An expert-written tutorial on how to write academic papers
Some people believe it is better if your teacher or professor chooses a topic for you. Others say that being able to choose a topic means you can do something you really like or want to write about. If you don't have a choice, if the topic is prescribed for you, then the rules of engagement are exactly the same except you may not have the same passion for the topic. The steps you need to take have been used for generations. Don't try and reinvent the wheel.
- Create your thesis statement.
- Create your outline.
- Create your first draft.
- Compare claim with evidence.
- Create your second draft.
- Proofread and edit.
The thesis statement is the key to all forms of academic papers. It is the main theme of your topic or is the question you are setting out to answer or the point you are setting out to prove. The thesis statement must be absolutely clear. If you can create it using fewer words by all means do so. Remember your entire academic paper revolves around your thesis statement.
Your outline is your map. Without it you will go astray. Your outline lists the main points you will make in your academic paper and where they will appear. Your outline can also include a timetable which sets mileposts so you are able to track your progress at any time.
Writing the first draft is really important. You need to forget about the niceties of language and such things as spelling and punctuation. With your outline beside you as you write, you write as quickly as you can and use as many words as you like. The whole idea being that you let the creativity flow.
Once you've finished your first draft you go through what you have written a section or a paragraph at a time. You highlight or underline every claim you have made and then look for the evidence which you have created to support that claim. If the evidence is weak or non-existent you repair the damage.
Now you write your second draft. You keep an eye on what you did with your first draft and of course include all the corrections.
Now comes the vitally important proofreading and editing time. Obviously you want to remove any mistakes but editing is essential in terms of avoiding repetition, removing unclear writing and ensuring that each sentence of each paragraph flows one to the other.