Papers suck. Research Papers. Essays. Reports. Anything that requires 5 paragraphs and sources sucks. That is, unless you have developed a foolproof method to writing an A Paper.
I was blessed by the knowledge Gods to have developed these 11 steps to a great paper, and this method has yet to disappoint me. Regardless of how well I knew my topic before sitting down, I was able to crank out paragraphs in no time. I don’t think I’ve gotten less than 85 on any papers since junior year of high school, and I don’t think I’ve spent more than 3 days on one either.
Like I said. Foolproof. Are you ready?
Know your topic. I know, such a Gimmie. But before this system, I was guilty of taking my papers in the wrong direction and missing the topic/purpose.
Find your sources. Make sure you meet the total number of sources as required, and make sure they are legitimate. That will bite you in the butt. Teachers watch that stuff.
Skim through each document for important paragraphs on topic. I generally use entire document, and keep this first level very broad. Copy/Paste them into a single Word Document. Add all sources to this single document. Don’t forget to color coordinate them and divide them with the URL at the end. Keeping sources with their information will be crucial when you begin breaking this information apart.
Safe and Print. Are you breaking a sweat yet? You should have a pretty good sized stack of information.
Read through each paragraph on your hard copy. Highlight anything you might use. It really won’t take up too much time if you don’t waste time reading details that are off topic.
Back on the Word Document, cut all the information you didn’t highlight on your hard copy. You should be left with only information you are considering using. Save and Reprint.
On this Shorter hard copy, read through again and highlight information you know you want. Go through with a pen in the margins and label what each paragraph is about.
On a separate piece of paper, write down these labels. These become your main points. Organize them into an order that makes sense, and assign numbers. Go back through and assign the paragraph’s their matching number. If you haven’t developed a thesis or general statement yet, here is the time. Don’t forget that these points should support the thesis.
On the saved document, Copy/Paste the paragraphs into their new order, according to the numbers you assigned them. The color coordinating helps keep information with its source. You can also number your sources and make sure each paragraph/chunk of information has its appropriate number at the end. Save and Reprint for copy #3.
Under each paragraph, (and by this point, you may have cut down/combined things, and you’re down to just sentences) rewrite the information in your own words. Remember to transition between paragraphs. Make sure every point has enough detail and that it is on track with the thesis.
Look at your paper with your eyeballs. Aren’t you missing some things? If you haven’t used your thesis and details to build an introduction, make sure you add that! Remember to make it flow and adjust accordingly. Also add a conclusion. And a works cited sheet.
You are also missing in text citations. Fortunately, you have all your information saved on your computer in source order, and you’re probably still looking at your works cited sheet. Plus you wrote down each slice of information’s source number (which probably will not match the works cited sheet order. Don’t get confused.)
I always run a spell check and a plagiarism check. I’ve never plagiarized, or been suspected of it. But when you’re rewording another author’s information too closely, it may overlap. Just Copy/Paste your paper into a program like http://smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/ . It will run a sentence by sentence scan to make sure you’re good to go.
The paper I used for my examples, I had zero understanding of the topic. Everything I know about Ezra Pound’s Fascism, I learned writing this paper. It was 20% of my course grade, and I got a 93 on it. Yeah. Man.
Do you have any tricks to writing strong papers? You should really give this a try. Let me know how it goes! Don’t forget to share/follow me on Facebook (/takenbythelapels) and Twitter (@vivalaphoebz)