The following pages present guidelines for writing many types of papers. Here is a list of things to think about before beginning any writing project.
|1. Goal and Purpose:||What is the goal of this assignment? What is the instructor looking for? What am I supposed to demonstrate by completing this paper?|
|2. Method of Preparation:||How should I prepare for writing the assignment? (For example, should I consult five sources, choose three points of comparison, read applicable case studies and so on?)|
|3. Form:||What form should the paper take? (For example, should it be an essay, an interview report, a research paper?) How long should it be?|
|4. Content:||What content should the paper cover? How many sections should the paper be divided into? What content should be in each section? How long should each section be? In what order should the sections be arranged?|
|5. Evaluation:||What criteria will the instructor use in evaluation? Where in the paper is each criterion met?|
|6. Pitfalls:||What might go wrong while I'm writing? How can I avoid possible mistakes?|
Don't hesitate to ask your instructor to clarify any of these points. You'll save yourself time and anxiety if you ask appropriate questions before you begin writing. A call or a visit to the Metropolitan State University Writing Center could help you get started, too.
Note that we have not included guidelines for research papers. The reason for this apparent omission is that research papers are more than scrapbooks of information. One should have a purpose for doing research beyond collecting data about a topic. Is your purpose to compare or contrast two or more concepts? To inform your reader? To analyze or interpret a theory, situation or problem? To summarize and evaluate current research about a topic? Once you have decided what your purpose is for doing research, you can then refer to a specific assignment guideline for directions. Additional information about how to tie your ideas together and how to document your research can be found in Online Writing Resources. Metropolitan State University's librarians can be a tremendous help in finding reliable, scholarly sources.