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How to Write a Paper : A Comprehensive Guide

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Do you have no idea how to write a compelling introductory paragraph for your history research paper? Are you striving to back up your arguments with strong counterarguments in your essay? Desperately searching for a good academic paper writing guide? You are not the only one in the pit.

Academic paper writing is a critical skill for success in the realms of education and any career field. However, most students tend to find writing papers on a challenging topic an excruciating affair. Some of them even believe it to be a form of medieval torture.

This is mainly because countless students have little to no idea how to write grammatically correct sentences that makes sense. They also fail to comprehend how to accurately present a clear, convincing and logical argument.

However, excellent paper writing skills are vital to disciplinary learning and crucial for academic success. Good writing skills help students to communicate easily, improve knowledge and critical thinking skills, and prepare them for future opportunities effectively.

If you are also one of those million students baffled by ‘how to write an academic paper’, then you are in luck. Today’s comprehensive post aims to provide you with a complete guide on how to write academic papers effectively. It will walk you through all significant guidelines, excellent topics, and inspiring examples that will enable you to ace all your papers like a champion.

Ready? Fasten your seatbelts. Let’s get started!

Effective Guidelines to Write an Excellent Academic Paper

Do you often tend to wonder how to write an academic paper or a college paper? Whether you’re delving into the realms of college paper writing or academic papers, it is essential for you to know that the key objective of academic papers is to demonstrate that you possess a profound knowledge of a certain topic. It also enables you to share your thoughts about a question or issue that may interest your audience – regardless of whether they are students, educators, or other scholars. It also demands exhibiting your critical thinking skills.

Crafting a winning paper must be done step-by-step. If you are a beginner, you can implement these steps listed below, as they’ve worked millions for countless students. Have a look –

l Understanding the Assignment

Completing an academic paper successfully implies accomplishing the specific tasks designed for you. Before you dive deep into the writing process, ensure you develop a lucid understanding of the assignment task sheet –

  • Go through the requirements carefully. Start looking for anything perplexing you might require clarifying with your professors.
  • Determine the objectives of the paper, deadline, specifications of the length, formatting and method of submission.
  • Create a bulleted list of the major points, then go back and cross off the completed items as you start writing.

Remember to consider your timeframe and word limit carefully. Also, make sure to be realistic and plan adequate time to research, write and edit.

l Pre-Writing Phase

The pre-writing phase can be divided into four parts. Let’s take a look at each one of them below in detail:

Start Conducting Research and Assimilating Information

If you are eager to know ‘how to write a paper fast’, it is crucial to start with evaluating your primary sources on a subject you’ve chosen and searching for points to argue. This will help you develop your thesis statement, a summary of the claim of your paper which all other content will support.

Note any discussions that will seem vital to the topic, and look for an issue you can focus your paper on. Try to use various resources, like journals, books and credible websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glaring.

Try not to verify the ideas you have in mind only, but search for sources that contradict your perspective. Try to ask the following questions while conducting research –

  • Is there anything people seem to overlook in the sources you researched?
  • Are there any heated debates on the topic you can address?
  • Do you have a unique take on the topic?
  • Have there been any current developments that you can build on the existing research?

Here, you can also find it beneficial to formulate research questions to guide you. To formulate research questions, finish the following sentence – “I want to know what/how/why….” You can also ask yourself – “What patterns are you noticing? What are your observations and reactions?”

Formulate a Brief Thesis Statement

Once you develop an idea about the topic, try to write a clear, concise, and specific statement concerning the point you will argue in the paper. Ensure to keep the statement to 1-2 sentences. Also, try to refrain from using overly common terms and abstractions.

For instance, you are asked to present an opinion paper on Libraries. Your thesis statement can be something like –

“Libraries are a vital community resource, so they must receive more funding from local municipal governments.”

Create an Outline to Organise Ideas and Arguments

The academic paper outline is essentially a list of key topics, arguments and evidence you want to incorporate into the paper. It should be divided into sections with proper headings so that you roughly know what the paper will look like before you begin writing.

When you write the outline, the thesis statement should be at the beginning. Then, ensure to write all major points below, leaving adequate space between them for supporting points. Also, ensure to label them with Roman numerals.

Again, jot down supporting ideas and arguments under every major point. If required, break down these points even more, to help outline your ideas effectively.

If you still cannot figure out ‘how to write an outline for a paper,’ take a look at the example given below:

You are writing a paper on ‘Protection of Wetland Ecosystems’, and your thesis statement is about the reasons the government of the country needs to do more to protect wetland ecosystems.

