What to Look for When Revising Your Rough Draft

After you complete your rough draft you must thoroughly revise it. At this time you will be looking at all aspects of your paper and will correct any flaws. Things like punctuation, grammar, and spelling should be looked at closely, and you also need to be mindful of things like tone and if you are targeting the right audience.

Identify Your Evidence

This is the time when you need to look at your thesis and ensure that you have the proper evidence to support it, according to Purdue Online Writing Lab. You want to ensure that the evidence is sufficient, detailed, and credible. You should also take this time to look at all of your citations. Make sure that they are done correctly and that you used citations whenever they were necessary.

Did You Stick To the Assignment?

This is important because at this stage you can make changes in the direction of your paper without adding too much extra work. Look at the grading rubric and assignment instructions to ensure that you have hit all of the necessary points. Make sure that all of your research is relevant and that you analyzed it properly and at the right times. If you have gotten off topic in places, this is the time to reign it in and bring everything back on topic.

Is Your Paper Organized?

You want to look at each paragraph, as well as the sections as a whole. Does your paper flow well? If you feel that things are a bit choppy, see if you can switch a few sections to improve flow. Each section should lead into the next relatively smoothly. When you are looking at individual paragraphs, you must ensure that each sentence flows well into the next and that transition words are used properly.

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Understanding “Who” Versus “Whom”

“Who” versus “whom” often creates confusion because it can be hard to fully understand when you need to use which word. However, these pronouns need to be used correctly to ensure that what you are trying to say is completely understood. It is also essential for good writing. When you are writing a paper, using the wrong form of this pronoun is a minor issue, but it is important to use it correctly because minor issues can still distract from what you are trying to say.

Quick and Simple Trick

There is an easy trick you can use to remember which version of this pronoun is correct. “Who” equals “he” and “whom” equals “him,” according to Grammar Book. As you are writing, keep this trick in the back of your mind to ensure that you are using these two words correctly. Here are some examples to show you how this trick works.

“He picked the apples.” Since “he” was used, you would use “who.” For example, “who picked the apples?”

“She was looking for him.” Since “him” was used, you would use “whom.” For example, “whom was she looking for?”

Importance of Proper Usage

When you are writing papers, it is important that the mechanics of the paper be impeccable. At the college level, you are expected to use language correctly and while most professors will not say much about a few small mistakes, these do add up. When you are using basic words improperly, this can be distracting and it can undermine your credibility. Your research, analysis, and information can be superior, but mistakes with grammar, word usage, and punctuation can make it seem like you did not put effort into this aspect of the assignment.

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Understanding the Types of Research Papers

When it comes to research papers, there are three primary types that you may be asked to write. In most cases, you will be assigned a specific type, but some professors will allow you to choose the type of research paper that will best fit your research and intended direction. You will not be able to effectively use these until you understand their purpose and when it is best to use them.

Report Paper

A report is simply a paper where you thoroughly research the topic. This tends to be quite broad and will require you to conduct extensive research. While this type of paper will analyze your writing ability, it will look more at your ability to effectively research, organize, and analyze different types of information. It will also look at how well you present research.

Issue Analysis

This is a paper that focuses on analysis and will look at a specific problem and not a set of problems, according to Purdue Online Writing Lab. You will look at the different solutions after you fully analyze the issue, and you will analyze it from both current and historical perspectives. The tone is generally neutral and you should not be advocating any position throughout the paper. It is important to be very clear and completely explore all angles and solutions.

Advocacy or Persuasion

With this type of paper you will take a stand and conduct the necessary research to defend it. The stand you take should be on a relatively small topic so that it is easier to research. You will deflect arguments against your stand and put up arguments that support your position. It is important to try and keep emotions out of it and support your position by using straight facts and objective analysis.

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Understanding the Importance of Internal Citations

In-text citations are used to show where you got your information from. This is important because it adds credibility to your paper and helps to protect you from plagiarism. It is important that all research papers contain in-text citations or else there is no way to verify the resources that you used to craft your paper.

Why Are In-Text Citations Important?

