Tips For Writing University Papers
Your assigned class texts and course theme breakdown will give you a solid starting point for determining a thought-provoking thesis. Browse through your textbooks for ideas on what topics have been broached in the past.
It’s worth delving into a topic that already has plenty of resource material available, like well researched studies and critical examinations. But don’t choose a topic that everyone else in your class is choosing because it’s “easy.” These topics never win you the best marks, believe me.
The most important thing to remember is to start your research at the beginning of the term. Don’t put off your university essay until the final weekend before it’s due.
Spread your workload out over months and weeks as opposed to days. So come on, start planning. But first; check out the research tips below.
Essay research tips
Once you’ve selected your essay topic your first action plan should be to read as much background information as possible.
Start with your class assigned university books. Look for primary sources that you can use as your main reference points. Secondary sources are okay, but they don’t hold as much weight with your professor.
Once you’ve scanned through your assigned university textbooks, visit your library’s online resources, like essays, books, scanned selections from historical books, and recent graduate and PhD thesis work.
Reading recent critical essays on your topic will ensure that your own ideas will be as cutting edge as possible. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know the historical scope of your topic – on the contrary, the ability to raise discussion comes from the marriage of both the past and future analysis of your topic.
Don’t be shy with professors. Your professor is an expert in his or her field and likes to see a student who is engaged and eager to understand more about their topics. Often, I’ve sought out the advice from other professors in departments who can offer direct insight or resource information for my particular essay topic.
Give yourself plenty of time to research. Start inquiring into topic idea and collecting resource material at the beginning of the term. This way you will be able to nail your thesis and clearly examine the available resource material on your topic.
Always reference the work of someone else – heavy penalties involved for plagiarism – and keep your quotes under10% to 15% of your paper.
As challenging as it may be, write concisely and clearly. It forces you think more clearly, and makes the prof’s job easier in following your argument. They love it.
Leave enough time for presentation, formatting, and a final spell check. This often accounts for at least one letter grade – why lose this easy mark over sloppiness.