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Avoid the Hustle

Do You Think a Longer School Calender Is a Good Idea?

Category: Essay Writing
  1. Understand the expectations of your instructor:
  • What are the topic choices?
  • What is the Genre of your paper? Is the paper Analytical or Argumentative (Persuasive) in nature.
  • Who is your audience? Writing with a specific audience in mind helps provide focus and purpose for your paper.
  • What writing style must you use  (MLA or APA)?
  • How many resources are you required to have?
  • Are you able to use secondary resources, or does your instructor only want primary?
  • How many words?


  1. Brainstorm topic ideas. Think about areas of interest to you, this will help motivate you when it comes to writing your paper. The following techniques may help you come up with some ideas;
  • Freewriting – set a timer for a few minutes and journal about a topic that interests you.
  • Brainstorming – write down simple keywords and phrases that come to mind.
  • Mapping – write a word in the middle of a piece of paper and then create branches off of the word that are related to the topic. Create branches off of new words you come up with so that you build a kind of “web” on paper.


  1. Identify the general topic you want to focus on. Try and ask a question and have the paper answer the question.


  1. Begin researching your general topic. This will allow you to understand how easy or how hard it will be to find the information you need. Examining the available resources will let you know if a topic is feasible or not.
  1. Read the research to narrow down the topic. If your instructor has limited the number of resources to five, and you have found fifty books on your subject, then you probably need to narrow down your topic. The number of words is also a key to how broad or how specific your topic should be. A 5,000 word research paper allows for more time to cover a selected topic than a paper limited to 500 words.


  1. Draft your primary thesis (see “Writing A Thesis Statement”).


  1. Begin serious research and taking notes. Make sure you are writing down where you find information as you discover it so you can use the correct page number in your paper.
  1. Draft a Working Outline (See “Writing An Outline”).


  1. Continue researching and see where you research fits into your working outline. Create your final outline with the information you have gathered.


  1. Refine the thesis statement.


  1. Write your first draft using your outline and research notes (See “Getting Down to Writing” and “Understanding Plagiarism”).


  1. Read the paper and fill in any gaps you have left in your research.


  1. Start on your Works Cited sheet.


  1. Write the second draft and put the paper away for a day or two.


  1. Come back to your paper and re-read.


  1. Write your third draft, making corrections in research, filling in gaps, and editing for mistakes.


  1. Check formatting and correct mistakes. Make sure you are following the writing style specified by your instructor.
  1. Complete your final draft and Works Cited. Proofread and correct mistakes.


  1. Hand in the finished product!


Writing a Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement (argumentative) or research question (analytical) is the focal point of your paper. Without it you leave the reader asking, “What exactly is the point?” Your paper is a summation of information you have found on a particular topic. Your thesis statement is your topic choice transformed into one declarative sentence that is easy to understand and makes the focus of your paper clear to the reader. If you are writing an analytical paper, your topic is examined in the form of a question. A thesis statement/research question:

  • Outlines the purpose of your paper in one or two short sentences.
  • Is placed in the introductory paragraph, usually at the end.
  • Is specific in nature, not broad. It leaves no doubt in the mind of the reader what you are going to discuss.
  • Is interesting and grabs the reader. Pick a topic that begs to be researched and discussed then make a clear statement backed up by accurate research.