Thursday, September 29, 2016

Quick Tips: Academic Papers

Autumn is finally here. You might be excited for Halloween and everything pumpkin spiced that the season brings, but when the leaves start to fall you should be thinking of only one thing: midterm essay season.  But that's no reason to worry!  

With these simple tips your academic papers will be in top form: 

Plan Ahead
To get the job done on time it is important to plan ahead and commit to a schedule.  Do Not Procrastinate!  Instead, schedule sessions at the Writing Center and think of them as mini-deadlines.  Writing consultants are there to help you through every step of the writing process, including planning ahead.     

Consolidate Your Sentences
Minimizing redundant words will have a positive effect on your writing.  If you are able to pull a word out and retain the meaning of your sentence, I advise you to do so.  With a few minor edits a convoluted sentence can become precise.   

For example: 

1.  It is extremely important, and often overlooked, to have crystal clear language, especially iacademic papers. 

2.  It is important to have clear language in academic papers. 

As you can see, sentence 2 gets right to the point and comes off stronger for it.
Peer Review 
Trust me: it always pays off to have extra eyes on your paper.  Peer review can provide valuable feedback on the effectiveness of your argument and will offer insight into how your paper will be received.  Allow yourself plenty of time to have your work reviewed by peers or consultants at the Writing Center.  

Read Your Work Out Loud 
Let’s say you finish your paper last minute and are too nice to wake your roommate up at 5:00 in the morning for a peer review.  One easy trick is to read your paper out loud.  This tactic allows you to hear awkward transitions and grammatical mistakes that you cannot see.  It's the first piece of advice we give students who come into the Writing Center and it works wonders. Give it a try!   

Hopefully, with these tips in mind you will survive until winter...and finals.  

EIU Writing Center CH 3110 (217) 581-5929

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