In-text citations add credibility to your research, but this is not the only purpose that they serve. You should use in-text citations for the following reasons:

• They give credit to the person who is the original source of the information
• Properly citing information helps you to avoid plagiarism
• Your reader will know where to look to verify the information that you used

What Information Should Be Cited Within the Text?

When you are writing your paper, you will cite a variety of things. You will cite in-text when you use the following type of information:

• Facts that are not considered to be common knowledge
• Statistics and percentages
• Another person’s ideas
• Direct quotes from another person

A general rule of thumb is to cite anything that is not your own idea. It is critical to give credit where credit is due when you are conducting research and crafting a paper around this. Keep in mind that it is possible to plagiarize ideas and this is why things other than direct quotes also need to be properly cited too.

Elements of In-Text Citations

When you are crafting your in-text citations, it is important to do them properly. Pellissippi State Community College states that you must use the author’s last name and the year of publication to create the citation. Some instructors will also require that you add either a page number or a paragraph number to the citation.

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Understanding the Importance of Foot Notes

Using foot notes correctly can add value to your paper and the research you did to craft it. These are used to expand upon the references that you use in your text. This will allow your readers to learn more about the resources you used during your research. They can verify the research you present and then learn more about the research if necessary.

Should Content Notes Be Used?

You can add content notes in with your foot notes to provide additional information to your readers. These will tell your readers where you got the information and will explain a bit about what that specific reference can tell them, according to Purdue Online Writing Lab. These can lend some clarity to your foot notes.

Why Are Footnotes Useful in Writing?

Footnotes are helpful to your reader in that they clarify information as they read through your research. It is important to use footnotes correctly so that they are purely useful and do not become distracting. There are some quick tips you can use to better understand the importance of footnotes and to ensure you are using them properly:

• Keep track of the footnotes you need to use as you craft the initial draft of your research paper so that you can easily add them as you do your edits
• Make sure that you use the footnote format that your instructor prefers so that he or she can easily use them to get additional information
• Use the shortened version of footnotes when necessary to reduce clutter in your paper
• Use a footnote when it is necessary to identify where you got your information from.
• Place the footnote properly at the end of each page so that they are easily found.

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Understanding the Importance of End Notes

End notes are an important element when it comes to writing credible research papers. These notes will point your readers toward the resources that you used so that they can verify your research and do further reading into the subject. It is important to use these notes correctly so that they add further substance to your paper.

Should Content Notes Also be Included?

Content notes are not absolutely necessary, but your readers may find them helpful. These are used to add a little explanation to the sources that you used. For example, if you use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to grab some statistics, you would use a content note to tell your reader how to find the source and then add a short explanation of what you found at that specific source, according to Purdue Online Writing Lab.

What Are the Uses of End Notes?

End notes can be very useful for readers because it helps them to clarify things as they read through your research paper. There are several tips you can use to ensure that you are properly using end notes and so that you can understand why they are important:

• As you are writing your paper, you want to include your end notes right away. This will ensure that you are properly citing all sources and not forgetting to give credit to any sources used
• Create your specific end note page last and place it before your reference page
• Make sure that your end notes are clear so that your reader fully benefits from them. You must cite these properly and use the approved format
• Make sure that you are using end notes per your teacher’s instructions so that they are done to his or her specifications

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Understanding Active Versus Passive Voice

Active voice and passive voice are two things that are often discussed in college English classes. Depending on which one you use it can change the tone of your writing and it can alter how the information that you present is communicated. Neither of these are wrong ways to write, but there is a time and a place for each of them. Fully understanding what active voice and passive voice are will help you choose the right one for your assignments.

What is Active Voice?

Active voice is most often used when you are writing non-scientific papers, according to Purdue Online Writing Lab. This type of writing is more simplistic and straightforward. When you are writing in the active voice, you are writing in the present. An example of active voice would be “I am playing cards with Susan.” This sentence states that at this very minute you and Susan are playing cards.

When you are using active voice the only thing that you want to be careful of is choppy sentence structure. It can be easy to write sentences that are overly simple and too short. You can use longer sentences and combine sentences when writing in the active voice and still keep them simplistic.

