10 TIPS FOR
WRITING AN "A" PAPER
Make sure that
your thesis is original and strong. Is it creative? Does it prove
something? NOT a good thesis: The Industrial Revolution led to
a lot of inventions. That's a fact -- not a good thesis. Good
thesis: The steam engine was the most influential invention
in the history of transportation ... YOU SEE ... THAT PROVES
2. CARRY OUT
Just about every single sentence you write should be related to your
thesis. In other words, if you are writing about how the cotton gin
changed society, DO NOT devote two pages to the biography of Eli
Whitney. It doesn't help your thesis!
3. SHOW ME
I want you to use
many sources. I know I ask for three, but go ABOVE AND BEYOND TO GET
THAT "A." Three is merely the minimum for a passable paper. Show me
you can mix books, journals, and online databases. A good paper blends
MANY different sources.
Please do not rely
too heavily on one source! I hate seeing (Klaff, 23) (Klaff, 24) (Klaff,
452) (Adams, 121) (Klaff, 48) Please use your sources wisely. You can
rely heavier on some, but PLEASE do not overdo it on one of them!
5. Use only
Internet sources don't impress me too much. You can use one, but
please don't let that be your dominant source. Show me a lot of
journals. I like that. Colleges like that. Also, books are your
doubt ... Cite!
Citing your footnotes is so important. You should cite whenever
information isn't yours. Footnotes also show me your research. The
more I see, the more research I assume you have used. If you don't
cite -- it's plagiarism. If you don't know what that means,
7. Weave it
Here's an excerpt from an old college paper I wrote. Notice, how I am
using different sources, yet interweaving them in the same paragraph.
If your paper looks like this, you are showing that you can take
different sources, and relate them to a larger thesis.
Tammany Hallís political machine,
coupled with the influx of would-be Democratic immigrants created one
of the strongest Democratic entities in the North
(Bernstein, 7). During the 1880s, New York Cityís
Democratic allegiance was still existent. New York City considered
itself a Democratic city under Republican Rule
Such government anxiety influenced early draft riot literature.
These early accounts interpret government and class to be the most
profound causes to the draft riots. It is equally important to
understand why black and white tensions were downplayed.
First, violence directed towards blacks was frequent. In the era of
the nation embraced white supremacy by accepting Jim Crow laws and
disenfranchisement. Liberty was therefore reserved for the white man
sources used in two paragraphs!!!!
Don't overlook the obvious. Grammar is a HUGE part of writing a good
paper. Now, I understand that not everyone is a great writer. However,
if you use a grammar check on the computer, and have someone
look over your paper, you can turn out a wonderful piece. Take your
time. The computers at school all have grammar checks (Hit F7 when you
open it in Word.)
9. Going the
your professors will ask you to write a 3-5 page paper. Whenever, I
saw that I thought, "I'm gonna write a 5 pager!" I always went the
extra mile. Much like your DBQ's -- a good paper usually involves
quality AND quantity. The more you write to prove your thesis, the
better the paper. However, DO NOT expand to five pages just for the
heck of it. If you can't get there -- leave it at 3 or 4.
10. Write on
something that interests YOU!
I want this
to be a learning experience. Therefore, I gave you a broad range of
topics. It will be a better experience if you write about something
that interests you. There's nothing worse than writing a paper on
something that bores you. If it bores you -- odds are, your writing
will reflect that. Have fun! Pick something that you enjoy! Research
Papers are your friends!!!!!!
So ... let's
Get those journal articles by clicking here!