Step Six: Paper Writing
Let me go ahead and apologize for missing last week! I was in charge of Homecoming for my sorority, and unfortunately I find it incredibly hard to write when I am anxious. While I love my role in the sorority this year, I am a little too much of a micro-manager, so I found it difficult to plan and execute what would have been five events for our alumni and still pretend to lead a normal life.
Let’s talk about paper writing! I’m going to go ahead and admit it: I find paper writing similarly as painful and bittersweet as my blogging experience. Let me be clear, I love blogging and I love writing, but it is also very difficult for me. While I relish in the final product of my ideas being out there for the world to see, or a well-constructed thought being communicated efficiently, I simply resent the process and the anxiety that I feel along the way. I tell you all this because I want you to know that it is OK if you feel the same way, and if you don’t, then kudos to you!
On to the next disclaimer: Just as I have no way to know what kind of research you readers may be doing, I also have no idea what kind of writing style you may be using. For these reasons, my points about paper writing will be very general and hopefully useful for all. So here we begin!
Step One: Gather your research and/or data
For my project, I had to research 20 sources for my final paper. The reason this is necessary is because scholarly papers typically have some sort of introduction or past research portion, and it is necessary for your paper to do the same. You want your past research to give background information and support your main idea or thesis. I researched whether or not playing music for assisted-living residents would lower depression, so some of my research articles include topics like: music exposure, statistics on elderly depression, alternative therapies to depression, etc. In addition to past research, it is also important to have the results of your study at your disposal. Your paper will center around what you actually found in your research, so it is imperative to know the results.
Step Two: Get to know your writing style
Your field of study will determine what writing format your paper must be in. For instance, since I study psychology, I am required to write in APA format. All formats are different, so I find it very useful to either buy a guide that teaches you the dos and don’ts of your format, or to visit Purdue Owl and learn there. Knowing how you are supposed to write before you begin writing will be very helpful in getting your thoughts together.
It may take days or weeks for you to finish your rough draft, but the important part is to begin! Personally, I am a power writer, and once I begin it is better for me to write until I can’t anymore. One thing that I tend to do before I write the meat of my paper is to get my references and my title page formatted. This is helpful to me because I can focus on actual content instead of formatting issues, but everyone writes in their own style. I encourage you to find your pace and stick with it. Just be sure to allow yourself enough time to meet whatever deadline that may be looming!
Step Four: Editing
Let me be clear, there will be editing. No one writes a perfect paper on the first try, and that is OK! I encourage you to let your advisor, your peers, and whatever other victims you can find, read your paper. You may not necessarily want to change everything people tell you to in terms of content, but letting others read your work will catch grammar mistakes and inform you on how well you are getting your point across.
Whether you are turning in a school paper or trying to get your work published, it is time to hand over your baby and hope for the best. Be confident that after all of the hard work and time you have put into your project, that paper is something that you should be proud of.
Paper writing can be difficult and challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding to know that you accomplished something great. Next week we will end the series with how to present your work! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to comment below!
Posted on October 17, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged APA, editing, Lincolm Memorial University, LMU, paper, paper format, paper writing, Purdue Owl, research, research process, rough draft, writing style. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.