Writing academic papers seems like a daunting task when students have to complete it for the first time, and it takes a long time until they get used to it. The first ten works of different sizes and formats were exhausting for me because I had to think all the time about the structure, citation, and content of the paper. However, writing a paper for college today is not such a difficult task for me, since I have mastered the strategies for composing various works and remembered the details that need to be taken into account.
I believe that the best strategy for writing academic papers is the simplest and most obvious. This strategy always consists of such stages as reading sources, highlighting the main points, writing a paper, editing, and proofreading, as well as formatting the document. Such a system is universal for any purpose; however, depending on its size and depth of analysis, the process may have more steps.
For this reason, I also add stages of creating an outline and draft for papers that require a lot of writing and often divide them into several parts. In addition, usually, voluminous work involves the study of many sources of information and questions, so I typically devote more time to reading and “filling the head” with knowledge, which later turns into text. However, as Samuels and Garbati (2019) note, the main thing in writing an academic paper is focusing on the most important points, since the presentation of all the details makes the essay an encyclopedia. Consequently, I need an outline, in which I note the main points requiring explanation, and the draft in which they are presented. Subsequent re-reading of the text helps to remove the excess or add the missing details. Thus, even paper with many pages becomes easier to write if I structure the work correctly.
A discussion post usually differs from a paper because I express my subjective opinion even if it is confirmed by citations from sources. Although I also state my opinion in papers, it should be as objective as possible and substantiated on verified facts. In addition, the discussion post implies a response from readers; therefore, I can see the opinions of other students on the same issue. In the paper that I write for college, I can only get the feedback of the teacher, which will relate to the quality of my work and arguments. At the same time, the response to the discussion post of a classmate also differs from writing my own. I am critically reflecting not only on the discussion issue itself but also on the author’s post. In other words, I can argue with the ideas of a classmate, supplement it, or agree but point out insufficient argumentation. This kind of work involves several types of critical thinking at once, which I find useful and exciting.
In conclusion, I want to note that writing academic papers requires diligence and constant practice since any task in college is aimed at analyzing and deepening knowledge. Different types of assignments require that students take different approaches, some of which are quite easy, while others force me to sit in front of books at night. However, I already feel improvements in my writing, and I hope that the training will help me deal with academic papers even more efficiently.
Samuels, B., & Garbati J. (2018). Mastering Academic Writing. SAGE.