Writing Successful Academic Papers
A successful academic paper can be the difference between a passing grade and a failing one, or the difference between graduating at the top of your class and not. Considering the consequences often attached to essays, there is considerable pressure that can be felt while writing them. For that reason, it is key to have a good game plan that will keep your academic paper on track. This article lays out an easy seven step process to make sure your final product is something you will be proud of.
- Research. This is the foundation of any paper. Put in the necessary time up front to do proper research and you will have a much easier time filling your essay with high quality, relevant content.
- Synthesize. During your research, you will likely encounter a wide variety of viewpoints and opinions of the topic which you are studying. Rather than try to mash them all into your paper, pick and choose the points you find relevant and want to include. During this process, the overall theme of your paper should start to become clear.
- Thesis. This is the main point of your paper. Don’t attempt to write your paper before you have a clear, focused thesis that all of the content will revolve around. Without this, your paper is sure to be rambling and conflicted and will not make a strong argument for any one specific point.
- Outline. With the thesis in place, you should build out an outline that constructs the framework of your paper. By spending time on this step, you ensure that the thesis does not get lost in the text, and everything you write has a place and a purpose.
- Start Writing. When your outline is done, it’s finally time to start writing. Follow the outline closely, and write in sections. You will be able to make corrections later, so just let the words flow and get all of your thoughts out.
- Review for Content. The first round of revision should be focused on the content of the paper. Make sure that the points you wanted to make come through clearly, and there are no sentences that are hard to read. For this step, it can be helpful to have a friend or classmate read over the paper as well.
- Review for Details. Once you are settled on the content of the paper, one last review is necessary to catch any spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. Don’t skip this step, or you may be left with a well written paper that gets marked down because of technical flaws.