1. THESIS! 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 SOMETHING!

2. CARRY OUT THESIS! 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 THE RESEARCH! 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.

4. Balance your 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 the best! 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 friends!

6. When in 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, click here.

7. Weave it together! 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 (Headley, 129)

     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 Headley and Volcano, the nation embraced white supremacy by accepting Jim Crow laws and disenfranchisement. Liberty was therefore reserved for the white man (Dawley, 2).

Wow, four sources used in two paragraphs!!!!

8. GRAMMAR!!! 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 extra mile! In college, 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 started! Get those journal articles by clicking here!



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