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Goal Setting
Opinion Poll
How many times have you sat down to write a paper and ended up not understanding what your professor wanted, having a difficult time identifying and organizing information, pulling late hours to complete it or getting a paper back with comments such as "good effort...but."

Writing a paper or answering questions on an essay test requires a similar effort from you. Regardless of what you're writing there are three phases in the writing process.


Identifying the requirements of the question
Developing a plan - including material and time plan

Organizing information Writing -
Final copy

Checking your answer to the requirement, editing
Return to writing phase if needed
Do an analysis on returned paper

Regardless of the type of writing assignments - an essay question, a short paper, a research project most students plug into the task with little thought of what the assignment is specifically requesting, developing a written time plan that will allow them to monitor themselves or a plan on how they're going to organize the information they have.

All questions, thesis statements, points to respond to have three elements which are often overlooked. These elements include a topic identification, an alert word which will tell you what you need to do e.g. compare, discuss and a limiting word which directs the focus of your answer for example outcomes, steps. Look at the example below:
    Compare (alert word) the academic outcomes (limiting) of fall freshman pledging (topic) to those of spring freshman pledging (topic).

After examining the above example it is quite clear what is expected from the writer. The paper/essay should be written comparing out comes of the same population of students but at different times of their freshman year. The next question which arises is specifically what does "compare" entail? It includes identifying similarities and differences. The key to writing successfully is to understand the requirements of your alert word and to always include examples and details which will support your statements.

The next step in preparing to write includes considering how many and what type of sources you need for example: on-line articles, interviews, current research, etc., specifically what type of information/facts you looking for, how you are going to collect and record your information, your information and lastly, but equally as critical developing a time frame for gathering your information, organizing it, writing it, editing, checking it against your question, adding more information if needed and allowing enough time for it to sit and "age."




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