5 greatest rules to make a high-quality research paper 1

As you well know, writing a research paper teaches you all the skills that a university wants to instill in you. It teaches you to think critically, how to research your position and how to keep one idea central in your head while you work out all the quirks and problems associated with working it out. Of course, that doesn’t make writing an essay easy. Quite the opposite. Doing all those things is difficult – especially when you’re just starting out.

Difficult – but not impossible. Particularly not if you use these tricks to get yourself ahead and make the best of your paper.

Research

Writing a research paper means doing research. There are no two ways about it. But where do you start? Despite what all your professors and your university will say, Wikipedia is a great place to start (I think it’s because they’re elitist and they think Wikipedia is too common to be useful – but they’re wrong. On most points it’s surprisingly accurate).

The reason Wikipedia is a good place to start is because it covers most points broadly and clearly (unlike most academic texts). Of course, you can’t claim the Wikipedia page as one of your references, but fortunately they often provide plenty of those at the end. Check those out and see what papers they reference. If they’re all papers then put them into Google scholar and see what other papers reference these in turn. And there you suddenly have a huge number of papers you can read!

The outline

Maybe one day you can write your research paper from start to finish without working out all the details first. But that won’t be how things start. There are just far too many moving parts for you to keep it all in your head. It’s like driving a car in the beginning. There are just too many things you’re supposed to do for you to remember them all. That takes time.

That’s why you’ve got to write an outline. This is where you start out writing out what thesis you’re trying to defend and how you’re going to defend it.

For the best results, start with a really rough outline that consists of introduction, body and conclusion with a few points filled in. Then, as you do your research and learn more, fill in more of the points such as the arguments you will use to defend your position and the sub-arguments you’ll need to build those on.

Keep making adjustments as your ideas grow and then when you get to the writing part you just have to fill in the blanks as the hard work will already be done. And that’s how you’ll write a research paper that impresses.

Use citation software

There are tons of free citation software out there, so use them! Even better, from day one put every paper you read into it. It will only take you a few minutes per paper and then you can reference each of these in future essays you write. Even better, they citation software will serve as a library that you can use to recall papers you read a while ago.

Then, when you’re writing a paper, all you do is select the paper you want to use and the software will use the rest. You’ll be left with a perfectly formatted bibliography in the blink of an eye. And that’s vitally important if you want to write a high-quality paper.

Broaden your audience

Don’t write only to your professor. The reason? You’ll write an incredibly stuffy and boring article that will make even your professor yawn. That’s because we think of our professors as authority figure and therefore will often freeze up when we write to them. We’ll use sentences that are way too long and complicated – because that’s what you think will impress them.

It won’t. Professors are tired of essays they can barely understand. What they want is a well written essay where it isn’t the language but the ideas that are complicated and complex. The best essays make you feel smart, while the worst ones make you feel stupid.

For that reason, learn to write for a broader audience. Write to your friends and your family. Write as if you’re writing for a magazine. Because if you keep those people in the back of your mind, you’ll write something that’s exciting and fun to read. And if your professor enjoys reading what you wrote, then they’re far more likely to give you a good grade.

Final thoughts

The truth is that most people only think about the writing of their essays. They don’t think about all the stuff that goes on around it – even though all that other stuff, like the research, the outline, the editing and the target audience, are just as important.

The result is a mediocre essay that wanders, is flabby and doesn’t really do whatever you’re trying to do justice.

“But if I focus on all that other stuff,” you say, “Writing that essay will take me forever!” Far from it. You see, when you’ve correctly done all those things I’ve listed, the writing will become far easier to do. It will be like coloring in one of those children’s drawings (as you’ve already drawn all those lines).

And then you can focus on what is really important when you’re writing. And that is finding the right words to make your point, instead of everything else that you were supposed to have done before. In that way, you’ll be able to write a really high-quality research essay.


By Amanda Sparks


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

5 College Essay Writing Instructions Which Will Aid You Avoid Trouble 1

William Shakespeare, regarded as one of the best literary writers of all time once said that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” By all aspects, this statement still remains true many years after he passed on, but there’s one point that needs to be noted from his line of thinking. The pen alone does not guarantee that the person wielding it is a good writer, the true expertise lies within the writer.

The same concept also applies to essay writers. It takes more than just having a pen to make your essays to come off as exceptional. Essays have many conventions that are endowed with a lot of technicalities that you need to take into account when trying to write a masterpiece of an essay.

In this article below, we’ll look into some of the instructions that you need to bring on board as you write your essays. By following them, you will have indeed taken the shackles off the true power of the pen that makes it mightier than the sword!

1. Avoid Imprecise and Vague Language

One of the instructions that you should hold close to heart is ensuring that your essays are devoid of imprecise and vague language. Such language does sound okay in verbal language but on the hand, it is ridden with imprecision especially when written down. When writing essays such as college application essays, it is best to choose your vocabulary wisely so as not to point your readers in the direction of thinking that your mastery of English is below average.

