How to Write a Paper Jenny Havens Ozark Christian College Learning Center
1. Know Due Dates and Plan Accordingly * Have a calendar with all of your assignments written in it. * Always look at least 3weeks ahead in your calendar!!!
*Possible topics will most likely be found in you syllabus. 2. Choose a Topic *Always check with your professor if you want to research a topic that is not in your syllabus. *Choose a topic that is interesting to you!!
3. Find Resources * These can be found in the Library!! * Check your text books from that class, they often have information in them about what you are studying. * Possible resources include commentaries, articles from magazines and encyclopedias, books on your subject or books with a chapter about your subject, etc. * If you have a hard time finding resources, ask your professor or consider changing your topic.
Research your topic and take notes!! *This process should take the most time, so be patient and have fun learning new information.
The Notebook Method- use a notebook and write all of your notes in it. Pros- Everything is in one place Cons- hard to organize when you are ready to write the paper
The Book Method- sit in front of your computer with all of your books around you. As you find something to use in your paper, type it on the computer. Pros- Doesn’t involve actually taking notes, can take less time Cons- Confusing, hard to organize
The Note Card Method Pros: All of your notes are in one place, easy to organize Cons: Note taking takes a long time *This is the method you will have to use in Comp. 2 so it would be to your advantage to learn it now!
Steps for the Note Card Method 1. Put the author’s name and page number on the top of the card along with one fact, quote or thought. Author’s Last Name Page Number One fact, quote, or thought per card
2. Always keep track of bibliographical information in a notebook or on one note card. 3. Keep note cards for research, your own thoughts or questions and for possible thesis statements. 4. When finished taking notes, organize cards in stacks of main topics, introduction and conclusion. This forms your outline.
5. Type out notes in the order you want them. Make sure to include references and quotation marks. 6. Add in your own thoughts and transitions. 7. Write your introduction and conclusion. Don’t forget your thesis!!! 8. Proofread and make corrections. Your final draft should not be your first draft!!
Tips forResearch 1. Photocopy sources 2. Document everything you photocopy or take notes on. 3. Do not rely on one source or one type of source. This is not a book report!!! You should have more than one or two sources sited within your paper.
1. Write your thesis statement!!! What is a thesis statement? *The thesis statement is an umbrella. Each section of you paper should fall under that umbrella. Purpose: To summarize your paper in one clear sentence. * A clear thesis statement is vital to a good paper. It lets the reader know what he is going to read. * Look in your syllabus for sample thesis statements.
2. Create an outline *This is just a skeleton of your paper *Make sure that each point and detail fits under the umbrella of your thesis!! *Your outline should have at least 3 main points with supporting details for each point. I. Main Point A. Supporting Detail B. Supporting Detail C. Supporting Detail II. Main Point A. Supporting Detail B. Etc. Example
Tell them what you are going to tell them. INTRODUCTION Thesis BODY Tell them!! Restate Thesis Tell them what you have just told them. CONCLUSION
Write the Body of your paper first. *The body contains all of your main points and supporting details. *The number of points is set by the material you want to cover and how you want to organize it.
Write the Conclusion after you write the body. *The conclusion is usually one paragraph. *Restate your thesis in the conclusion. *Summarize what you have just told your reader in the body. *Wrap up the paper with a bang!!
Write the Introduction last. *The Introduction should catch the reader’s attention. *The Introduction can be more than one paragraph. *Intro should end with your Thesis Statement. *Thesis= your paper in one sentence.
Proof Read!! *You read it and look for mistakes. Then correct them!! *Have someone else read it and look for mistakes. *A friend that you trust *An RA *A tutor from The Learning Center (make an appointment)
Edit *Rewrite/Make corrections *Make sure all of the corrections fit under the umbrella of your thesis. *Reread- make sure the paper makes sense!! *Your final draft should not be your first draft. Excellence is the only option when preparing to serve Jesus!
1. Starting too late *Always look at least 3 weeks ahead in your calendar and plan accordingly. 2. Using 1st or 2nd person *Never use the words I, You, We or They in a paper unless the professor assigns an application section. *Never speak to the professor in the paper.
3. Using contractions *Don’t shorten words--use Do not instead of Don’t and Is Not instead of isn’t, etc. 4. Shifting verb tense *Make sure all of your verbs are in the same tense
5. Putting more than one thought in a paragraph *Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence and each sentence in the paragraph should fall under that topic sentence. 6. Not using transition sentences *If one paragraph is about frogs and the next one is about heaven, tell me how you got from frogs to heaven.
7. Format, Format, Format!!! *Get a Term Paper Guide from the bookstore and follow the format guidelines. *Pay close attention to page number position, margin width, format for title page, spacing, and headings.
8. Run on sentences or patterned sentences *Don’t use run on sentences even if you like them because they can get very long and tedious for your professor to read because they read a lot of papers. *Don’t make it sound like a Dick and Jane book. Vary the length and pattern of your sentences. 9. Not using spell check *It’s easy, every computer on campus has it!!
10. Irrelevant sentences or paragraphs *If it doesn’t fit under the umbrella of your thesis, don’t put it in the paper. 11. Lack of clarity *Don’t beat around the bush. Say what needs to be said. *Don’t pad your paper with fluff. Your professor will know!!
12. Using personal thoughts without the support of research *This is not an opinion paper. This is a research paper, everything in it must be supported by research. 13. Not giving credit *You must give credit to the author of all the quotes and ideas that aren’t your own.
14. Documentation *Paraphrase: Put the authors’ thoughts in your own words. This still needs to be documented because it is not your own thought. *A quote is anything, three words or more, that is not your own. Quotes need to have quotation marks around them and need to be documented. *A quote that is four or more lines long needs to be indented.
1. Choose a topic 2. Find resources 3. Take notes/research 4. Write thesis 5. Make an outline
6. Write body, conclusion and introduction 7. Proofread and edit 8. Have someone else proofread 9. Edit final copy 10. Watch for the common mistakes