So, your key supporting points could be – impacts of the loss of wetlands in the US’, ‘recent lack of laws to safeguard wetlands’, and ‘benefits of safeguarding wetlands’.

These key points will come in the body of your paper, between the introduction and conclusion.

l Write a Compelling Introductory Paragraph

Ensure to begin the introductory paragraph of your paper in a way that will hook the attention of the reader. Now, this could be an intriguing fact, a common misconception, a rhetorical question, or an anecdote about the topic. Regardless of how you start your paper, ensure it motivates the reader to keep reading the rest of the paper.

For example, you can start your introduction with a hook like – Do you know each year, thousands of new high school graduates pack their bags, move to new cities, and sign papers accepting loans they cannot pay back?

After hooking the readers, craft 1-2 sentences describing what the topic of your paper is and why it is vital. Make sure to incorporate any important background information to offer readers context. Then, make sure to end your introductory paragraphs with the thesis statement. This is the standard placement for the thesis and helps in making sure the reader pays attention to it. Hence, stick to this rule of thumb to make your thesis statement prominent in the introduction at all costs.

For the above-mentioned example of the hook, the thesis statement can be something like –

“A remarkable way to support families planning to send their children to college is to ensure that each high school student enrols in personal finance class after graduation. This will make the transition into adulthood seamless”.

l Write Body Paragraphs

Begin every body paragraph with a topic sentence, and do not start a paragraph with a fact. The topic sentences should offer the key idea of the paragraph and express your perspective. In the next sentences, make sure to support the topic sentence with additional supporting ideas, intriguing facts, specific details, statistics, clear explanations, and relevant examples.

All supporting sentences should be placed logically. You should also ensure they are connected with connection words to help your reader follow your argument. Also, ensure every new paragraph clearly states the shift of focus to a new point.

For the above-mentioned example, your body paragraphs can be like this – “An average student takes out at least one loan to cover their education expenses every year. In 2019, the average student graduating from college carried a negative balance of about $40,000 in debt which was often spread over various lenders. Upon graduation, student rarely knows exactly how much money they owe. And since bankruptcy cannot even eliminate student loans, these students tend to spend half of their adult lives to pay off the balance amount and the interest accrued.

Hence, a personal finance course can educate them on ways to manage their income expenditures while helping them to minimise the amount of debt students carry into adulthood.”

l Wrap Up with Concluding Paragraphs

The concluding paragraph of your paper should remind the reader what the goal of your paper is. When writing the conclusion, you must offer connections to previous ideas and briefly summarise your findings or restate the thesis statement.

Do not incorporate any new information. Finish your paper with a strong concluding statement that your readers will remember. Additionally, do not forget to offer crucial insights or relevant suggestions for further study.

Like, for the above-mentioned example, your conclusion can be – “While not all young individual make financial mistakes, those who do will face years of challenging trying to get their finances under control. So, instead of helping them through these hard years, we must try to prevent them from occurring at all. Making finance coursework mandatory for graduation will ensure that young people are well-versed with the basics of maintaining financial stability.”

l Take Care of the Formatting and Citations

Undeniably, you have the right to express your opinions in a paper. You have the right to take inspiration from people to support your arguments and draw conclusions. However, it is necessary to credit other people whose ideas you used in your work to avoid plagiarism effectively.

You can do this with the aid of proper citations. Incorporate in-text citations per the prescribed citation styles like APA, MLA, Vancouver, Oxford, etc. Format the paper as per different guidelines. Also, make sure to include a bibliography or reference list at the end of the paper.

l Edit and Revise Properly

Now that you are done writing the paper, it is time to edit and add finishing touches. The objective of editing is to make your writing clearer and more concise to ensure that your readers can comprehend it.

You can also ask someone to review your papers and request feedback. You can also seek feedback from peers or mentors. You can also implement the below-enlisted strategies to make your paper as best as it can be –

  • Fix sentences that include passive voice
  • Enhance the word choice by replacing them with long words and shorter ones
  • Enhance the structure of the sentence and word order. Improve the run-ons and fragments.
  • Fix the flow, logic, and connections between ideas
  • Rewrite long sentences to make them concise
  • Fix repetition and use a thesaurus to find the synonym

Foolproof Tips for Effective Paper Writing

A common misconception exists in the academic world – writing a paper is a walk in the park. This is farther away from the truth. However, if you get started without a proper guide and remarkable strategies up your sleeves, you are most likely to fail miserably. No worries.

