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Natural Theology PHIL 4883

Strategies & tips to locate and gather resources for your research project.

Citing Sources

Tips for Writing Your Paper

You may already feel comfortable with the process of writing a college-level paper or you may not. Below are some basic tips for getting started no matter how big or small your assignment may be!

  • Do not wait until the last minute to gather and read your sources.
    • Many students feel that they work best under pressure and wait until the last minute to initiate any aspect or portion of an assignment.
    • Studies have repeatedly shown that this feeling of completing their best work under pressure is false. You run the risk of not having needed sources available and settling for poor or extraneous sources.
  • Set a schedule and create deadlines for yourself.
    • This helps establish good habits and more professional behaviors
    • Break the assignment down and set small goals that will help you achieve your best work. This may look something like this:
      • Due date Goal
        Week 1

        Brainstorm topic ideas

        Write 2-3 paragraphs about what you already know

        Write 2-3 paragraphs about what you think you what to find out

        Week 2

        Look for keywords and ideas from the notes you wrote in week 1

        Use keywords and ideas to search in library databases and online philosophy encyclopedias

        Be careful to look at other subjects or descriptors used in the records of items you find interesting and relevant

        Week 3 Start to gather sources, using interlibrary loan, books on reserve and in the library and online philosophy encyclopedias
        Weeks 4-5

        Read sources and take notes

        Develop a working outline

        Begin organizing and writing sections of your paper

        Acquire and use more sources as needed

        Weeks 5-6

        Develop your rough draft

        Acquire and use more sources as needed

        Until due date

        Fine tune and edit your rough drafts

        Have someone else read and edit your rough draft

        Consider reading through your paper out loud to yourself

  • Consider writing your introduction and conclusion after completing the main body of your paper.
  • Your first draft should never, ever be the final draft.