Also, you should be using scholarly research, which means no random Googling and picking the first things you ping. Take a look at the first section of the assignment sheet. See where the prof tells you exactly what your paper should be? This paper better be formatted in a particular way! Why would a prof do this? Well, the answer is simple. Imagine you have 75 papers to grade written by your 75 students. Imagine just how much variation and diversity would occur between those 75 people and their papers if the prof left it all to chance—all of these students like different fonts, would cite things differently based on their preferences, and would hand in widely varied papers, at least doubling the time it would take to read those papers.
Make that prof love you by following these directions. If you follow the directions, this prof will direct their ire elsewhere. The rubric is a list of direct touch points that will be examined by the professor as they grade your work. In this case, you can see five discrete categories, each with its own stakes, and the number value that corresponds to your performance:. The prof will take the rubric and keep it within reach while grading. Along with making notes on your paper, the prof will also check off your performance in each category—summarizing your performance in that category:.
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If you have a hundred-point paper, each one of these categories is worth 20 points. To get an A on this paper, you have to perform with excellence in 3 categories and above average in at least 2 of the other categories. At least one of them—formatting—is a gimmie.
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All it takes is attention to detail—Microsoft Word has all the tools you need to score perfectly there. Focus on Development and Body Paragraphs for your other two. It might seem like a silly thing to do, but an anchor sentence is as vital as a thesis statement. Note that there is nothing about originality in this rubric. In this paper, I will demonstrate my understanding of a linguistic concept I learned this semester and how it relates to my field of study. I will demonstrate this knowledge by staying organized, using relevant research, and sticking to my thesis statement.
Yes, it seems a bit silly. But now you have an anchor. Now all you need to know is where it could all fall off the rails. In this step, you name your strengths and weakness so you know exactly where you stand walking in. Simple as that. Now all you need to do is play to those strengths and be cognizant of the weaknesses. Completing this second step immediately—before you go to bed on the day you get the assignment—is essential to acing this paper. Set the plan and execute, execute, execute—this is the only way to achieve the results you want. If your time is nebulous, you will be more likely to drop the ball.
Keep in mind that one of the crucial ingredients of successful writing is time. You need time to think, research, and create. If you fail to acknowledge this, you will write a crumby paper every time. Resist the impulse to think of the paper as a hurdle.
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Make an appointment with the writing center to get a semi-professional set of eyes, and had that paper to a friend for quick notes. Your next step is to organize your time. Most of your sessions should be no more than an hour or two, but some activities—like research—might need to be a bit longer:. If you notice, most of your writing time will be spent on the front end—creating the first draft of the paper. This is because everything after that will be revisionary. If you stick to this schedule, you will not only complete your paper on time, you will complete it well.
Every writer on the planet will tell you that the schedule is the foundation of good writing—the more time you spend in the chair, the better the writing gets. Free writing is often popular, but it can be really time consuming, and also not particularly helpful for research papers. As well, some profs advise talking it out with a friend, which can be distracting. The best method for this is mapping. Mapping is a technique that allows you to freely record your ideas in a logical manner.
Mapping will give you strong guiding questions as well as demonstrate how your ideas are connected, which is super useful for writing a long research paper. Mapping looks something like this:. Note that the ideas get more specific the further away they are from the center topic. Circle the ones that are most specific and uses them for your paper.
So, apply your field of study, your interests, or something topical to the subject. Here are some ideas based upon that…. Out of the above, which sounds like it has the most juice? Probably number one. Even without doing any Googling, it seems evident that there will be research in this area that you can draw from. As well, you can rely on non-technical, non-academic observation to give you better ideas—you can use your experience to shape your subject matter.
So go with number 1. Take a look at these specific ideas that you can use in your research phase:. And look, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to get a jump on specific articles to use in your research. As well, 51 mentions your keyword! With our tutorial on writing a thesis statement, you will see thesis examples, ways to craft a thesis sentence, and how to organize your paper around a thesis statement. Second, you will need specific examples to write about. Third, you will need to organize those three items effectively. And, fourth, you will need to make an outline.
The first step to creating a successful thesis statement is generating a concise overview of the topic at hand. In this case, technology and the ESL classroom is the topic upon which the paper is based. So the first portion of your thesis should be a generalized statement that describes the imperatives which make your paper relevant.
