Answered By: Katie Hutchison Last Updated: Oct 14, 2016 Views: 186
Top Ten Tips for Writing Better Papers
1. Be sure you understand your assignment. Your professor will give directions on topic selection, length, style and appropriate types of resources to use. Read your syllabus carefully to see what is required. Look for size requirements, what style of writing and citing will you need to use, are primary or secondary resources needed, how will you submit your work, etc. If you have any questions, contact your professor for clarification.
- A good site to help you is: http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/readassign.html
2. Start your research early enough! Don’t put off working on your paper or presentation until the last minute. It’s not worth the added stress!
- To help you pace yourself and know how far along you should be, try plugging your dates into this website which will calculate a timeframe for you to follow in your research: http://www.lib.umn.edu/help/calculator. You will also have time to request materials from other libraries.
3. Plagiarism: avoid it! Plagiarism is taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own or not giving them credit for their work in an appropriate way. Committing plagiarism can get you in serious trouble, sometimes leading to course failure or expulsion from the university. It’s just not worth the risk. You’ll sweat less working to know the subject and citing your sources well, than trying to pull a fast one and facing the disappointment of your professor, your parents, the Provost and your friends, not to mention being punished. If you have any questions about whether a source should be cited and how to cite it, check with your professor ahead of the time your paper is due.
- A website that will guide you with tips on avoiding plagiarism is: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/03.
4. Take careful notes! Taking careful notes while you are reading resource material and documenting your sources will help you avoid plagiarizing and assist in making the preparation of your works cited page and in text citations much easier.
5. Use your library resources! Using library resources will increase the quantity and quality of resources available to you in your research. Be sure to start early enough to utilize OhioLINK resources. Anytime you aren’t having the success you would like or wonder if you have found the best resources, check with your librarian!
6. Know the difference between scholarly and popular resources! For most assignments, professors expect you to use scholarly resources. See the section above in this libguide on evaluating resources for more information.
- For help in recognizing scholarly resources try this site: http://www.lib.washington.edu/uwill/research101/basic02.htm
7. Cite your sources correctly! Several sources are available to assist you in citing your sources. From the library homepage click “Citing sources” under the “Get Help” section. There is also a tab on this lib guide to assist you. Try some of the sites, but remember that you are ultimately responsible for the correct style and that no machine generated program can take all variations into consideration.
8. Organize and outline your paper! Be certain you have your thesis well defined and the general outline of your paper written down. From there you can progress from the broad topics to the narrower topics you want to include. Remember that the Academic Support Center at Walsh is there to assist you by offering tutorial assistance in the development, organization, grammar, formatting, and styling Contact them for help in writing your paper.
9. Take advantage of technology to assist you! Most word processing programs have built-in assistance in the form of spell checker and grammar checker. Be certain yours are turned on. These are wonderful tools to use but remember that they are only computer applications that sometimes miss wrong word usage or grammar problems. You are ultimately responsible for the content of your paper.
10. Check for a customized course guide for your class. Check to see if there is a specialized course guide developed by one of the librarians for your class. To check for one, from the library homepage "Library Resources" box at the top of the page, click Subject Guides. Click the appropriate guide (e.g. Education) then look at the tabs across the top for one marked Courses. If you do not see the course you are taking, the Guide may still provide the information you seek.