- Mary Beth Davis
5 Tips on How to Make Your Papers Even Better
With Spring Semester in full swing, it feels like research papers and essays are due every other week. In order to make sure that your writing exceeds your professors’ expectations, here are 5 Tips on How to Make Your Papers Even Better!
Know Your Thesis
There’s nothing worse than watching a movie with seemingly no point (I’m looking at you Sharknado) and your writing is no different! It’s frustrating to get halfway through a paper and realize that there’s no clear point or development of ideas, so make sure that you know what you want to say specifically within your paper. Have a goal in mind and work towards that goal.
Don’t trust Spell Check for Your Grammar Needs
Spell Check is an incredible software that frequently helps us with our spelling needs, but it’s unfortunately not smart enough to differentiate between “your” and “you’re” or “its” and “it’s.” So don’t rely on Spell Check to have your back when it comes to grammar and always proofread your papers.
There’s no ‘I’ in 3rd Person!
A good rule of thumb is to write any academic papers in 3rd person. This means that you should avoid phrases like “I think” or “I believe” or “Personally.” (You should also avoid using phrases with “you” unless your assignment involves specifically addressing your professor!) Besides the fact that these phrases make your writing inappropriately informal, they also make your writing seem weak; thus a better alternative will be to "show and not tell." Use concrete evidence to back up what you believe.
Free Write, Free Write, Free Write
The hardest part of any paper is starting. Sometimes, the best way to get started is just through allowing yourself to write without editing or fear of messing up -- get everything you’re thinking down on paper in one go! Once you’ve said everything you’ve been thinking about your topic, you can go back and work on development, formatting, and polishing. But getting that initial content down is the first step towards completing that paper, so always be willing to free write!
Don’t be afraid to come to the Writing Center
The Writing Center is an incredible (free!!) resource for you as a writer. It’s always good to have another pair of eyes looking over your work, and Writing Center tutors are super passionate about helping you grow and develop as a writer. For more information on how we can help you out, click here.