Posted at 07.05.2017
The preparation of a written work is considered one of the best ways to learn in depth a topic, and for that reason it is an important part of academic activities within a university curriculum. A written work is a form of communication, and proper communication can only be achieved when we have something to communicate effectively with. However, this necessary condition is not sufficient by itself. Communicating with others also requires the application of certain skills concerning the organization of this knowledge and the management of some techniques of writing. These skills and techniques are not acquired or perfected spontaneously, but rather through systematic training with certain basic procedural guidelines. Following these guidelines and recommendations based on experience can present many good suggestions for students provided they can adapt them to the particularities of a specific work. The purpose is to draw attention to the aspects of the realization of a written work that must be carefully considered; surely, together with the motivation to write a paper addressing them properly allows for greater quality and speed of performing the task assigned.
There are four basic types of written works that are required within university curricula, namely:
Our concern for the development of the work should start at the same time with the allocation of research data, that is, from the moment you become responsible for their implementation, the process of defining an educational nature, and corresponding delivery. If it is possible to make a choice of a subject on which the work will focus, practical experience indicates that it is important to choose a topic that interests you or in which you can develop an interest. It is much easier to work on matters related to your intellectual concerns, rather than on matters that do not concern you, though very often we select our topics of written works relying on other reasons (e.g., chances of getting help from friends or relatives for the realization of the idea). After you have started the realization of a research project, it will be necessary to set a work schedule that allows you to have an accurate estimation of time required to perform this work. You won't always work in accordance with your motivation to write a paper and the time schedule no matter how much time you have been given for this paper. There is a general tendency to start late the task assigned. This happens because we draw a mental calendar assuming optimal conditions. In reality, the optimal conditions never occur, and you are likely to have to experience various difficulties and interruptions. We recommend that you would rather develop a realistic timetable that takes account of unforeseen complications according to the known law of Murphy (complications tend to occur when they should not occur for sure) and stick to that schedule.
After having planned your time, an immediate task is to clarify the issue on which you will work. It is highly important to avoid unnecessary superfluous results (for example, do not collect more data if you feel you have enough). An indicator that can help us in this task of narrowing the issue is the volume that the teacher attributed to the assignment; when you are instructed to provide a minimum of 10 pages and a maximum of 20 pages, it is expected that you would take this indication with all seriousness. However, it is not enough to reduce the amount of ambitions related to your work. It is also part of your task to clarify the issue, define a specific thematic focus; you need to establish the fundamental question and sort out those arguments or facts that you do not intend to collect. It should be noted that efforts to establish a realistic work schedule and specify the topic belong to the tasks that can be performed without having to concentrate on writing itself, and therefore can be made successfully, for example, while going to University. As these tasks are critical to the productive preparation of the work, they should be quickly done so you could advance further without having to put a lot of efforts in the initial phase.
If you are committed to the creation of an excellent research paper, it is assumed that you will need some kind of inquiry to collect background data on which you could base your document. The first thing to solve at this stage is the selection of sources of information to which you would turn. There are also unpublished but widely circulating documents that can provide useful data, mainly statistical information. In some cases, specialized newspapers and journals may provide some information, but generally contain information sources insufficient for academic research. Experts or specialists in the field make a very useful source, which often is not considered seriously, though; such people, who have a lot of motivation to write a paper can provide highly accurate information or indicate the precise reference that is needed, usually are happy to share the information they have about a topic they are passionate about, and this is, not unlikely, the most efficient way to save your time resources. These people even lend books or journals that contain information often not available in public libraries.
In a preliminary investigation, the other aspect to consider is a proper recording of the information derived from sources. It is recommended to record information using a flash card or a separate sheet for each idea, precisely indicating references to the source at the top of that sheet or card. A separate registration of each usable idea has two advantages. First, you can order such cards or sheets in various ways as you find appropriate to put in a queue those ones, which you definitely will want to include in the structure of a work that you are preparing – and this surely will improve your motivation to write a paper. Secondly, you can arrange the sources in an alphabetical order in order to compile a bibliography included at the end of the work. The process of writing down the ideas that are taken from one author and which are expected to be used in the text, can be performed, basically, in three different ways. First up, you can elicit a quote from the statement by an author and place it in quotation marks to distinguish it from our own ideas. Should you notice that there are unusual expressions or errors in the text by that author, which you do not want to use, you can also cite them verbatim adding the indication (sic!), pointing out that the quotation is textually full and the writer is aware of an error. Secondly, in case of being interested in only one part of a paragraph of an author, you can quote verbatim including only those sections that interest you and removing the remaining ones; however, it is necessary to place three dots (...) to indicate ellipses, missing sentences or paragraphs. Thirdly, when the quoted section seems unnecessarily long, you can compile the text using a paraphrase and incidentally mentioning the author whose thoughts have been summarized or interpreted. Coming right after registration records and research notes, recommendation notes should not be rejected a priori. Although the usefulness of idea implied by recommendations sometimes is not apparent, there is always a risk that this idea will be needed in the future and then you will need to return to the bibliographical sources for the exact reference, which can cause a great waste of time and worsen the motivation to write a paper.
If the document is not conceived as a mere accumulation of information, it is necessary to generate a real question, which can be answered with the help of these collected information. The important thing is to provide the real purpose of the work, and that directionality is achieved by focusing the work, first and foremost, towards attempts to answer the questions set. Perhaps, the most important thing to remember about this aspect of work organization, is the need to distinguish between what is a document written in order to inform the reader or illustrate the discussions on a topic, and a document that is written for purposes of winning an argument or making propaganda for a position. In the first case, it is important to present all perspectives of the debate without selecting the arguments supporting your particular point of view. The central question allows you to express your motivation to write a paper and make an emphasis on the basic premise of the work, which defines what you mean to convey by this work – simultaneously, you can provide support for your premise in this way. The basic premise is equivalent to the thesis around which the material you have is organized.