From Someone Who Grades Them for a Living
These points of advice are general in nature, relevant to all fields, and do not by any means represent an exhaustive list of rules to obey when writing a college level paper. As a PhD student in Developmental Psychology I have the pleasure and occasional misfortune of reading undergraduate college research papers. My 6 tips represent advice for correcting the most common mistakes I encounter when evaluating cheap custom research papers writing service.
- Know Your Audience
Prior to even researching your topic, brainstorming, or creating an outline, you should understand the audience to whom the research paper will be geared. Writing a paper that covers a very specific topic which would be read by experts in the field is a very different beast than a more broad review paper which may appeal to and be read by an audience of more varied expertise. In the former case, pay attention to detail and interpretation as your readers would be very familiar relevant research in the field. For broader review papers, be sure to focus on integrating data and theory from numerous viewpoints into a coherent understanding of the entire topic.
- Clarity, Conciseness, and Felicity of Expression
The sign of a successful, high quality research paper is the ability to convey complex ideas and theories in a simple and accessible manner. To borrow an analogy from Scrabble, do not use a 25 point word when a 10 point word will do. Overly flowery and bombastic language will only detract attention from the academic relevance of your paper and can often lead to confusing sentence structure. Rambling and repeating yourself simply to meet a word-count can only result in an abundance of low quality writing, and thus failure to convey your thoughts as efficiently as possible. Do not however take this as an excuse to write short papers. Most collegiate research papers will focus in enough detail, or cover enough breadth to necessitate a substantial amount of writing.
- Only Cover Relevant Information and Do So in a Logical Structure
Each paragraph should explain a specific point or argument relevant to the overall goal of the paper, each sentence in that paragraph should relate to that point. If a sentence does not relate to the main idea of a paragraph, either delete or relocate it. Paragraphs should flow easily from one to another; their main ideas should produce a logical flow for the reader. Decide what the reader needs to understand in order to come to your desired conclusion and structure the order of paragraphs to complement this conclusion. A choppy paper with out of place paragraphs and sentences will result in a difficult read and low grade.
Do not be afraid to restructure or even remove large sections of your paper if you find they do not fit appropriately. The writing process is ultimately emergent; we are often unsure of the final structure of a paper until it begins to take shape. You may find yourself unsure of how to proceed only to stumble into brilliance after numerous re-writes or changes in direction or focus. If you find yourself with a case of writer’s block just start typing, no matter how crude or unstructured, the paper will gradually begin to take shape despite less than your best efforts.
- Always Obey the Preferred Style of Your Discipline
DO NOT think you can get away with ignoring the style requirements of your discipline. Those seemingly pointless rules serve the important purpose of standardizing writing within a field, facilitating the transfer of information and ideas between professionals. Whether APA, MLA, or Chicago you should purchase the latest version of the publication manual and follow all rules. Disobeying these rules limits the ability of others to glean relevant information from your paper.
- Avoid Colloquial Language
Nothing makes your writing appear of lower quality than the inclusion of colloquial language. Avoid using words or phrases such as: stuff, things, sort of, kind of, or a little bit. Collegiate level writing should be precise, descriptive, and succinct. Detailed language is always preferred over general language.
- Always Check Spelling and Grammar
There is NO EXCUSE for spelling and grammar mistakes in a college paper. They evidence a lack of dedication, work ethic, and critical thought. Having a friend read your paper is a great way to catch mistakes and find any awkward wordings you may have overlooked. Also, try and finish your paper at least a day early, let it sit overnight, and re-read it with a clear mind. Attempting to edit a paper minutes after finishing, is always a poor idea. Being the writer, you will find it difficult to catch mistakes because you will automatically read what you meant, not necessarily what you wrote. Approaching the editing process carefully, detailed, and in a clear mind will assist in finding those hard to catch mistakes.
Following these tips does not guarantee you a good grade. But, applying these rules, in addition to those prescribed by your discipline and professor, in the context of appropriate content will facilitate your creation of a truly meaningful academic work.
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