You’ve got a topic. You’ve done some research. Now what? Prewriting strategies help you focus your thoughts on a topic so that you can develop a well-written, well-developed argument. It all begins with asking the right questions and making a plan. Prewriting is also helpful if you’re having difficulty finding a topic or just getting started with your research. After completing some prewriting activities, you may find that you need to dig a little deeper into the research or even locate different resources as your thesis evolves.
Getting Started Strategies
Everyone experiences writer’s block. Staring at a blank page can be overwhelming and intimidating. These strategies can help you ask questions about your topic to get you started in the write direction.
- Clustering (University of Richmond)
- Cubing (University of Richmond)
- Keeping a Prewriting Journal (University of Richmond)
- Planning (Invention) (Purdue University)
Thesis Statements and Outlines
Usually a thesis statement makes an assertion or expresses an opinion about the subject. It lets your audience know the scope and purpose of your essay and gives perspective and focus to all the other ideas in your paper. You may want to refer back to the section of this Web site on getting started for more help on constructing thesis statements and choosing topics. Remember writing and research are cyclical processes, so your thesis may go through several revisions as you proceed through the research and writing process.
- Thesis Statements (University of Richmond)
- Thesis and Purpose Statements (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
- Developing a Thesis Statement (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
- Developing an Outline (Purdue University)
You may be used to writing reports, exploratory essays, or personal narratives. Research paper writing will take you into new territory as you explore ideas and topics with an analytical edge. Research papers require quite a bit of planning and time management. The resources below will show you the steps involved in writing a research paper.