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Writing has, in the past, been a difficult task for me to the point of hating it. However, my efforts to learn it, especially in the quarter, have born so much fruit that I am now confident that I can write excellent academic papers. The attitude towards writing academic papers has also changed, and thus I now enjoy writing them as much as I enjoy classroom sessions. This has not come easily though. I have passed through a myriad of problems before becoming adept at writing.
First of all, as I started this course, I was clueless about how I can go about writing an academic paper. I thought that all one needed to do was to answer the question asked to the best of his/her knowledge. I know better now. I also had a problem with the organization of my papers.
Most of my papers lacked flow and objectivity, but with time I have learned how to develop a structurally organized paper. Also among the problems I faced in writing is the fact that I was unable to manage sources well. Most of the time, I would write plagiarized papers, or I would cite sources inappropriately. I have now perfected the art of managing sources, and I hardly ever plagiarize. This paper explores the main things I have learned about writing which make me confidently say that I write good academic papers.
Among the most important things I have learned about writing in this quarter, and which make makes me say confidently that I write good academic papers, is the development of the relevant and credible argument in a paper. I have learned to study the question asked in the assignment critically to identify all the required points. This makes me be focused on all the activities I undertake during the writing process. After understanding the question, the next thing I do is to conduct extensive research in journals, websites, books, and even in magazines.
This makes me understand the required subject better, and gather strong points that I can use in my paper. Most of the time, especially if the paper should have numerous pages, I write those points down so that I can refer to them during the writing process. I ensure that the points are as brief as they can be in my notebook to avoid plagiarism during writing. I also write down quotes that can be incorporated into the paper. For the quotes, I ensure that they are exactly as they are in the source.
I then transfer these points and quotes to my paper by explaining the points using my own words and writing the quotes exactly as they are with appropriate citations. This kind of research has enabled me to build strong arguments that make my papers excellent.
Another important thing I have learned about writing academic papers is the organization of the paper itself. I have learned to always start with an introduction, whether it is required or not, that serves to make anyone reading my paper know what the paper is all about. In the Introduction, I discuss relevant issues about the topic, while avoiding unnecessary definitions. I then go ahead and state the thesis statement that summarizes the whole paper in one sentence at the end of the introduction.
The next thing I do is to form body paragraphs with my aforementioned points. Each of the points gathered during research forms a body paragraph with a topic sentence that summarizes the whole paragraph. This is meant to make any person reading my paper able to browse through the paper by reading the topic sentences alone. After discussing my points in my topic sentences, the next thing I do is to summarize the whole paper in a brief conclusion. This is meant to make the reader appreciate my work by leaving him/her with a thought-provoking statement, suggestion, or question.
Management of Sources
Also among the skills, I have learned in this quarter is the management of my sources. I ensure that each of the sources, from which I have derived my sources, is listed at the end of the paper in a reference list, works cited, or a bibliography list. I have found time to go through the requirements for several citation styles, and thus forming this list has not been a problem for me. For instance, I have mastered the MLA, APA, Harvard, and Chicago citation styles.
In any academic paper I write, I ensure that the requirements for the citation style I am using are strictly adhered to. This includes ensuring that the references are listed alphabetically. I have also mastered the use of parenthetical in-text citations and footnotes. Of notable importance is the fact that I insert parenthetical in-text citations in every paraphrase, and after every direct quote to acknowledge the source of the material.
I also ensure that I do not forget to insert citations for some sources because this may result in a mismatch. Thus for every reference listed at the end of the paper, I always have in-text citations. Although I have had some problems with footnotes, I am sure that with time I will be able to master them too. With this, I am confident about passing the class.