Here are some tips in
- Select a relatable topic (if you’re given an option):
Choose something you’re interested in or curious about. Researching your information will be more enjoyable and you’ll write with more enthusiasm.
2. Make an outline: This will give you a “blueprint” for your paper and keep your writing organized. See the Writing Center’s handout on outlining if you need a sample.
3. Consider a form of prewriting: Try writing note cards out with your ideas on them, or mapping your ideas with a web diagram, or just talking your ideas through by yourself or with a friend. These steps will help your organization and creativity, which in turn will help you avoid plagiarism. If you are somewhat uncertain of what the paper’s focus will be, conducting a broad area of research can be beneficial in narrowing a topic and selecting a specific area of preference.
4. Develop a Thesis: A thesis statement introduces the topic and primary focus of the overall paper. While this can seem somewhat daunting, it is imperative to develop at least a rough thesis before endeavoring to write the paper. It should be noted, however, that a thesis can be manipulated throughout the writing process to better suit the purpose of a paper. Prewriting and research are necessary accompaniments when composing a potential thesis statement.
5. Use transitions: Transitions should be a mix of the last sentences/ideas you wrote and what you’re going to say next. See the Writing Center’s handout on transitions for some ideas and sample phrases.
6. Balance your use of paraphrases, quotes, and your own sentences: A higher ratio of paraphrases and your own sentences over direct quotations is the academic ideal (an excess of quotes can compromise the quality of the paper and indicate a lack of understanding and/or effort). When using a direct quote, it will be expected that you know why and how it relates to your topic. Remember to avoid plagiarism – you need to cite any ideas that do not come from you. This will include paraphrases, quotes, and even some of your own sentences that are based on ideas in your sources.