How to start your paper

July 25, 2017 510


We have all been there, time and time again, we want to start writing an academic paper, but don’t know how to begin. We blame it on writer’s block, our relative lack of interest in the class, the professor’s surly demeanor and so on. As convincing as all of these excuses may seem to us at the time, they do not address the root cause of the problem.

The reality is that we struggle to start writing our paper because we lack a clear plan. Whether you are looking to find a destination in a busy city, construct an automobile from scratch or write a computer program, you need to have a general understanding of what needs to be done. To do this, you must display a holistic perception of the concept in question and you must also be proficient with the mechanics of the technical skills involved therein.

Needless to say, writing a college paper is a challenging endeavor that requires deep preparation and attention to detail. As we have previously mentioned in our earlier posts, we need to base all of our writing according to the demands of the audience. For college papers, you are always writing to an audience of one person and that is your instructor.

Unlike professional writers who work on novels, autobiographies or newspaper entries, we do not need to speculate about what our audience expects. Simply and conveniently, most professors provide a rubric and a document of instructions specifying exactly what is expected from you. It is your responsibility to study it thoroughly and make sure that all of your writing focuses exclusively on the requirements.

Before you begin working on any academic paper, you need to obtain a rubric and the official document of instructions. The rubric stipulates exactly what you are graded on and even clarifies the significance of each aspect of the evaluative criterion. The official document of instructions includes essential information such as the questions to be answered, the themes to be addressed and sources to be used.

If you find the professor’s rubric to be unclear in any way, be sure to contact the professor right away. If you do not know how to phrase your question, consider the key ideas of the requirements. That is, ask your professor what questions you need to answer in the paper. Then, follow up with another question about the key themes you should address in the paper. Finally and most importantly, ask what learning you need to demonstrate in your assignment.

Professors are becoming increasingly frustrated with the apathy and negligence they encounter from their students on a daily basis. Asking these questions can only do you a world of good and your professor will always appreciate your curiosity. Once you clarify the essential guidelines of the assignment and the learning objectives, your results will improve significantly.


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