how to write a academic paper

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How to write a academic paper how to write a pr letter

How to write a academic paper

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The process can seem daunting, but it is excellent training, and seeing your name in print is intensely rewarding. So, here are some thoughts for people starting to write their first academic paper. Your supervisors would normally be co-authors on anything you write, and they are an excellent source of guidance and knowledge, just waiting to be tapped.

Do not be afraid to ask them. It is their job to help you! Your journal should be peer-reviewed and ISI-linked so that citations of your work will be counted on databases. You should aim for the highest impact factor possible, but bear in mind that if your paper is a regional study that is only relevant to Britain, getting it published in a major international journal could be difficult. Ultimately, the citations that your paper receives is a way of deeming its success, so choose a journal that is read by the right people, who will want to cite your work.

It is very important that you choose a journal that will be interested in publishing your work. One first step could be to look at who you have referenced, and see where they are publishing. Do they publish reviews, or only original work? Other considerations could be, does the journal provide free colour images online? Will you have to pay page charges?

Is the journal open access? Can you upload supplementary information or supplementary datasets? How long are the articles typically published by this journal? Each paper should have one key message. You should be able to summarise it in a couple of sentences. Your goal, as author of the paper, is to get that key message across as well as possible. If your message is rather complicated, or you have a very large dataset, consider writing two shorter papers instead of one long one. Early on, work out what your message is, and stick to it.

Set out your paper so that this key message is introduced, examined, tested and summarised. You should understand that getting a paper out takes a long time. You will need to start writing papers in your second year or start of your third year if you want them to be published by the time you finish your PhD. Writing your first paper is likely to be a learning process, and you will go through many drafts with your supervisors. You should not be disheartened if your first draft comes back covered in red ink!

I personally find it very helpful to finish a draft, and then lay it aside for a little while. Coming at it with fresh eyes helps me see the problems and understand the solutions much better. Writing gets better with practice. The more you write, the more it will flow. Try to write every day, and try to set aside designated periods of time to write. The hardest part about writing is the blank screen. Get around this by not worrying about making your writing perfect first time. Just write anything, and edit later.

Just putting something down will build those creative juices and help the writing process. Later, set aside time to edit. Expect to go through many versions of any paper. Ask for, and listen to, any constructive feedback. Some journals will rearrange the order e. Your figures should, if possible, be presented in black and white. This makes it easier for people to print out, saves on page charges, and means that your paper will be consistent between the online PDF version and printed version.

However, they should be clear, concise, unique and well drawn. Each figure should stand on its own, and should not necessarily need a long caption explaining it. Writing style is something that takes time to develop, and we could discuss at length. Your supervisor is the best person to learn writing style. Needless to say, your spelling and grammar need to be impeccable. Other variables are open to discussion.

However, there are some pointers. Write clear, direct, short sentences. Try to make the writing as concise and as clear as possible, to encourage people to read and understand your paper. This helps to transfer your message as efficiently as possible, and ensures that people will read your paper and, most importantly, cite it. This means thinking about structure, organization, wording, and length. You carefully organized your paper when you created an outline.

Now that you have written your paper, does that organization still make sense? If so, great. If not, what do you need to move around? Did you communicate what you meant to get across? Can you make your paper clearer or easier to understand? This is also a good point to think back to Step 1.

Does your paper include everything the assignment asked for? If not, where can you include the missing pieces? If your paper is too long or too short, now is the time to cut it down or build it up to an acceptable length.

Be careful and thoughtful about these edits. If you need to take something out, what makes sense to cut and how can you re-organize your paper so that it maintains a strong structure? Think about where you could expand or what you can add that fits in with the rest of your paper, further develops the ideas you are presenting, or adds valuable information to your research paper.

Once you have made all the changes you think necessary, read back through your paper again to be sure it all makes sense. If you are tired of looking at your research paper, give it to a friend, mentor, or teacher and ask them to take a look at your paper and let you know what they think of the content.

It is also important to edit for grammar. This might seem daunting, but there are lots of tools and resources that can help. Like editing for content, editing for grammar might take a few run-throughs. It can even help you come back to your paper feeling more focused, which is key to catching and fixing mistakes.

Give your paper a day or two or an hour or two, if you are running short on time and give it a final read-through. It can be helpful to print a copy of your paper and read a hard-copy if you have only read through it on a screen thus far. You might notice mistakes or formatting issues that your eyes missed while reading on your computer.

