Thursday, February 24, 2011

12 Tips to Improve Your Academic Paper

As a teacher I have read many students’ papers and conducted writing workshops for students. I offer these simple tips if you are a budding writer.

· Choose a manageable topic. A strong paper is one that is focused and shows the author has something to say. You can cast the net wide when you fish for a topic, but once you know more about the subject, you have to narrow it down.

· Start with a strong beginning. Journalists usually start with a story as a hook. Make it enticing for your reader.

· Provide a clear road map. What is the paper about? Why does it matter? What do you want to do? How are you going to do it?

· Use your own words. An academic paper does not mean that you should hide behind other authors’ words.

· Develop a narrative arc. I learn this from fiction writing. Why is the paper divided into different sections? What drives the arc? Where is the climax and where is the tension? How is the end related to the beginning?

· Don’t just cut and paste. When you cite other people’s words, make sure they fit the context of your paper. Read your paper without the quotes once to see if your arguments are clear.

· Check the direct quotes. Make sure you quote correctly (before you return the books).

· Always re-write. Even professional writers can’t do it right the first time. It is often when you’ve come to the end of your paper that you really know what you're trying to say. So leave time for re-writing and editing.

· Follow the style sheet. Your work will not be taken seriously if your notes do not conform to the “academic convention.”

· Read poetry and literature. I am sorry to say that many of the theology books are quite dry. You need to read outside the field to write well.

· Ask someone to read over it. You have worked on your paper for so long and can use a fresh pair of eyes.

· Never stop learning to write. It is a craft to be honed.

8 comments:

  1. These are all very useful tips! Thank you very much!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Getting good grades in school is not always about IQ. In fact, doing better in school has more to do with effort and perseverance than mere brainpower. If you find yourself struggling to meet a pass grade in certain classes, there are several things you can do to improve your chances. Here are 10 ways in which you can do better in school.

    1. Complete Assignments
    2. Listen and Take Notes During Class
    3. Ask Questions During Class
    4. Positive Attendance Record
    5. Get Extra Help When Needed
    6. Prepare for Exams
    7. Review Material Before Class
    8. Get a Study Partner
    9. Eat Regularly
    10. Take Mental Breaks


    Lirah McGreen
    Private Teacher

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  3. In order to improve your writing skills, force yourself to delete all idioms and clichés. Your reader wants original thoughts, not processed or canned sentiments. Yes, this means you must replace those mundane words with something clever of your own. Reduce—perhaps to zero—the number of similes and metaphors, particularly if they are common ones.


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  4. As a Sports Science Course student, I am much interested in improving my writing. It is often said that one could improve one's writing only by writing a lot. So recently when I came across a quote that said "Practice makes permanent", instead of the more famous "Practice makes perfect," I wondered if the same applied to writing and I think it does. I cannot become a better writer just by writing badly day in and day out. For me to become a better writer, I need to be corrected when I go wrong.

    Wouldn't it be a good idea if we can write a brief essay of sorts every week, and post it on this site? We can then correct each other and of course Alan, Torsten, and other teachers/advanced learners can point out ways in which the essay can be made to look more professional, whenever they get a chance. I think this could be one of the ways to practice right.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The importance of high school academic performance is so that when you graduate high school you will have a ball park understanding of things that are going on in the world and will be able to solve life's everyday problems.

    Also the second importance is so that you can make money and be wanted my jobs.

    Thank you for sharing your tips!

    Dharyl S.
    Excel 2010 Training Course Online

    ReplyDelete
  6. No.7 is my favorite. Love your tips. But to improve your career and boost your potentials I'll share you my secret. PMP Certification- is my secret.

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  7. Very impressive blog on academic paper writing. This post provide really a fine advices to enhance and organize an academic college papers. I will definitely apply all these tips, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. If you are wondering how to ensure your report or essay is as good as it can be, finding a skilled and reliable English language proofreader is easier said than done. However, the following should help act as a guide on how to source and when to use a proofreader. online paper editor

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