Begin by making a list of why you think your paper topic is relevant.
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In this case, we could say that…. Sounds pretty good, eh? Teachers who do not embrace technology in their classes risk losing students to academic boredom, not to mention that they will be perceived by their students as tedious and irrelevant. Even better!
With adding then subtracting, expanding then consolidating, moving from the general to the specific, you can craft an overview to be used in the thesis. Also, note the use of old tricks, like opposing vocabulary extracurricular v. So, check the rubric—did we hit any goals? See Development, Language and vocabulary, and Sentence structure! The problem presented was that instructors take away learning tools from students and replace them with less interesting forms of learning and stop social interaction with the classroom. As well, instructors give little attention to technology-based learning tools as an avenue for education.
How can this problem be fixed? Teachers should….
ESL instructors should make using technology a priority of education, both inside and outside the classroom. ESL instructors should try to increase digital interactions between students outside of class, use digital technology inside of class, and make digital avenues of education a learning priority. Pretty good, but we can make it sound even more academic. Again, use the Word synonym function, and try to bring out the parallel structure even more:.
All we need now is to connect the two sentences together with some kind of sentence, transitional phrase, or conjunction. In this case as with almost everything in writing, actually keep it simple:. Wait a sec!
What does this mean for you?
So use it with abandon, so long as you complete the sentence! Now, check the rubric again! Check and check and check! And, to top it all off, you now have three areas of research to focus on! Often students writing long, research-based papers struggle with smoothly connecting the related ideas within the paper. There are three simple steps. First, you must identify the relationship between the two ideas.
Second, you must craft a transition. And, third, you must be careful of potential pitfalls. See how jarring the logical jump is from the broad statement to the specific assertion? Take a look at the two statements together, as they are color coded—red being broad, blue being specific:. This idea is loosely connected to another idea the author is writing toward—that those unique cultural differences are often the culprit for communication breakdown. The author sees that the relationship is one of contrasts, so they try to name the contrast to create a connection in the transition—the green text is the merging of contrasts:.
Another good way to start building your bibliography is to look at the reference list on an introductory overview of your subject, such as an encyclopedia entry. Choose appropriate sources. Look for sources that are reputable, well-sourced, and up-to-date. Ideally, most of your sources should have been published within the last years. Scholarly books and peer-reviewed articles from academic journals are usually acceptable sources, as well as articles from reputable news organizations. Avoid popular publications and user-edited websites, such as Wikipedia. Read your sources critically. Consider some of the following as you are doing your research: Where is the author getting their information?
Do they provide credible sources? Does the author provide convincing evidence to back up their arguments? Does the author have any obvious biases or agendas that affect the way they present or interpret their information? Incorporate primary sources, if applicable. A primary source is any type of first-hand or direct evidence about your topic. Depending on the subject matter, a primary source might be something like a video recording of an event, data from a laboratory experiment, an interview with an eyewitness, or a historical document, such as a monument, work of art, or memoir.
Looking at primary data allows you to interpret the evidence for yourself. Your instructor should specify whether you need to incorporate primary sources into your research, and if so, how to find and utilize them. Evaluate online sources carefully. While the internet offers a vast quantity of useful information for researchers, it can be hard to separate good-quality resources from bad ones. In general, look for sources that are published on scholarly websites such as university, library, or museum websites , by reputable news organizations such as the BBC, NPR, or the Associated Press , or by government organizations like the EPA or FDA.
Is the author qualified to write on the subject? Does the author state where they got their information? Are you able to verify the sources? Is the article written in an objective, unbiased manner? Is the article written for an academic audience? Is the content intended to be educational? How does the URL end? Generally, sites that end in. Create a clear thesis statement. Your thesis statement is the most important part of your essay. This is where you get to explain, in clear, concise terms, the main argument that you are planning to make in your essay. State your thesis in sentences, then work on building an outline and essay that supports your thesis.
Make an outline. Once you have narrowed down your topic and done your research, start organizing your thoughts. Write a list of the most important points that you would like to touch on, in the order in which you plan to address them. Present your argument in detail. This is the main part of the essay, consisting of several paragraphs in which you present the major arguments and evidence in support of your thesis. Support each statement with examples, evidence, and an analysis.
