Essays and research papers are often the bane of a high schooler’s existence. But a few simple tips to set them off on the right foot will save hours of red-penciling later on!
Write a clear thesis statement.
Your thesis statement provides focus, both for the reader and the writer. It should state the research paper’s main message in one or two sentences.
Stay on track.
As you write your paper, continually support your thesis statement with facts, details, and examples. Avoid irrelevant information that can distract your reader from the main points. By staying on track and avoiding information that doesn’t directly support your thesis, you’ll produce a much stronger essay.
Don’t rehash ideas.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying the same thing over and over in different ways. Instead, do a little more research so that you can support your claims with fresh facts and examples. Your readers will thank you!
Make a plan and stick to it.
Essays and research papers need structure—an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Without structure, your paper will fall apart. Avoid diving into your paper without thinking your argument through and organizing your thoughts into an outline. Instead of trying to rope scattered ideas, herd them into formation before you begin to write.
Outline the paper from beginning to end. As you outline the body of the paper, list your key points and hit the major supporting details. It’s a relief to know where you’re going, and it will make your paper much more focused and easier to write.