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Essay Writing Tips
(unabridged version) how to write a good essay
"A term (or research) paper is primarily a record of intelligent
reading in several sources on a particular subject."
University of Minnesota
The scheme of preparation of the term or research paper consists of several stages:
1. Choosing a subject.
You should find the proper question you are going to answer in your essay or term paper. The answer is to be well organized and based on some concrete facts. It is really important to choose the subject of the essay, which is not too general, on the contrary – better to take a more specific one.
2. Finding materials
You should not use the sources which are more than 20 years old, unless you are not supposed to present some research from historical point of view. At first you select the sources, where you expect to find the necessary information for your essay, than concentrate on each of the resources separately and try to compare different points of view and different positions.
3. Making notes
Try to make some short but clear notes of the materials you have studied with quotes and information for footnotes. This way you are going to save your time and effort, as you won't have to return to the sources in the process of writing the essay again. Remember not to ignore the opinions, which are not supporting your own thesis, as you are doing a research paper. The material for your essay should be not only opinions but facts as well, do not be afraid to make some critical thinking about somebody's ideas or point of view.
4. Preparing research paper outline
You could think that the next stage would be writing itself, it is not really so – after making notes on your essay you should concentrate on presenting the paper outline. Thus your main subject is to be divided into some sub topics and sub themes with their own names. Examples are always contributing to any term paper.
5. The first draft.
Now, when everything is ready for writing itself, you should keep in mind the prepared outline and write the paper around it. The main tips here are:
- never change the subject in the middle on the same paragraph
- do not use either too short or too long sentences
- keep things together, that are supposed to be together according to your outline of the term/research paper
6. Editing of the term paper
The first version of the paper was only a draft and it certainly needs polishing. You should read your own paper as if it is absolutely strange for you, better to do it in several hours or even in a couple of days. If you read your term paper aloud, all the "bad" places are easy to notice. Check spelling and grammar. Check the structure of the essay – proper footnotes, quotes and so on.
7. Getting an excellent mark for the essay or term paper!
We wish you good luck!
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