Once you understand your assignment and have begun conducting research, you will be ready to start drafting your paper. Writing your research paper in a series of drafts will help you to refine your argument and to develop your voice confidently. Because it can be overwhelming to orchestrate your voice with other writers' voices, drafting will offer you the opportunity to integrate your ideas with other people's ideas smoothly.
When you begin drafting your paper, your primary focus should be on what it is that you want to say. (Find out how we can help you with invention.) Rather than composing your research and then adding your voice, begin with what you want to say and that will help you imagine why you need your research. Then you will be able to use your research as support for your paper, not as the basis for your paper.
In a one-on-one consultation, you and a consultant will discuss your draft, focusing on how you develop your thesis and how you incorporate your research. By talking through these ideas, you will get a better sense of the following:
- Have I used my research effectively?
- Is my paper organized?
- How can I make sure that the reader understands my point?
- Is my paper focused?
- Can the reader identify my thesis?
- Have I developed my voice?
After you have written a draft of your paper that incorporates research and develops a thesis, you will want to begin revising your paper. Revision takes place at many levels: rethinking your ideas, reshaping your ideas, and editing/proofreading your ideas. The Writing Center can help you with each of these processes.
Working with a consultant will provide you with a reader who can offer valuable feedback on the following elements:
- Do I contradict my argument?
- Does the structure of my paper clearly convey my point?
- Is there word usage that isn't clear?
- Does each paragraph relate to the purpose of this paper?
When you visit the University Writing Center for help with either drafting or revising, schedule an appointment (262-3144) and bring your assignment sheet, any pre-writing/draft(s) you have written, and any specific questions you have about revising your paper. It is also important to inform your consultant of the type of revising you wish to do.