It is an old-fashioned idea that you have to read all of the material there is before you sit down at the keyboard to write the entire assignment. You might have been able to write essays this way in secondary school, but that isn’t going to work with academic papers.
Writing as process
A good study technique for writing an academic paper involves working with the process itself and being conscious of the different phases in the work.
A procedural approach means you have to think that a development is happening, while you write and work with your academic paper. You have to pay attention to what you do and when you do it in the process.
Split the writing process into four phases:
- The concept phase, where you develop your thoughts and are creative. In this phase it can be very beneficial if you use tools like mind maps and fast, automatic writing. You will also formulate the research question in this phase, so that it can act as your guideline for the rest of the process.
- Organisational phase, where you organise your ideas and create the structure of your assignment, enabling you to communicate your interest and your research question.
- Writing phase, where you effectively sit down and write. Have your mind map or disposition next to you for the chapter at hand, so that you don’t just simply write your points out.
- Revision phase, where you revise, correct and refine the contents and the language of your paper, so that your paper is cohesive and literate.
The four phases do not necessarily have to be thought of as a linear progression to the final handing in of your paper – you can work with several of the phases on the same day.
More on writing papers
Writing papers is more than just the writing process. It is important that you choose an academic supervisor who can support you both in the subject content and in the process. You must know how to manage your information – both how to find it but also how to maintain a critical approach to your sources, so that you maintain academic integrity.
Library web tutorials about writing papers
The library’s online guides offer excellent help about information searches and writing papers. For example, you can use Scribo. Scribo is an interactive guide that systematically guides you through your deliberations, from concept to formulating your question.