In order to make your argument convincing, you must provide concrete evidence and an analysis of the evidence. In each body paragraph, include a topic sentence which is the main idea , evidence that supports the topic sentence, and an analysis of the evidence that links back to the thesis of the essay and the topic sentence of the paragraph.
Write an introduction. Before you present the main body of your essay, you will need to provide a little background on the topic.
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It is often easiest to write the introduction after you have already drafted the rest of your essay. Your introduction should also include a clear summary of the main point of your essay, and a breakdown of how you plan to approach the topic. The poem was eventually republished in a compilation edited by D. Travers , p. Use transitional sentences. Your essay should not feel choppy and disjointed. Look for ways to segue from one paragraph to another in a smooth, logical way. You might accomplish this by starting each paragraph with a brief sentence that connects it with the topic of the previous one or ending each paragraph with a sentence that links it to the next.
Cite your sources clearly and correctly. Follow the rules of the citation style that you are using to determine how to format each citation e. Instead, every line of the quote should be indented from the left-hand side. Address counterarguments. If you come across any convincing counterarguments to your thesis, acknowledge them in your essay. If you can, provide evidence to refute these counterarguments.
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Addressing alternative interpretations of the evidence will show that you have researched your topic thoroughly and allow you to present your case in a fair and balanced manner. Convincingly rebutting the major counterarguments will make your own argument more compelling to your readers. Write a concluding paragraph. Once you have presented your arguments and evidence, tie everything together with a concise summary. State, in a clear and confident way, why you think that your argument successfully supports your thesis, and summarize a few of the key points or discoveries that you made.
If you have any final thoughts, such as ideas for further research on the topic or questions that still need to be answered, this is the place to state them. Use a few sentences to reflect on the significance of your argument, and how it might affect future studies of this topic. Create a bibliography. Your bibliography should contain a list of every source that you made reference to in the paper, however briefly. While the format of the bibliography will vary depending on the citation style you are using, each citation should include at minimum : The name of the author.
The title of the work. The name of the publisher, and usually the place of publication. The date of the publication. Take a break. If you can, sleep on it and come back to it the next day, so that you can look at it with a fresh perspective. Read over your draft. As you read, look for any obvious issues with style, flow, and organization.
If it helps, read the essay out loud to yourself. Make note of anything that jumps out at you as needing improvement. As you read, keep the following questions in mind:  Is your writing concise? Are there any words or sentences that you could cut out? Is your writing clear? Does everything make sense? Is the essay well-organized? Is there anything that would flow better if it was arranged in a different order? Do you need to make the transitions between sections flow more smoothly? Check the language and tone of your essay. As you read over your essay, consider whether the language you use is appropriate for academic writing.
Keep your language and tone formal and objective. Edit your essay. Proofread your essay.
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Proofreading is the nitty-gritty task of catching and correcting issues like formatting problems, typos, spelling errors, punctuation errors, and grammar mistakes. Read your essay slowly, line by line, and correct any problems that you see. Have someone else check your work. When it comes to revising your writing, two sets of eyes are definitely better than one. If you can, have a friend or classmate read over your essay before you finalize it and hand it in. They may catch errors that you missed, or point out passages that need to be clarified or reworded.
Sample Essays Essay Template. Sample Ozymandias Essay. Can my thesis statement be in the form of: the following are reasons why? Emily Listmann MA, Education. Emily Listmann. This might be part of your thesis statement. Yes No. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 1. Can I use first person pronouns when I write an academic essay assignment? Never use the first person in an academic essay when you are trying to get a point across. Use terms like "it can be argued" or "in contrast to this point" instead.
Not Helpful 3 Helpful Evans Kibet. Writing a good introduction is like an art. However, the best way to write a proper introduction is beginning with general information about the topic 1 or 2 sentences , defining some of the important terms or subject matter 1 or two sentences , narrowing down to your topic 1 or 2 sentences and finally writing the purpose statement or the thesis statement. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 5. Typically, in-line citations are used like this: Last Name, Year , so that the reader can go to your reference list and easily find the work you're referencing.
For example: "Studies have shown that fish oil can help prevent macular degeneration Jones,