What is Passive Voice?

Passive voice is usually seen in scientific writing and it is a bit more formal than active voice. The target of your sentences will become the subject. Passive voice can be a little trickier because it is easy to create sentences that are not as clear. An example of a passive sentence would be, “Sarah is loved by Ian.” Sarah is the focus of the sentence where if this sentence was written in active voice, Ian would be the target.

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Tips to Prepare for Writing Your Research Paper

The research is often one the most time-consuming elements of writing a research paper. Because of this, it is important to do what you can to simplify it. There are some tips you can use to help you get started and to help you in collecting the research necessary in a short period of time.

Create a Regimen

You should set yourself a schedule to follow to ensure that your research is done in a timely manner. For example, set aside at least an hour each day to conduct the necessary research. You can also schedule how much time you spend with books, how much time with a computer, and how much time you spend with other sources.

Take Good Notes

When you are conducting your research, take good notes so that you can easily remember why you chose that source. For example, write down the source name and a quick description of what that source is offering, such as facts or statistics. You can also simply craft the reference page citation as you go along so you can easily find the source in the future.

Use a Computer

When you use a computer to do your research, you allow yourself to be exposed to millions of potential sources. Be sure to review the credibility of the sources you use as you go along to ensure that the sources are reputable, according to Researched Blogs. This will save you time in the end because you will have already properly vetted all research.

Define Your Objectives

This will help you when you are collecting research, as well as if you should need to change directions halfway through. It essentially gives you a road map to follow to ensure that you effectively collect the data that you need.

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Tips to Improve Tone in Your Writing

When you are writing a research paper you probably do not think much about the tone because most people tend to focus a lot more on the research and how they will analyze it. However, your tone plays a major role in how you communicate the information in your paper. It is important that your tone be formal, credible, and authoritative. This ensures that your information and analysis are trusted and taken seriously.

What Is Formal Tone?

Formal tone is professional, clean, and neutral. The following are formal tone guidelines, according to Illinois Valley Community College:

• Avoid first-person writing
• Never use “you” when addressing readers
• Do not use contractions
• Do not use slang
• Do not use non-standard diction
• Do not use word abbreviations
• Avoid sentences that are simple and short

These are the basic rules of formal tone and rather easy to adhere to. When you are revising your paper for your final draft, keep these rules in mind so that you can make all necessary changes. In fact, some students will create a checklist with these rules so that they do not forget them.

Avoid Being Overly Formal

When you are writing research papers, you should use a formal tone, but it is important to not overdo it too. Sentences that are unnecessarily complicated can detract from quality research and make your analysis difficult to understand. You want to maintain a formal tone while also ensuring that your information can be understood. This is a delicate balance at times, especially when it comes to topics that are naturally complex, such as physics and engineering. Consider how much academic jargon you use and replace it when you can do so and still maintain a formal tone. You can also opt to define jargon when it is used so that your paper can be understood by those of many backgrounds.

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Tips for Writing a Response Paper

When you are taking college classes you will have to write at least one response paper, as these are very popular in classes that encourage debate. These are first-person papers so the rules are quite different than those of traditional research papers. With this type of paper you will be given another paper, an article, a piece of art, or even a book, and you will be expected to thoroughly read or review it and then create a comprehensive review.

Creating Your Reaction

This is the step that you will do first as you are doing your initial read or review. When you are forming your reaction, you will complete the following:

• Develop an initial understanding by scanning the piece
• Thoroughly read or review the piece
• Take notes on your thoughts
• Develop a thesis
• Write an outline
• Develop your essay

Organizing Your Paper

This is what you will do after you have completed your reaction. This is where you essentially plan your paper and how you will develop the flow of information. The first thing you will write is your thesis statement, according to St. Cloud State University. From here you will develop your topic sentences by identifying the key points that you want to cover. You will finish your paper with a conclusion that sums up your opinion and review.

Stating Your Opinion

This is the fun part of the paper because it is all about you. You should share exactly what you think when inserting your opinion. Use first person and do not be shy. Be honest and clear about the things you liked and the things you did not care for. You should also add analysis to explain your feelings.

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