Practical Guidelines To Writing Successful College Essays And Term
Papers

Practical Guidelines To Writing Successful College Essays And Term Papers



Research is​ the​ backbone of​ any writing and the​ sources that you use for your research are equally important. Primary sources include for example,​ newspaper cuttings,​ interviews and any source that quotes directly from for example historic witness accounts. These are often considered more valuable than secondary sources. Secondary sources,​ are as​ their name suggests,​ second-hand accounts of​ events. For example,​ a​ history book written by an​ author using primary sources to​ interpret an​ historical event.

Your use of​ varied sources of​ research will enable you to​ see the​ weaknesses and strengths of​ your argument. Your paper,​ in​ effect should be a​ response to​ a​ debate proposal - for example,​ “this house believes: that dieting does not work”. You should in​ your research always be aware of​ what arguments the​ opposition are likely to​ put forward,​ so that you are responding to​ these arguments in​ your writing. For example,​ the​ response to​ the​ proposal could be,​ “Weight Watchers is​ a​ successful organisation because its members lose weight.” the​ weakness in​ the​ argument might be,​ “but,​ how many members successfully keep the​ pounds off?” just as​ an​ audience listening to​ a​ debate will have doubts about your argument,​ so too will the​ reader,​ therefore you should always lay out a​ response to​ these doubts and expose them as​ incorrect. You can do this by using quotations from expert sources for example. Using a​ variety of​ sources will ensure you present a​ balanced argument and that you obtain reliable information upon which to​ base your arguments.

Before you even begin to​ write your paper you should plan what points you want to​ make. Planning your paper is​ vital. it​ is​ a​ true saying that– “if you fail to​ plan – you plan to​ fail”. Once you have an​ idea of​ the​ direction you wish to​ steer the​ ship,​ you can then look forward to​ enjoying the​ journey! Your plan should specify distinct points that you want to​ make in​ a​ logical sequence. These points should form the​ basic structure as​ paragraphs for your paper. Introducing each concept to​ the​ reader,​ developing it​ and destroying any possible doubts about your arguments will keep the​ reader interested and help them to​ see your point of​ view clearly.

Every piece of​ writing needs to​ lead the​ reader gently into the​ subject area by way of​ an​ introduction and college papers are no different. You would not expect a​ friend to​ tell you the​ punch line of​ a​ joke without build up otherwise the​ joke would fall flat. Equally,​ if​ you fail to​ lead the​ reader in​ by setting the​ scene for the​ rest of​ your discussion using an​ introduction,​ your college paper may well suffer the​ same fate and the​ reader may not want to​ continue reading. the​ introduction should aim to​ summarise and engage the​ reader.

An introduction is​ vital when writing a​ college paper for several reasons. Firstly,​ a​ competent introduction to​ a​ piece dispenses with the​ assumption that the​ reader is​ aware of​ the​ subject matter. it​ also gives them a​ flavour of​ what to​ expect in​ the​ development and helps the​ reader to​ attune his thoughts to​ your style of​ writing. Most important of​ all,​ a​ good introduction should summarise the​ piece and give some idea of​ what the​ conclusion will be. Think of​ the​ introduction as​ a​ synopsis of​ the​ entire work,​ however long that work maybe. a​ successful introduction will explain to​ the​ reader what the​ paper is​ about and prepare them for the​ development of​ that idea or​ argument.

Think of​ the​ development section –the middle- of​ a​ college paper,​ as​ a​ way of​ convincing the​ reader of​ your argument. Decide what points you want to​ make. This is​ where your research comes in. Your research will strengthen and inform your own views and opinions. Your job now is​ to​ apply the​ research to​ back up your arguments effectively.

The conclusion to​ your paper should remind the​ reader why you hold particular opinions and the​ reasons for them and give them a​ second chance to​ agree or​ disagree with you based on​ the​ arguments and facts that you present.

In summary:

- Research the​ topic

- Be critical during your research - Read with a​ question in​ mind,​ always be critical of​ the​ secondary source material that you read. if​ it​ is​ not direct “from the​ horses mouth”,​ then question the​ writer’s motives for holding their opinion,​ are they biased? For example,​ is​ a​ dieting magazine a​ proponent of​ diets,​ because that is​ their raison d’etre?

- Brainstorm - Brainstorming with friends helps to​ clarify your opinions,​ if​ you can argue a​ subject aloud,​ you are more likely to​ be able to​ argue it​ on​ paper.

- Plan your work in​ logical points

- Write the​ main points of​ your conclusion before you develop the​ paper,​ that way if​ you have a​ map of​ where you are trying to​ get to,​ you will be able to​ drive there more quickly.

- Use the​ points from your plan as​ paragraphs in​ your paper for each individual idea.

- Develop these points by explaining their rationale to​ the​ reader,​ justify them using your research and eliminate any opposing arguments by backing up yours with the​ facts not just opinions.

- if​ you are writing within time constraints of​ an​ examination and fail to​ complete the​ paper,​ you will get marks for planning your paper,​ because the​ examiner will be able to​ see that you understand the​ subject.

- Use an​ appropriate style for your audience – that means adjusting your language and tone,​ sentence length and vocabulary to​ suit the​ audience.

- Always introduce the​ topic- Summarise what you are going to​ tell them: -

- Do not make assumptions - Do not assume that the​ reader is​ familiar with the​ subject matter

- Be aware of​ your audience:-be aware of​ whom you are trying to​ convince and tailor your argument to​ that audience. This should be reflected in​ your language and tone and ultimately your style of​ writing.

- Do your research – you cannot expect to​ competently argue your point,​ if​ you do not have strong facts and opinion with which to​ back it​ up.

- Develop your argument- use the​ research sources and quotations you have gathered to​ develop and substantiate your arguments.

- Be aware of​ your own prejudices and make a​ conscious effort to​ be objective.

- Conclude the​ piece by summarising your original thesis,​ or​ idea.

- Check the​ writing for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes as​ this can let your writing down and irritate the​ reader.

- Read the​ paper thoroughly,​ aloud if​ possible and make amendments,​ do not be afraid to​ shorten the​ paper if​ this means that your paper becomes more succinct.

- Remember - the​ best writing speaks to​ the​ reader and wins the​ reader over almost without them realising it!




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