state the facts. If in doubt, ask other students or the professor
8. Organize your research materials and your
thoughts. Not only do you have to read the materials but also
you have to clearly organize the information that you are using
from other sources. Start by highlighting key points and making
notes of these points. As you gather these materials your thoughts
should solidify. Think about how you would string this information
together in a cohesive flow. Allow yourself to refine or change
your approach as you amass the materials. At this point you can
further organize your thoughts into an outline format. Even if your
paper does not involve research you still should take time to organize
your thoughts on paper.
7. Learn by Example. If you are confused
about writing essays or how to approach the subject matter look
for examples. Read other essays to help you understand how to organize
and present the information. Look at how the author introduces the
topic, develops the idea and provides a clear conclusion. Is there
a logical approach to the paper? Does it flow like a conversation
or a good lecture? How does the writer make the topic interesting?
Is the language and style consistent or does seem to jump around?
Later when you are reviewing your work, ask the same questions.
Compare the effectiveness of your approach. You may want to look
at papers with similar subject matter to be sure you are writing
to standards of that particular field.
Page 1 - 2