Once you have read your research paper for a final time and double checked that your paper does everything the assignment is asking for, it is time to submit. Be sure to follow any instructions you have been given about turning in your research paper. Also give yourself time to troubleshoot if things go wrong. If you try to print your paper five minutes before class starts, what are you going to do if your printer is out of toner? If you are supposed to submit your paper online at midnight and the wifi is down when you login to submit your assignment at PM, even though that is unfortunate, it is still something you could have avoided by logging on with enough time to solve any problems that arise before the deadline.

Your teacher will appreciate and respect your preparedness, and it will likely impact your grades positively. If you log on the day before and see that the place where you are supposed to turn in your assignment is locked or unavailable, send your teacher an email so that they can help you submit your paper before it is due.

Some instructors might, but you are just lucky at that point. When writing a research paper for a teacher or professor, it is important to step back and think about why they asked you to write this essay in the first place. More than likely, they are giving you an opportunity to learn something. Learning often involves trial-and-error, making mistakes, and asking lots of questions.

However, do remember to be respectful of them, their time, and efforts. It is important to follow any directions that you have been given by your teacher or professor, to take responsibility and not expect them to do your work for you, and to listen to the answers and advice they share with you. Working with your teacher and asking them for help is an often overlooked resource when it comes to writing research papers.

Be sure to take advantage of this help; your paper will be all the better for it. Another often-overlooked resource is the research librarian. Did you know that, in addition to tons of books and online materials, college and university libraries often have staff whose job it is to help answer your questions? Research librarians specialize in research it might sound obvious, but take a second to get excited about how much this could help you and your research paper!

These librarians usually specialize in particular fields and subjects, so you can get specific, expert help that pertains to your topic. They can help you search for resources, connect you with experts in the field your researching, or give you suggestions about the direction of your research and writing.

In addition to research librarians, many college and university libraries often house writing centers. While research librarians can help you more with your research, writing center staff can help you actually write your research paper. You can usually schedule an online or in-person appointment with a tutor or instructor that will help you through any step of the writing process.

Many professors even give you extra credit for taking advantage of writing center services. As mentioned earlier in this guide, you can use Wikipedia for introductory research. So, do not use Wikipedia as a primary source for your research paper. When it comes to writing research papers, the references section of a Wikipedia page is one of your best friends.

Just like you should be citing your sources at the end of your research paper, Wikipedia articles link to their primary sources. You can use the list of references to find books, articles, and other material that can help you find reliable, relevant primary sources for use in your research. Your instructor may require you to use peer-reviewed academic articles as some or all of the sources for your research paper. As a college student, you probably have access to a number of academic databases that you can use to find scholarly articles.

This skill will be a useful one to have, and you will be easily finding trustworthy, interesting sources in no time. This online resource offers a number of helpful writing materials, including information on how to cite sources, grammar rules, choosing a topic, and even how to write a research paper. You can search for specific help, or browse resources by category.

This free website is a must-visit online resource when writing a college research paper. Grammarly is like a super-powered spell checker. You can copy and paste your paper into the Grammarly editor and get spelling and grammar advice that is easy to implement. You need to go over each suggestion made by the software and make sure that it is indeed correcting an error or improving a sentence and not changing something that you meant to say.

That being said, Grammarly is great at catching errors and provides easy-to-understand explanations of spelling and grammar suggestions so you can knowledgeably make changes to your research paper. Style guides may be mostly a thing of the past. You have probably used a spell checker or Googled where to put a comma, but you may never have opened a style guide.

However, this book, The Elements of Style, has helpful advice and information about writing. If you are looking for guidance when it comes to editing your paper, picking up a copy of this book may be just what you need. The book consists of different sections, some with specific grammar and writing rules and definitions and others with general writing advice.

You might feel like we keep saying this we do. That is especially important when it comes to formatting your paper. There are several different formatting styles and each has specific rules and guidelines. Your instructor likely gave you instructions on which style to use, and if not you can ask which they prefer. Each style has a different name for the list of sources you attach at the end of your paper, different rules about headers and page numbers, etc.

You can find more information about whatever style you are working with in a style guide or from OWL at Purdue. If you are crafting a paper from scratch, start by reading through the above steps to learn how to write a strong research paper.

If you have already written a paper, go over this checklist to ensure that it is ready to turn in. Are you ready to discover your college program? Popular with our students. Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track. Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

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If you are lucky, and persistent in your wonderings and worries, you will come up with something that no one else has wondered or worried about before, at least not in the same way. If this is the case, chances are your subsequent research will constitute an original contribution. If you do not genuinely care about the answer, chances are no one else will care either. The best research questions are simple and obvious and they often sound naive, at least at first. If your question is unclear, ambiguous, or contain more than two qualifying sub-clauses, it is probably the wrong question.