We have done the extensive legwork for you. Have a look at the list of tips and tricks we have listed below to write a winning paper on any topic with ease –

v Plan Your Time Effectively

We often wish there were more than 24 hours in a day. This way, you will have more time to write all your papers and meet the deadlines, right?

Well, you can still write spectacular essays on time. All you need to do is practice time management techniques and plan your time effectively. When you get your essays, create a solid schedule and follow it diligently until you meet the deadline.

For instance, you can schedule a deadline yourself for every subtopic in the paper. You can create a timetable and allocate a couple of hours to write that paper. You can also prioritise the most important task first. This will give you a sense of accomplishment that may motivate you to complete all other tasks right on time.

l Utilise All Available Information Sources

Beyond deadlines and instructions, educators also provide a list of excellent resources. However, students often tend to overlook this.

Like, you can try to comprehend the ways your papers will be graded by examining the rubric. This is a chart denoting what you must do to secure a high grade, a credit or a pass.

Other resources incorporate lecture recordings, reading lists, sample papers, and discussion boards. You can also go through certain credible resources on platforms like Google Scholar, JSTOR, PubMed Central, Google Books, Science.gov, ResearchGate, Digital Commons Network, etc. If you still have questions on your paper topic, you can consult with your educators directly for relevant insights.

Begin with an Excellent Argument

The key to writing an effective paper is to understand what you are writing about and what this paper is trying to demonstrate or show. Avoid simply typing every thought in your head in the pursuit of meeting the 2000-word count. Make sure that your academic paper presents a thoughtful, organised and well-articulated argument that reaches a nuanced conclusion.

Use a Natural Writing Style

While writing the paper, ensure to use a natural style to make your paper clear, comprehensible, and easy to read for your audience. If you do not want your readers to become bored, make sure to be yourself and use concrete examples from life that may seem relatable to the readers.

Craft the Introduction and Conclusion Last

One of the greatest obstacles to starting to write a paper is coming up with an effective introduction. This is mainly why you must not write the introduction until you have completed the main body of the paper. You wouldn’t surely want to write the paper and then realise that your introductory paragraph doesn’t fit with the final paper.

The same applies to the conclusion. Try to write it last. This is mainly because it is not possible to conclude a paper when you haven’t finished writing it properly.

Use Reasoning, Evidence, and Scholarship

To convince your readers of the argument presented in the paper, try to use reasoning and evidence.

Include evidence that offers concrete information to support the claim. It should typically include specific examples, facts, quotations, illustrations and statistics. Incorporate reasoning that connects the evidence to the argument. Further, you can use scholarship to demonstrate the way your arguments relate to what has been written on the topic.

Write It Clearly

An academic paper will only receive a high GPA when it includes evidence-supported points and is written clearly. Clarity can only be produced through diligent revision and editing, which can turn a good paper into a brilliant one.

Ask yourself the below-mentioned questions to make your writing clear and concise –

Overall Structure

  • Have you started the argument in your paper introduction clearly?
  • Have you clearly demonstrated how your main ideas support the argument?
  • Have you clearly signposted the transitions between every key point for your reader?

Paragraphs

  • Does every paragraph introduce one key idea?
  • Does every sentence in the paragraph support the key idea?
  • Does every paragraph exhibit relevant evidence and reasoning?
  • Does every paragraph logically flow from the one before it?

Sentences

  • Is every sentence grammatically accurate?
  • Is the link between sentences clear to your readers?
  • Did you avoid redundancy and repetition effectively?

At the end of the day, writing an effective paper still includes a lot of work. However, if you implement the above-mentioned strategies, you will be able to craft a remarkable paper quickly without losing any quality.

50+ Paper Writing Topic Ideas to Get Started

Being able to choose perfect paper topics is a critical skill for any student. Not only it creates the difference between crafting a good paper and falling flat on the face, but it is also important if you desire the process to run smoothly.

The significance of choosing good research paper topics can lead students to feel a huge weight hanging over their heads as time passes. But if you are well-versed with a few actionable strategies, selecting exceptional topics can be quick, easy, and even fun.

Here’s how you can choose an outstanding paper topic and make an excellent impression on your professors –

  • Go for a topic that’s appropriate to the length of your paper
  • Refrain from choosing a topicthat will tempt you to summarise instead of discussing or analysing
  • Select a topic that intrigues you
  • Become super specific
  • Define your topic as a question
  • Ensure the topic is relevant  
  • Opt for a topic that has countless credible sources and enough information to write a paper.

