Guide Content

Write Solid Papers and Essays
Depending on the program, you will write a good number of research papers and essays over the course of your academic career. If your skills need a little sharpening, you should definitely take advantage of any writing labs or tutorial services offered by the institution. For now, here are some basic academic writing tips:
  •  If you have any writing fears, conquer them. The best way to overcome apprehension or lack of confidence about writing is to simply change the way you think about writing. Never say the typical self-prophesying “I can’t write.” Instead, adopt a mental attitude that meets any writing assignment as a welcome challenge that is a definite boost to your overall knowledge bank once it is completed.
  • Avoid problems with grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and clarity. These can be rectified quickly by getting to know one easy-to-read and relatively short book that has been popular since 1918: “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, Jr., available online for free.
  • Be logical. Oftentimes in a course, you’ll be asked to write an argumentative paper or essay in which you analyze the research and come to your own point of view about a given topic. Good logic when writing academic papers or essays entails creating a sensible progression of thought where one paragraph leads to the next until you reach a sound conclusion. A good source specifically about logic in argumentative writing is available at “The Owl at Purdue." Also, keep in mind that it always pays to read and re-read all of your writing assignments with a keen eye toward the overall logic of what you composed.
  • Recognize good flow. Always review how your sentences and paragraphs are linked together to ensure a smooth-flowing piece. Using transitional statements, such as: for example, for instance, nonetheless, thus, moreover, etc., can help, but be careful not to overuse them. Another method for enhancing flow is, as you edit, proofread and re-read your work, try to pay very close attention to how well you connect all your sentences or paragraphs to the sentences or paragraphs that precede them.
For a wide range of tips and information about the writing process, see the “The Owl at Purdue” or Grammar Girl.