Some of the words that you should eliminate from your writing include terms such as; “things” and “stuff” among many other examples. Failure to do so could lead to your essays getting low grades or being discarded if they are meant for college applications. Vague language is easily eliminated by identifying what you really meant to communicate by using words like “things” and “stuff”. After placing a finger on what you wanted to say, you should then find precise words that can be used in their place. If it is a word like “things”, you should mention the exact things or stuff that you wanted your writer to be aware of.

2. Avoid Repetition and Wordiness

Wordiness can be graded as the most frequent error and ranks among the top essay pitfalls that students fall into when writing essays. It is not strange to find a scenario in which you could truncate up to a third of a given essay and it will still remain with meaningful content. In fact, it could wind up making the essay come off as more effective and engaging as compared to its prior state.

Wordiness can be in a wide array of forms but the most common include incidences of too much word repetition, filler, and fluff content, and redundancy among many other examples. If you write an essay that has any of the above features, more likely than not, you won`t make to winning admission if it was meant for college application. If it was in an exam set up, it would subject your essay to ominous grades, a situation that can be easily avoided by keeping off such writing habits.

3. Eliminate Clichés From Your Essays

Clichés are popularly known to be phrases that are heavily overused thus making them pose as uninspiring and unoriginal. By lacing your essays with such types of phrases, you are highly likely to make your audience tire from reading your work due to lack of creativity.

With an essay, your main objective should be to make an effort to get your readers excited about your work starting from the topic of your essay and right to its conclusion. If it’s a college application essay, you will be better placed in landing yourself an admission and in the case of an assignment or exams, impressing your reader will surely earn you good points. Try your level best to prevent your essay’s message from being hidden in the shadows by un-creative and gloomy essay clichés.

4. Avoid Excessive Digression

Digressions are meant to serve as temporary departures that veer off the main topic in your writing. They can be used effectively to break the monotony in your essay and are highly appreciated by readers only if they are used in the correct manner. However, it is worth noting that the colorful anecdotes that you use with the aim of engaging the reader to enhance their reading experience could turn against you and do the exact opposite of the above.

Such scenarios are brought about by writers deviating from the main point without any legitimate purpose whatsoever behind their doing so. To most readers, such a move will be registered as unnecessary additions to your essay, thus reducing the digressions into mere extraneous words.

5. Avoid Overusing Flowery Language In Your Essays

When writing an essay, be it a college admission essay or a given essay in an exam, it would be wise to exercise caution as you apply flowery language. Flowery language is mostly comprised of adjectives, metaphors, and adverbs among others. Good adjectives, strong verbs, and adverbs are the best ingredients for making your essay seem to have some breath of life in it.

However, when almost every inch of your essay is covered with these adverbs and adjectives, it simply sends one message to your readers. This message is that the writing is from an immature author and one who is doing too much to impress. Your essay should not have up to four adjectives and adverbs in a single sentence. It will be too confusing to comprehend what your main message was all about because your readers` attention will be shunted towards your language and not what you’re trying to communicate. Just use enough of these “spices” and ensure that they are well distributed throughout the essay in an orderly fashion.

Conclusion

Writing an essay and getting all the technical regulations spot-on is almost next to impossible to achieve. However, there are some main aspects that are considered when evaluating both an essay’s quality and its writer. The instructions that have been talked about in the article above are some of the areas that most writers neglect and this has led to their detriment.

We hope that they’ve laid a great foundation for you as you write your essays and in your descriptive essay topics. If you correctly follow these tips, you can rest assured that these instructions will keep you away from trouble. Have you liked the article above? Which of the five instructions has inspired you to try a new perspective when writing your essays?


Lori Wade is a freelance content writer who is interested in a wide range of spheres from education and online marketing to entrepreneurship. She is also an aspiring tutor striving to bring education to another level like we all do. Lori is used to handling many writing orders at the same time and as she likes sharing her ideas and experience, she decided to write a great article for you to show how multiple tasks should be dealt with. If you are interested in writing, you can find her on Twitter or Google+ or find her in other social media. Read and take over Lori’s useful insights!


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

 

Your Scholarship Application Checklist Reply

By: Francine Fluetsch

When it comes to finances, applying to college can be stressful for college students. Loans can deter students from shooting for schools that are a bit out of their price range, as they hope to avoid future student debt.

However, there is a free way to finance your college years: apply for scholarships. There are hundreds of them out there, and you are bound to find a few that you could qualify for — it will just take some digging.

Filling out scholarship applications on top of college applications sounds like a drag, and is definitely a lot of work, but if you can push through, it will be worth it when you land that scholarship that will send you to your dream school. Keep in mind that these applications and the stress that comes with them will only last a short few months, but your college education will give you the future you deserve for years and years to come.