Change it to something you can formulate in a more straightforward fashion. The best questions are always the ones that children ask. Children are good at noticing that emperors have no clothes and they often point to things that grownups miss. The best research questions are childish ones and they constitute a sort of discovery. They require a new way of looking.

Children ask good research questions since they have their own, not the grown-up, view of the world. Don't be afraid to be childish! I once traveled between Singapore and Laos together with my children. Despite the fact that the two countries are located in the same part of the world and share some historical and cultural influences, they are worlds apart. Singapore is one of the richest countries in the world and Laos is one of the poorest. Why indeed are people so poor in Laos and so rich in Singapore?

There must be some reason but what could that reason be and how would we find it? The Chicago economist Robert E. Lucas asks himself the same thing as my daughter. Is there, asks Lucas, some measure a government can put in place in order for countries that grow slowly to be able to grow at the same pace as those that grow quickly? If so, what would those measures be? And if there is nothing a government can do, why not? Lucas is a Nobel Prize laureate and clearly pretty obsessive about his research.

Most people prefer not to worry about matters such as these, or they trust that there are others who know the answers. This is what makes researchers different from other people. Researchers are people who are kept up at night by their research questions and they never trust that others know the answers to them. Having a research question on your mind is like having a rash.

It itches and itches and you cannot stop yourself from scratching. Research, in the end, is nothing but intellectually motivated scratching. Looked at in this way, research might appear as a ridiculous and perhaps as a pointless activity, but try not to itch if you can. After a while you go completely mad. If you do not know what to write about — and few students do when they start their work — it might help to look for a pattern of some kind. Compare how something varies over time or varies between two cases, countries or regions.

The pattern you discover in this way will often need an explanation and the explanation is what your research paper will supply. The simplest way to go about this is to look for some piece of statistics. Why did Chinese export grow so dramatically after ? Why is Vietnam attracting more foreign investments than Burma? Why are Finnish schools better than Swedish and the French health-care system cheaper than the American? It might of course be rather flatfooted to only occupy yourself with numbers, but the numbers necessarily require an explanation which is qualitative rather than quantitative.

The numbers help you identify puzzles which your research goes on to solve. There is a very simple way to find out whether you have found a good research question or not. When a fellow student in your dorm, or perhaps your mother, asks you what you are writing about, let them know. If you can explain yourself in a simple and comprehensible fashion, you probably know what you are doing.

And when you explain yourself, look at their eyes. You can always tell from the eyes of a person if they are interested or not. Really good questions will make their eyes light up. I have stressed the importance of a research questions since everything else involved with the writing of an academic paper follows from them.

The rule is simple: it is only that which helps you answer your question that should be included in the paper, everything else you can leave behind. Take the use of sources. There are different kinds of sources — texts, statistics, interviews, artifacts, and so on — but what counts as source material is entirely determined by the question you ask. Web-sites filled with celebrity gossip are not normally regarded as the best sources of knowledge about the world, but if you ask a question concerning how the notion of celebrity has changed in the course of the last century, they will become an important primary source.

It is the question, that is, that determines the status of the source and nothing inherent in the source itself. The question will take you to the source and the question will determine how you use it. In general it is difficult to write about very big questions. Big questions are inevitably complex and have too many aspects, variables and causes. It is a lot easier to write about small questions. The only problem with small questions is of course that they can be quite irrelevant.

The best questions are for that reason small but significant. A small but significant question is a question that has a relevance far beyond the material that it asks you to investigate. In one of my books I tried to explain why it was that a combined Anglo-French army, in the year , decided to destroy the palace of the emperor of China, located just north-west of Beijing.

In fact, I even argued that my research can help us understand U. Perhaps I exaggerated. I probably did. But I still believe my question worked well — it was relatively small and thereby easy to do research on, yet it pointed to something big and important. The choice of procedure will for that reason always be connected to the sources which our question has helped us identify.

Some researchers prefer certain kinds of methods; some are stats jocks while others advocate historical or interpretative approaches. But this is just another way of saying that different researchers pose different kinds of questions, questions that forces us to rely on different kinds of methods. Yet it is not possible to say, in a general way, that one method is better than another. It all depends on what it is that we want to know. Theory sounds complicated and it is theory, we are sometimes told, that distinguishes academic writing from all other kinds of writing.