Hold on! Here’s an extensive list of inspiring and interesting topics that will enable you to write an excellent paper and leave your professors spellbound this semester –

Research Paper Topics

  1. Explore the art of  college political campaigns
  2. Do you think prescription drugs must be advertised directly in front of consumers?
  3. Explore the ways standardised tests can enhance education
  4. Do you think modern technologies can transform the way of educating in the future?
  5. Discuss the possibilities of predicting the impacts of hurricane
  6. Explore the underground impacts of earthquakes
  7. Do you think the social network is good for our society?
  8. Explore the role of meditation in the media
  9. Discuss copyright law restrictions and the vague theories on it
  10. Explore the modern standards of nonverbal communication
  11. Do you think ethnic killings can be stopped?
  12. Explore how bad dreams impact our mood.

Assignment Paper Topics

  1. Evaluate the benefits of diversity in the sector of education
  2. Do you think rehabilitation centres are more efficient than prisons?
  3. Explore a historical invention and discuss its impact on the society
  4. Do you think the response of the government to national disasters improved or declined throughout history?
  5. Describe the influence of children’s literature on adulthood
  6. Do you think anyone ever uses math formulas in real life?
  7. Present your views on how the high school curriculum must incorporate subjects related to real life.
  8. Present a comparative analysis between TOEFL and IELTS
  9. Discuss the importance of the Battle of Hastings in the history of England
  10. Explore the psychological impacts of the Holocaust on the survivors
  11. Discuss how standardised exams aren’t a useful way to assess the capabilities of a student
  12. Explain how learning techniques impact learning behaviour

Essay Paper Topics

  1. Do you think the government should do more to increase accessibility for people who have physical disabilities?
  2. Present your views on how the American education system is perfect for society.
  3. Do you think LinkedIn is beneficial for finding employment opportunities?
  4. Explore how sex education should be compulsory in high schools
  5. Describe the most interesting art piece you have ever seen
  6. Write about the most important event in the history of America
  7. Describe the time you faced rejection
  8. Write about an experience that made you realise your parents were or weren’t always right.
  9. Present a comparative analysis of the immigration policies of two countries.
  10. Present your views on how the divorce rate increased in the past decade
  11. Discuss certain unconventional ways of relieving stress
  12. Present your views on the environmental causes of smoking

Case Study Topics

  1. Present your views on the relationship between a positive attitude and professional success.
  2. Write about the prevention of burnout in corporate  management specialists
  3. Explore the top college degrees in global management
  4. Explore how school-taught self-defence strategies can help students
  5. Write about the correlation between financial responsibility and family income
  6. Write about workplace safety for female personnel workforce.
  7. Explore effective nursing stress reduction methods.
  8. Write about strategic management in small private clinics
  9. Write about how green energy systems can change the numbers in reports of carbon dioxide emission
  10. Explore the ways environmental protection can be promoted to save rainforests
  11. Explore the crucial reasons for women breaking the law
  12. Write about the peculiarities of the marketing style of Steve Jobs

Literature Review Topics

  1. Discuss the impact of technology on student learning in the classroom
  2. Write about the influence of social media on social stratification
  3. Discuss the role of media in shaping public opinion
  4. Write about the influence of nursing leadership on patient satisfaction
  5. Explore the efficacy of nursing education programs in increasing the safety of the patient
  6. Discuss the influence of globalisation on cultural identity
  7. Write about the impact of climate change on biodiversity
  8. Discuss the role of nurses in enhancing end-of-life care
  9. Explore the influence of economic inequality on social mobility
  10. Write about the representation of minorities in literature
  11. Discuss recent measures to prevent human trafficking in the UK
  12. Do you think coded language can help us combat racial inequality?

Wrapping Up,

With this comprehensive guide on ‘how to write a paper’, you can nail all your papers like never before. Take the help of this guide, follow the guidelines and draw inspiration from samples to sail through your paper writing process like a champion. Good luck!

Lachlan Nguyen

Hi, my name is Lachlan Nguyen. I have been an English writing expert for myassignmenthelp.com for the past seven years. I have loved English and Literature all my life. That’s the reason I pursued a PhD in English and made a career in the same. I’ve written a couple of blogs on English writing for some of the most prominent academic websites. You can find some of my write-ups published on sites like ABC, LMN, and VFX. There’s one more thing that excites me just like English and Literature - Photography. When I am not working, you can probably find me clicking at some breathtaking destination. 

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