With two of my finals being in the format of take-home papers and a variety of papers that are also due at the end of the semester, I am sharing the three phases of writing a paper.
I know outlines can seem silly and like a waste of time, but they are crucial. Without an outline, papers can become unorganized and it is easy to leave out crucial information.
First, I make sure to note any important details at the top, like length requirements, due dates, source requirements, etc.
I usually copy and paste the prompt, or at least key parts from the prompt as well. This makes it easy to reference and stay on track.
Next, I begin pulling quotes from my sources. I type out the entire quotation, as well as the in text citation, so it is easy to transfer to my paper.
I add abbreviated bullet points before and after each quote to introduce the quote, summarize, analyze, and add any extra input.
Finally, I rearrange my bullet points into the order I would like them for my paper.
My biggest tip for writing a paper is to have as detailed of an outline as possible. I often spend more time outlining my paper than actually writing it. The more work you do on the outline, the easier the draft will be.
This part is easy if your outline is detailed. I simply copy and paste each bullet point and add the filler words to form complete sentences. As the draft progresses, I add more thoughts and ideas as needed.
For every bullet point that I use in my draft, I change the font color in the outline. This way, I can easily see if there are any points I skipped and need to come back to at the end of the draft.
There is nothing worse than a careless mistake. Basic typos and simple grammatical errors reflect poorly on you and imply a lack of effort. Read over your paper yourself and have someone else read it as well. I always have someone read over my papers, whether through an appointment in my university’s writing center, offering to read a classmate’s in exchange for them reading my paper, or both. Depending on your professor, they may be willing to look at it as well, which is great, because they are who is deciding on your final grade.
Once you have edited your paper thoroughly, you are ready to submit! Print or email your paper and give yourself a pat on the back. A great amount of work goes into writing a paper, so go easy on yourself.