Presentation on theme: "Effective Writing Learning the skills to write quality papers."— Presentation transcript:
Effective Writing Learning the skills to write quality papers
Self-Assessment I understand that spoken English, “e-mail English”, and formal written English are very different from each other. I need to spend more than just one night working on a paper in order to earn a good grade. The more I revise my paper, the better it gets. I am careful to attribute material to the proper sources. I often include my opinions in a paper, but I make sure the reader knows they are my opinions, not some facts I looked up. The more I narrow a topic for a paper, the easier it is to come up with ideas.
The Three Steps to Effective Writing 1. Prewriting/rehearsing- Preparing to write by filling your mind with information from other sources. Start writing the day you receive the assignment, if only for 10-15 minutes. 2. Writing or drafting- A rough draft 3. Rewriting/revision- Polishing your work Give yourself enough time to complete all three steps- don’t try to cram all of them in one or two nights before the paper is due.
The Pre-Writing Phase When you try to begin a paper, does your mind go blank? Does it seem to take forever to begin writing? If so, implement these strategies to plan your writing ahead of time, and your writing will go much smoother! Begin by clarifying the directions given to you by your teacher. It is important to do this before beginning your writing. Does he/she want you to use APA or MLA style? Write in first or third person? Are you arguing a point or reviewing literature already established on a subject? Can you choose your own topic or is it already established? Clarify these questions first before writing anything, and talk to your teacher if you are unclear, to avoid a lot of unnecessary time and effort later on!
The Pre-Writing Phase Identify- the crucial aspects of your paper Who is your reader? Do the readers have only a basic knowledge of your topic or a more extensive, in- depth background? Consider the questions they may ask as reading and try to clarify these as you write. What is your purpose? To explain a concept to a group of readers? To identify future research needs? To argue your own opinion on a topic? What is the overall point you are trying to make? What message do you want your readers to walk away with after reading your paper? Make sure your topic is not too broad or too narrow. Fill in the blank “The purpose of this paper is to convince my readers that…” (but don’t use this line in your paper)
The Pre-Writing Phase Goal Setting What resources can you utilize to complete this paper? (library, SSC writing tutors, GALILEO, etc.) Generate some ideas Once you’ve gathered and read your resources, explain your paper to someone in three to four sentences. Then, make an outline/diagram of the main points in your paper, indicating which resources might be helpful in each point. Sentence vs. topic outlines Freewriting- Begin writing, without worrying about grammar mistakes or misspellings. Just try to get your main idea across, jotting down anything that comes to mind, then you can go back and concentrate on the details- don’t try to write and edit at the same time.
Sample Outline Purpose: Thesis: Audience: I. A. B. II. A. 1. 2. B. III. A. B C. IV. A. B.
The Pre-Writing Phase This should be the stage that you spend the most time on (85%). Choose a topic you are interested in. Know your time limitations, and start this phase well before the paper is actually due.
Writing/Drafting Follow the outline/diagram you developed during the pre-writing stage. The first draft should only comprise of 1% of your total time spent on the paper. Begin paying attention to the structure, coherency, and flow of your writing.
Writing/Drafting Make sure to identify which are your original ideas and which are the ideas of another person by citing. This is crucial to avoid plagiarism. Quote direct phrases taken from another person and give credit to the source. Information that you gathered from another source, even if paraphrased, must be cited at the end of each sentence. Use the proper citations- ex. MLA, APA, etc.
Making your writing clear Use topic sentences for each paragraph which shows how the topic to be covered in the paragraph is important to your overall thesis. They can be anywhere in your paragraph, but it may be clearer if you include this sentence early on. Use multiple examples to clarify your point in each paragraph. Each point should include only one main topic. Incorporate data when applicable. Aim for at least three to five sentences per paragraph and combine smaller paragraphs which are focusing on the same idea.
Making your writing clear Use clear transitions between paragraphs in order to help your paper flow smoothly. Some useful transitional statements include: besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, in addition, first (second, etc.),whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, in brief, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as a result, consequently
Making your writing clear Use language appropriate for your target audience Vary your sentence structure. “We like to go camping. We go to the mountains. We fish, hike, and sleep in a tent.” “Camping is an enjoyable hobby of ours, especially in the mountains. Some of our favorite activities while camping include fishing, hiking, and sleeping in a tent.”
Making your writing clear Avoid a lot of passive voice and instead aim for active voice. “The homework was completed by Joe.” “Joe completed the homework.” Combine short sentences. “One of the cameras was not packed very well. It was damaged during the move.” “The camera that was not packed very well was damaged during the move.” Make sure your entire writing is in the same tense.
Making your writing clear Using formal language is essential, but being clear and easy to understand is more important than using big words. Longer sentences are not necessarily better. You want to be able to state your facts/opinions as clearly and concisely as possible. Eliminate unnecessary words and phrases. Think short and sweet. Make sure you understand the words when using the thesaurus. Divide your paper into sections using headings, if necessary.
Revising This stage should take about 14% of your total time. Utilize as many people as possible to help you with this stage. It is sometimes difficult to see errors in your own writing. Read and re-read, clarify sections, add clearer transitions, omit unnecessary words.
Revising Don’t rely on spell check to show you misspelled words! Avoid the your/you’re error. Go back to the Identify stage of your pre-writing and make sure you answered all of these questions.
Finishing up You may start to feel tired of reading your own paper. For this reason, it’s important to allow yourself enough time before the due date to relax, step away from your paper, take a break, and come back to it between steps. Don’t skip the last step! You may need to complete the revising step multiple times. The more you revise your paper, the better it gets. When you think you are finished, read your paper out loud, ask another person to read it, or try to read it from the perspective of a person with no knowledge of the subject. Strive for an end result you are proud of!
The SSC- Try it! The Student Success Center provides writing tutors to assist you with writing and editing papers. You can walk-in or make an appointment: Call 333-7570 www.valdosta.edu/ssc We are open Sunday through Friday!
Thanks for coming! The next and final seminar will be April 22 and will contain information related to reading comprehension.
References Gardner, J.N., Jewler, A.J., & Barefoot, B.O. (2007). Your college experience: Strategies for success. Boston: Thomson Higher Education. Purdue’s OWL online writing lab: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/hando uts/general/index.html