So it’s that time again. Your academic paper has been assigned, you’ve gotten all of the partying out of your system (hopefully), and you’re ready to get started on your project. But where do you begin? Writing an academic paper, especially a lengthly one, can seem like an impossible undertaking, but it’s actually not much more complicated than those five paragraph essays you were assigned in grade school. The trick is knowing the right ways to get started. If you’re stuck and your creative juices are running on empty, check out these simple tips for starting your academic paper:
The first thing you’ll need to do is formalize some of your ideas by writing them down. Rather than worrying about writing proper, eloquent, well-reasoned sentences at first, simply write down anything you can think of related to your topic, in any order in which it comes to you. The simple act of converting your thoughts to paper will help you understand your argument and topic better. This practice is a well-trusted and worthy endeavor, even if don’t end up using what you’ve initially written.
If you have a pretty good idea about what your paper should look like and where everything should appear once it’s completed, your best bet is to begin outlining your paper. Start with a simple story skeleton. Begin with the introduction and then simply jot down each of your arguments in chronological order. Start as broadly as possible – that will allow you to dive deeper into each separate argument and continue the skeleton process until all of your ideas have been properly formalized. Once you’ve completely outlined your paper with a detailed skeleton, writing it is simply a matter if filling in the blanks!
One can never do enough research before beginning their academic paper. The real trick however, is to organize your research and formalize your findings before ever putting pen to paper. For example, after you’ve finished outlining your paper with a story skeleton, you should decide what specific research examples/references should go where. That will help you save time during the actual writing process and prevent you from becoming distracted or sidetracked as you write.
With these simple tips, you should find that starting your academic paper is easier than you originally thought it was! Be sure to allot plenty of time for writing your paper and conducting research, follow these tips, and get started!