Strategies for preparing written assignment
Now that you know how to gather information, it is time to start your first written paper. There are basically five stages in preparing a written paper:
Analyse the topic
Look at the topic and analyse what information is required. Write whatever ideas that come to mind. Alternatively, you can create a mind map. When analysing your topic, you will also want to consider the type, quantity, and format of information you will need.
Planning the outline
Before proceeding to write the entire paper, it would be wise to create an outline first. An outline is an organised list of all the information or ideas you managed to gather on the topic. Your outline will depend on the type of written assignment you are required to prepare. Remember too that a detailed and carefully prepared outline can go a long way in contributing towards a well-written paper.
Preparing a draft
Once you are satisfied with your outline, you can write your first draft. Write following the outline you created. Once a rough draft is ready, you can improve on it. Here are some tips on writing the various sections:
The introduction basically tells your readers what you are going to write about and why (your justifications). How much you write as introduction depends on the length of your entire paper. The two most important aspects of the introduction are the hook and the thesis statement. A hook helps to grab the reader’s attention.
The other important aspect of the introduction is the thesis statement. The thesis statement conveys the writer’s opinion, perspective or approach to the topic. Unlike the hook, thesis statements must be in complete sentences. They identify the audience for whom the paper was intended. More importantly, they must highlight the main points of the paper.
The body of your paper contains the information that you want to convey. It is the most significant part of writing. This is where your:
- ideas/arguments are laid out.
- examples and evidence are provided to back-up ideas/arguments.
- justifications for the ideas/arguments provided in the introduction are elaborated.
The body of the written assignment is also where you can display the strength of your critical thinking abilities, i.e., in evaluating or judging the examples and evidences put forward. The categories or headings you listed in the outline you created earlier should help you get started with the body.
Your conclusion is basically a summary of your main ideas (in the same order).This is where you recap what you have presented in the body. Do not bring up any new points in the conclusion but make sure you have a final comment on the topic. Start the conclusion with a signal such as ‘In conclusion’ or ‘As a conclusion’.
Revising the draft
Now that you have completed your draft, it is time to revise it. Go through the process as many times as you need to improve on it. Check the sentences within the paragraphs. See that they are complete sentences and not fragments or incomplete sentences. Turn on the grammar and spell checker in your word processor as you are typing your assignment. But do take note that it has its limitations and cannot detect all spelling errors. Make sure that you have used appropriate transitional words like therefore, consequently, in addition, similarly, furthermore, however, then, after that, for example, forinstance, etc.