I. Getting the Assignment Straight
- When is the assignment due?
- How much is the assignment worth?
- How much time will this assignment require?
Hint: Double your estimate!
- Understanding the assignment
- Carefully record the assignment.
- Read it over to see if it is clear to you - twice.
- Compare your understanding of the assignment with a peer.
- Ask the professor questions to clarify what is desired.
- Are examples available of the format to be used?
- Which style sheets are you supposed to use (e.g. A.P.A.,
- Is there a style manual available for reference?
- Should it be typed, footnoted, referenced, etc.?
- Is there any size constraint?
II. Getting it Written
See Part I of Writing the Paper
- Choose a tentative topic and brainstorm for ideas. Repeat
this after a few days.
- Do an initial investigation of the topic.
- Is there anything in your text's index?
- What do you already know about the topic?
- Have you clarified the topic using an encyclopedia or
other reference book?
- Make a simple, tentative outline of the topic to guide
See Part II of Writing the Paper
- Accumulate information through research.
- Make a final outline to guide writing.
- Allow your outline to grow in detail.
- Organize and reorganize as you go.
See Part III of Writing the Paper
- Write a rough draft using the outline as your guide.
- Put your draft aside for a day, then reread and revise.
- Read it as a naive person.
- What is the focus and perspective of each paragraph?
- Check for clear topic sentences.
- Check for grammar, punctuation, etc.
- Type it or have it typed.
- Proofread it carefully.
Along the way you may find that you need some help or assistance
in writing, researching, or understanding. If you do need
assistance, ASK. Here are some resources that are helpful:
- Other students
- Your professor or other professors
- People in the Writing Clinic (English department)
- Learning Skills Counsellor (Counselling Services)