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Drafting the Paper

First drafts are hard to begin even for experienced writers.  In writing your first draft focus more on getting ideas and words on paper then correct grammar and form.  You'll have time to correct these later in the revision stage.  Also, if using sources you may find at this point that you will need more sources to develop an idea or different sources because your thesis has changed.


Writing the Introduction

Where should I begin?  Should I open with a startling statistic or a probing question?  How to introduce your essay can be a perplexing problem.  It should capture the attention of the audience while clearly laying out your position or direction for the paper.  Read on for more tips.


Developing the Argument

So what?  Why does it matter?  These are definitely not questions you want your readers to have when they finish your paper.  The main goal of most academic writing is to take a position on a topic.  While your paper may not sound like an argument or even have the word "argument" in the text, you should take a persuasive tone in your writing.


Working With Sources

It may be tempting to use sources as "filler" material for your ideas or to stretch the length of the paper.  It may also be tempting just to copy word for word from sources when you're having trouble coming up with ideas of your own.   However, sources provide support and credibility for the claims made in your paper.  Solid research provides the necessary evidence needed to back up your argument.


Developing Paragraphs and Using Transitions

Paragraphs are the workhorses of your essays.  Well-developed paragraphs help readers understand your thesis and guide them through the discussion of the topic.  In the same way transitions, between sentences and paragraphs, signal changes in ideas or thought to your readers.  These websites give some basic principles for writing sound paragraphs and using transitions.


Writing the Conclusion

A strong finish to your essay will leave your readers with a lasting impression.  Use the conclusion to tie up loose ends, add final thoughts on your argument, and leave your readers with a lasting impression of your essay.