Since you are going to have to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to researching scholarships that fit you, this article will serve to ease the rest of the scholarship application process by giving you a general checklist to follow as you are about to apply to scholarships and also to reference when in the middle of the process.

  1. Letter of recommendation

Not every scholarship application is going to require a letter of recommendation, but it is always better to be over prepared than to not bother getting a letter of recommendation and then realizing you need one when it’s too late to request one.

Try to obtain letters from two trusted people, just to be safe. Ask a teacher who knows you and your achievements well, a supervisor at a job or volunteer position, a coach, or someone in the professional world whom you know quite well (but don’t use family members with your same last name). Supply the person or two that you ask with a “brag sheet” where you list all of your accomplishments and why you are a fit for the said scholarship you are applying to.

This step is the first one for a reason: do it in advance! You can’t go up to your teacher and say, “Would you mind writing me a letter of rec? I need it for an application that is due tomorrow.” Chances are, they will not fulfill your last minute request, and you will be the one who suffers for it.

Give your person at least a month to write your letter, so they have time to think about what to say, and you have time to make sure that they finish before you start stressing about the deadline.

  1. Transcripts

Scholarships are usually awarded to those who excel in school, meaning you’ll have to supply your transcript to prove you are worthy of the reward. However, you can’t just log on to your high school’s website and print out the transcript listed there — you need an official copy. To get your official transcript, you have to go through the Registrar’s office or talk to your counselor.

With this, just like the first step, make sure to give yourself plenty of time, since these orders don’t get filled nearly as quickly as they should. I remember when I was applying to colleges and my request for my transcripts somehow got lost, and luckily I checked back with enough time or I might have lost my spot at UC Santa Cruz. Don’t let a timing issue be the reason you don’t get a scholarship; make sure to plan ahead and order more transcripts than you need.

  1. Cover letter

Scholarship committees want to know about you and why you are a good fit for them, so your cover letter is your chance to make yourself stand out and to highlight all of your attributes for why you deserve their money. Make sure you are not simply creating one cover letter and using it to apply for different scholarships. A lot of the time, they have specific things they want to see, so you need to go through and personalize each cover letter to the scholarship you are applying for.

Double check you are sending each letter to the right place to avoid an embarrassing mix-up! Also, make sure to have another pair of eyes look at your cover letter before you send it, so you can avoid any spelling or grammatical mistakes that you didn’t catch during your proofreading round.

  1. Essay

Scholarship applications include many steps but organizations aren’t just going to give their money out to any random person. Half of the process is seeing if you were diligent and determined enough to give it your all through the application steps, so keep your eye on the prize and bust that essay out!

Like the cover letter, you want to make sure you personalize your essay towards the scholarship you are applying for. The scholarship essay evaluators have seen it all and will know if you are giving them a generic essay that you sent to other scholarships as well.

Get your essay done early so you can show it to one of your teachers and ask for some notes on it. This seems like a daunting task, but your teachers want you to do well and have been at this for a while, so they might know what necessary tweaks you should make to help you get that scholarship.

  1. Photo

Some applications will ask you to include a small photo of yourself, and while it might seem silly to mention it, this does not mean that you can send a selfie to them. Make sure to send a professional picture (like your senior yearbook photo) that shows your college-ready side. You should try to make an impression and stand out, not have them laugh at your lack of seriousness when they receive an Instagram photo of you.

This checklist should get you through the bulk of any scholarship application, but remember to read all instructions carefully and include everything and anything that they require. Good luck scoring that money!


Visit uloop.com for more college news and to search for off-campus housing, scholarships, tutors near campus, jobs for college students, and more.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Ask a Writing Expert: Q&A with Grammar Girl 2

MignonGreenHeadshot6Last month, I had the exciting opportunity to ask an Internet celebrity some questions about writing and grammar. Mignon Fogarty, or as most of you probably know her, Grammar Girl, is the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Media Entrepreneurship in the School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is also the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips, one of the oldest and largest podcasting networks; a veteran of Silicon Valley startups; and best known online for her work as the New York Times bestselling author Grammar Girl.

Read on for a transcript of my Q&A session with Grammar Girl, and be sure to check out her website, podcast, and newsletter for more helpful writing tips. More…

MBA Admissions Q&A Transcript Reply

essay-edge-logo-newLast week, I hosted another live chat over at our partner site, EssayEdge. This time we focused on MBA-related topics, especially essays since they are such a vital component of business school applications in particular. The transcript of the chat will remain live on the EssayEdge site for the next couple weeks so be sure to check it out if you’re at all interested in MBA admissions.  More…

College Essay Q&A Reply

EssayEdge.com

The other day, I hosted a live Q&A chat at EssayEdge, one of our sister sites here at Peterson’s. The focus was on college application essays but we also delved into some other issues related to college admissions in general. Even though if you’re reading this, you almost certainly missed the live event, you can still read the transcript of that chat and hopefully get some value out of it. Here are a few examples of questions that were asked and answered: More…