Writing an Academic Paper

Writing an Academic Paper
Writing an Academic Paper
Listed below are the steps required to write an academic paper. These steps do not have to be done in
the order listed; in fact, they may be repeated many times during the process. Repeating steps most often
happens during the research, reading, and first draft stage of writing. Writing and learning is a fluid
process, so a thesis statement or viewpoints in the paper might change as you do your research. Or, an
outline might be more easily written after completing the first draft rather than before. In addition, it is
not unusual to go back to do further research or to revise a thesis statement when editing the rough
Select a Topic
choose, if possible, a topic that interests you
follow directions given by your professor
consult with the TA or professor if you are uncertain about the assignment
Create a time schedule with deadlines for each step
read & take notes
outline/organize information
write the first draft
revise for completeness, conciseness & clarity
edit & proofread
Find sources
remember that one source can lead to other useful information
gather several different viewpoints to appreciate the topic’s complexity
search the BISON catalogue for books, journals and other material in the UM Libraries’
collections and search NETDOC databases for journal citations, full-text resources, abstracts
make a complete reference notecard for each source
You have the tools. We’ll help you use them.
Prepare preliminary questions to guide your reading & note-taking
what information is needed to develop the topic?
what are the important issues related to this subject?
who has contributed significantly to this area?
what conclusions can be drawn?
Formulate a working thesis statement
A thesis statement is a declarative sentence that expands your topic into a scholarly proposal,
one that you will prove, defend, or expand on in your paper.
Design a system to organize and take notes
Identify topic headings on each note card or loose leaf.
indicate whether the information is a quote, a paraphrase, or a summary of the
add your original thoughts about the reading
on all cards or pages, identify title, author, and page reference in an abbreviated
Outline your paper
list, classify, group, and number all discussion points
Write your rough draft
write sections of the paper, following your outline
craft an introduction which includes the thesis statement and sufficient
background information
write a brief conclusion
Develop your thesis statement to:
fit at the beginning or end of the introductory paragraph
anticipate your conclusion and set in motion the presentation of supporting
control, focus, or direct the entire paper
plainly state your position for the reader
Academic Learning Centre 2
set the paper aside for a few days
read the paper aloud to detect any weaknesses in reasoning and structure
add or delete content to strengthen arguments and make connections
make certain everything in the paper relates back to your thesis statement
have someone read and comment on your paper
content & organization
does each paragraph have one main idea expressed in a topic sentence?
do succeeding paragraph sentences relate to their topic sentence?
does sentence structure vary?
have irrelevant or repeated words or phrases been deleted?
is word choice precise, vivid, varied?
are appropriate verb tenses used?
are there any contractions e.g. ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’? If so, rewrite in full ‘do not’ or cannot.
have you run a spell-check? Have you searched for homonyms (their/there)?
are prepositions and modifiers in the correct places?
Check documentation according to your particular discipline
ask your professor which style should be used for your paper, for example, typically:
humanities subjects use either MLA or the Chicago/Turabian (footnote) styles
social-science subjects use APA style
science subjects use CBE style
study a style manual for the appropriate system you will use
Academic Learning Centre 3
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF