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6 TIPS TO TAMING THE RESEARCH PAPER BEAST

November 26, 2009 Leave a comment

This post is obviously not for everyone. If I knew I would never have to write another research paper, I would not bother reading beyond this period. If you, however, are one of the unlucky ones who still must occasionally write research papers, perhaps these tips will help you tame the research paper beast. I’ve discovered these strategies to help me immensely. See what you think:

  1. GET ALL SOURCES. First thing I do is print off all full-text articles online. Then I make copies of all the other journal articles. Then I find and locate all the books and encyclopedia articles and copy the sections of each that I need, including cover pages (this way I don’t have to carry all my books around and can write on the copied pages). I then put all my sources in alphabetical order.
  2. TYPE BIBLIOGRAPHY. Once all my sources are in alphabetical order, I type my bibliography. I like the sense of accomplishment I feel this early in the process. Plus, already having the bibliography done comes in really handy when you start writing your paper.
  3. READ EVERYTHING. Next I familiarize myself with all my materials, reading through my stack of sources, making marks in the page, jotting down selective notes on a legal pad, and constantly thinking about the best way to organize my paper.
  4. REVIEW EVERYTHING. Once I’ve pretty much read through all my material, I flip through all the pages of material again, paying special attention to my marks and highlights. It’s at this point that I write down the source and page number of important info on the appropriate page in my legal pad/ appropriate section of my outline.
  5. WRITE THE PAPER. At this point, the tedious work is done and the writing process is much more enjoyable (as enjoyable as a research paper can be, obviously). Since I have notes on each section of my paper and since my materials are still in alphabetical order, finding the right quote or support for a point is a piece of cake and writing time is dramatically reduced.
  6. PROOF THE PAPER. Once the rough draft is complete, I proof the paper a couple of times and have some trusted friends do the same. I make my final changes, hand in my paper, and sigh a big sigh of relief, having successfully tamed the research paper beast.
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AN ENTERTAINING EDUCATION

November 23, 2009 1 comment

Dear Miss Hope’s 5th grade class,

My sister has told me that you guys are super creative, technologically savvy, and very intelligent. It sounds like your education is off to a great start and you’ve got a bright future ahead of you. My sister has also told me that, among other things, you are studying letter writing and are about to read Bridge to Terabithia. Sounds like fun! Is she a great teacher, or what? (Don’t say “or what”)

So here’s the deal with this post. I just wanted to to tell you that my sister is really proud of you and to encourage you to view reading as a great adventure. For a long time I thought of reading as a chore, and as a result missed out on a lot of enjoyment that’s to be found in books. It wasn’t until I was much older than you are that I discovered what it meant to get lost in a book. Some of you, I’m sure, have already made this discovery; you know what it’s like for the words on the page of a good book to introduce you to interesting people, transport you to far away lands, and take you on exciting adventures.

Yep, reading will most certainly entertain you. And, beyond that, it will educate you. The more you read the more you’ll know, the clearer you’ll think, and the better you’ll write. Reading will open doors in your mind and to your future.

So what do you say you immerse yourselves in Bridge to Terabithia, continue to acquire a taste for a good read, and discover what an entertaining education is all about? Believe me, you’ll be glad you did! And so will my sister.

Happy reading,
Daniel

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
— Groucho Marx

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