THEMES AND REPORTS
REDUCING WRITING ANXIETY
Get a Calendar or Academic Planner.
Follow the tips in the scheduling time box of
First, write down the due date for the paper.
Next, count backwards. How many days will you
need to edit, re-write, revise, write, take notes, research, read, select,
and narrow the topic?
Now you know what day you will need to begin the
Review and revise this process after each paper.
Be sure to know exactly what your instructor expects.
Invest in a computer and learn to type your own
papers. Do not depend on other people to bail you out; you will quickly
learn that everyone has their own paper to deal with. Even paid typists
can be unreliable.
Don't be afraid to express a unique opinion. The
key is to document and support your ideas in an organized and cogent manner.
When proofreading text, start at the end of your
paper. Read one sentence at a time and work your way to the beginning.
Why? Your brain already knows what you have written. By reading from the
end to the beginning, the pattern is broken and you will find more errors
in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Do not rely on spellcheck. Remember "principle"
and "principal" are both correct spellings. Which word did you intend to
use? Other biggies-"to" and "too," "it's" and "its."
Plagiarism means taking another person's words
or ideas your own. Be careful to always cite your source, whether you quote
directly or paraphrase. Remember, if it's not common knowledge or your
original idea, you must cite the source.
Be sure that the topic is acceptable to
the teacher and has sufficient available resource material.
Writing The Paper
Do not wait until your first research paper/project
to scope out the campus library.
Many libraries offer tours for freshmen.
Find out early what resources the library has.
Learn now to use its computers and card catalogs
to find books by subject or author.
Practice using every machine in the library. (i.e.
microfiche, CD ROM's, etc.)
Use the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature
for magazine articles; Encyclopedias for general information on most known
topics; Almanac for facts, lists, charts and tables; Atlas for maps, etc.
Ask the librarian for instructions on using them and help in locating other
specific reference sources for your paper.
Know, in advance, copier laws and procedures.
Where are copiers located?
Does the copier require cash or some sort of copy
Talk to other students, especially those browsing
shelves or studying in the same area as you are. You never know what kind
of contact you could make or what kind of information you could gain.
Check out the local community libraries. They
may house the one obscure article or book you need to earn that "A."
Make/use index cards ( put the topic at the top
of each card), notes, bibliographies, summaries, reports and reviews as
part of your preparation process to organize your materials.
Prepare a Written Outline
Don't make the mistake of trying to keep everything
in your head.
Make your outline in the form of main headings
or ideas with sub-headings fleshing out the flow of the paper. This will
establish the paper's content and conclusion.
Write the Paper
Use the outline as a guide and stick to it.
Write in your own natural style.
Reread, rewrite, revise and edit until the paper
says exactly what you want to say in the way you want to say it.
Use Correct Punctuation and Grammar.
Use a spelling and grammar checker if using a