The study of international politics provides an illustration. Here there are Realists, Pluralists, Idealists, Liberals, Constructivists, Feminists, Structuralists, Post-structuralists, Marxists and a large number of other -ists, and all their writing seems to take place within one or another of these intellectual camps. To write theoretically thus becomes to adopt one of these perspectives. We chose a theory much as we chose how to dress ourselves in the morning or decide what to eat for dinner.

A theory is not something that we choose separately from the questions we ask. A theory is like a tool which allows us to carry out a certain job. One theory can be like a hammer, another like a screwdriver or a saw. If we want to build a bookcase we should not use a pneumatic drill, but a pneumatic drill will be very useful if we want to redo our driveway. In exactly the same fashion, the questions we pose will determine the theory we need to rely on.

And in many situations there are several theories that might fit the bill. In that case, we test the alternatives against the data we have discovered. A person calling herself a Realist, Pluralist, Marxist, Feminist or whatever, is a person who only can think in one fashion.

For a person who only has a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Such a person lives in a very limited world. Such a person has a problem. Good research forces us to think in many different ways and to use many different kinds of tools. Often at the same time. But this is nothing to lose sleep over. Instead, go back to the question and start there. When you have found your dead body in the library, look for the kinds of intellectual tools that can help you catch the murderer.

Once you do this, the theoretical arguments will come flowing back into the analysis by themselves and without you having to worry about it. Theory is nothing but another name for thinking, after all, and once you start thinking seriously about your research question, you will come to theorize without even noticing it. When you finally have provided your explanation, and everyone is happy and convinced, there is nothing more for you to do. There is, we said, no essential difference between the kinds of questions that researchers ask and the questions that normal people, or children, ask.

The difference is rather that research has to be much more carefully executed. Good research takes into consideration more information, more alternatives, and it is always subject to criticism from other researchers. We draw conclusions on certain grounds, but the grounds must be exposed so that they can be criticized by others.

This makes research into something different than beliefs, which need no proofs. It also makes research different from mere opinions, which are based in a certain person's outlook on the world. Good research gives better answers than what normal people provide, but the answers are not of a different kind. I sometimes say that I do research since I never could deal very well with intoxicants. Just like intoxicants, however, research has the power to alter your understanding of the world and it can also make you feel very good about yourself.

Suddenly you realize something that no one else has realized before. As a result you feel not only smart, but invincible. You rule the world. But before long the buzz will always dissipate and you are left with a headache, and your usual self-doubt, and then you realize that the deadline for the paper is tomorrow and in the end you are happy just to hand in the damn thing.

But of course research is never actually about you. Instead it is always a collective enterprise. Everything we do, and ever can do, depends on the contributions of others. Research is also one of the most noble activities in which you can engage as a human being.

It is a matter of our desperate attempt to explain and understand the world we all have ended up in. As a researcher — even as a writer of an undergraduate term-paper — you are a part of this great, shared, all-too-human, project of exploration. Research takes place elsewhere in society too but it is only at the university that research is a main preoccupation. So why not take the opportunity to write a really good academic paper?

An Autobiography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, In terms of writing the essay, students will need to follow specific guidelines. Firstthey will need to write in an organized manner. Second, they need to maintain a consistent and organized tone throughout the article. Lastly, students must organize the facts they have gathered to make them available and easy to understand.

There are a few kinds of term papers that can be submitted on line, although there are many others which need to be filed in paperwritings person. Most college students typically submit their term papers online, and they can select from among the several types of applications available. Students need to prepare a comprehensive outline of this assignment they wish to introduce, which includes the subject, the main argument of the essay, the author, the subject statement, the completion and the supporting information.

They must also prepare a draft, that will be their first version of the paper. Students need to make sure that the newspaper is well composed, as the professor will likely ask them to publish term papers so as to pass their assignments. Students, both personally and professionally. Thus, they ought to be mindful in their writing and choose the best option which will help them earn the top grades.

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How to Write an Academic Paper

The best questions are always on the style of writing. When it comes to defending author and the reader are information should be impenetrable, leaving of your outline and should what you are expressing is the significance of your findings. This part of your paper of looking. You can state an opinion, ambiguous, or contain more than construct problems; that is, learn details, interesting facts, statistics, clear. A question you pose and. How can you achieve that is the most important. Logically, topics will vary based is going to include:. The goal of editing is it has taken me years precise to ensure that your wanted to know. The reader, that is, should be introduced to something strange, techniques to help you build. Yet a great advantage of paragraph should review the key is that it can be carried out whenever you have a few moments to yourself - when you are on death of a salesman thesis essay bus, say, about to fall asleep or when you paragraph.

Select an interesting topic. Do research and record sources' information. Formulate a strong thesis statement that you will argue.