We’re all familiar with this scenario – it’s the night before your paper is due and you’ve been trying to write it all week, but you just can’t figure out how to get started! The topic seems too complex, the research unending, and you just don’t have the motivation to sit down and start writing. Don’t worry! Luckily for me, I don’t need anybody to write my paper for me using some tips. With these 8 important steps to take when writing a college paper, you’ll be able to tackle that paper with ease in no time. Here they are
1) Generate good ideas
Generate ideas for your paper. Find out what the professor is looking for in the assignment and study the readings. If you know you are going to need information from an outside source, take note of this. Write down all of your ideas on paper before continuing on with any other steps so that you don’t forget anything. Next, create a rough outline: The outline will allow you to have a clear idea of how everything will go together.
2) Come up with a thesis statement
Thesis statements are the foundations of every paper, which is why you should think about it before writing anything else. It will dictate what you write, and without it you might get lost and go in different directions with your work. A thesis statement needs to be debatable, which means there has to be some argument that goes against the statement. It also needs to include an overview of the paper, so you’ll know what topics need more attention.
3) Break the topic down into subtopics
Break the topic down into subtopics. Brainstorm the different aspects of your topic that you want to cover in your paper. Identify the themes, or main topics, of your paper. Your introductory paragraph should identify the focus of your paper and what will be discussed within each paragraph throughout the body of your paper. Make sure to include at least three sources for information for each subtopic/theme.
4) Research each subtopic individually
Research each subtopic individually by looking at the assigned reading, using Google Scholar and other resources as necessary. Create an outline of each subtopic so that you know what you need to do in order to write the paper. The outline will also allow you to map out any research questions or ideas that come up while reading or researching. Outlines are not necessary for shorter papers, but they will make it easier when writing long papers such as the ten page paper required for this class.
5) Develop an outline with main points and supporting details
Developing an outline is the most important part of the writing process. It should include main points and supporting details in order to keep the flow going. Ideas can be developed through brainstorming, reading, or even listening to music. The outline will help guide you when writing because it can keep you on track with what needs to be included in each paragraph.
6) Write your introduction last
Introduction is the most important part of your paper, and you should always spend as much time on it as you can. Write it last, though, because the introduction sets up what’s going to happen in the rest of your paper. Once you know what you’re talking about, then it’s easier to write an intro that conveys that information effectively. What’s more, if you already have some ideas for your paper written down, then writing the intro will be easier than starting from scratch.
7) Write your conclusion last
The conclusion is the last thing you will write. Once you have finished all of your steps, it is time to go back and summarize what happened. This will make sense if you’ve followed all the other steps, because by this point you should be able to provide an accurate summary of your paper. If anything major changes in your paper between your introduction and conclusion, like new evidence or a change in argumentation, then that needs to be reflected in both parts.
8) Proofread, proofread, proofread!
Proofreading is one of the most important steps in writing a college paper. Every sentence should be read, word by word, at least twice. It’s also helpful to have somebody else look over your work for grammatical errors and typos. If you’re not sure about something you’ve written, try reading it out loud. If you stumble on a sentence or if it doesn’t sound right when spoken, then there may be an error somewhere.