Archive for category 3. Preparation

Who Says?

When preparing to write a paper can seem really scary at first and very confusing. When I first started writing in college I never realized that there were techniques that I could use that would make forming an argument or thesis for my paper so much easier by identifying them in my research part of forming my paper.

The technique I like is looking for the They Say argument and incorporating it into your own argument. You can easily identify the They Say argument in your evidence or reading that you have picked out to help you write your paper. Once you have identified the They Say argument you can build an argument off of this argument. It will help you choose a side of the argument and let you gather evidence that will help you persuade your audience to you point of view but without coming off as biased. Giving off a biased vibe in a paper is an immediate turn off to your readers and makes your paper seem not credible. This makes for a poorly written paper and unfortunately a bad grade, but the They Say argument could really help with this dilemma that you may have.

You can build an opinion off of the They Say argument and you can also build a very strong argument from it as well. First you have to pick a side. Are you for the They Say argument or against it? Once you have picked a side you can now start building off of the They Say argument. You can use what the They Say for your argument in agreement and it will strengthen your argument by accrediting your argument with credible evidence and quotations from credible authors. Or you can use the evidence or quotations against your argument and provide contradicting evidence to show that your point on the subject is credible and it will help persuade your audience more easily.

Providing the They Say argument will also help you persuade your audience more easily because by providing the other side of the argument it makes your paper seem less biased and more rounded. It will help your readers make up their own minds on the subject and allow them to form their own opinions on the matter. The They Say argument allows the audience to see the other side of the argument. Providing these will strength your argument with the audience and in turn will strengthen your writing and your paper.

The They Say argument will help you in other parts of your paper such as: research, organizing thoughts, and the structure of your paper. They Says are very useful in conquering college writing. It will lessen the fears you have that you have when it comes to college writing. If you use the They Say tactic in tackling your writing in college it will help you formulate a well rounded, informative, effective, and very persuasive argument paper.

This is a technique that I use and is extremely helpful. It makes writing a paper so much easier and will help boost your grades on those pesky college papers that students fear during the school year.

Defeating Your Naysayers

A huge part of conquering your research is the proper use of your naysayers. A naysayer would be considered someone skeptical of your argument that may have some disagreement to what you are presenting. For example, if you are arguing why steroids should be allowed in professional sports, an obvious naysayer would be anyone disagreeing with you, saying that you might be wrong and steroids should stay outlawed.

Properly using what other people might say against your argument can actually enhance your own argument in a great way, almost like the concept of fighting fire with fire. Incorporating naysayers into your argument can not only add credibility to your argument, but also prove to the readers that you are not blind to the other side of the argument.Many writers will argue for their side without ever addressing any points that the other side of the argument could make, which gives critics endless opportunities to rip apart the writers’ arguments and question the extent of their knowledge. By properly addressing the naysayers of your own argument, you are disarming the critics before they get a chance to use their arguments against what you have written. When doing this, you can use what they might say in forming and writing your own ideas that can convince the reader why any of these arguments against your own may not be quite right.

At the time that you are adding naysayers into your paper, don’t simply just knock them to the ground without much thought, try to keep in mind that just because they may disagree with you, it does not make them entirely wrong. While presenting your naysayer, try using some positive reinforcement to what they are saying and give them some benefit of the doubt, then use what research you have gathered to persuade your reader as to why you are correct, opposed to the naysayers. You are not necessarily trying to prove why those who argue against you might be simple minded or ill informed, but trying to persuade a specific reader into believing your own argument. When addressing a naysayer’s argument, you have to remember to follow that by answering with your own argument. If you try to pile all of your naysayers into one section without actually providing anything against them, you will actually just be hurting yourself and making your argument harder to believe.

Naysayers should be brought up one at a time, each one dealt with properly. You have to make sure that if you are going to bring up a naysayer, you can properly answer and respond, without simply stating something along the lines of, “I think they are incorrect.” By simply asserting that they may be wrong without actually explaining why you feel that way, you are setting yourself up for failure. Properly placing naysayers into your work can have a huge impact on how strong your arguments are. The placement of these naysayers and properly arguing against them in a persuasive manner can be exactly what you need to fuel your college papers.

Follow Your Train of Thought, Don’t Lose Any Passengers!

When writing in the university setting, one important thing must be remembered: your ideas.  Any random thought or blurb of a factoid found in your research could build a base for an impeccable paper. Professors typically don’t simply want a regurgitation of facts from a text, they want your interpretations or opinions, any connection that you make while you research should be included in your paper. Keeping track of your thoughts and writing them down or storing them in some fashion can create a repertoire of themes to fill space in your paper.

College writing requires far more planning than high school writing, there’s no more room for papers written on the way to class or the morning of, a professor can sniff out a scrapped together paper in an instant. A lot of classes will place emphasis on planning your ideas and arguments, and even if you decide to procrastinate on the actual writing you can really boost yourself by brainstorming and putting those ideas on sticky notes or sending yourself a text message that briefly outlines your ideas. Just carry around a pad of sticky notes in your binder, as ideas come they can be written down and later stuck to a dorm wall as a story board. Then when it comes time to write and that train of thought gets lost, all that is necessary is to grab a sticky note from the wall and voila, a new paragraph can be constructed . Sending texts of brilliant random thoughts is the modern generation’s answer to the planning conundrum. In an age where cell phones are rarely more than an arm’s length away, what better way to keep track of a sudden stroke of genius whilst sitting in the dining hall or working out on a treadmill?

During the research process, or even just sitting in class, interesting interpretations and questions come to mind. If these phrases are written down they can later feed into a paper, which can also impress a professor by proving that their students actually do pay attention during lecture.  Often times when a big paper is impending you begin to notice how many things in everyday life can actually relate to the topic that you have to spend several pages on. As you begin to relate the material to your topic, write down the reason that the thought came to mind as well as the thought itself.

Keeping track of thoughts along the way will really help you the night before that paper is due and you realize that you’re a page short on material or the week before you need to turn in a draft  and you have no idea how to narrow down your topic. Rather than pull a piece of fluff out of thin air; you can pull a genuinely intelligent thought of your own off of the wall or out of your phone. All in all, writing in college is about maintaining your train of thought and ensuring that you make it to the destination without losing any thoughts/passengers along the way.


At Longwood University, every student must take a basic writing class to help prepare them for writing at colligate level. Colligate writing is different from high school because students must elaborate on their topic instead of just scratching the surface of the topic. when writing in depth on a topic it requires that the writer is knowledgeable in the topic and that they plan out their paper.  One of the easiest and most effective way to plan out a paper is to create an outline because it helps save time on completing the assignment, help the writer gather their thoughts and have a more organized paper.

In order to be successful in college, students must learn how to manage time and how to get assignments done as soon as possible. One way to eliminate time on writing is having a well thought out outline. If writers have all of their ideas already on paper then when it comes to write the paper they just have to form the ideas on the outline into sentences and put in a few quotes and then they are done with the assignment. Another way that outlines save writers time is that establishes all of the major and minor points that they will elaborate on. This prevents writers from getting stuck halfway through a paper.

Gathering your thoughts before you write is important at any level in academia, but especially at the college level because of the multiple page paper assignments. In high school students can get away with not planning out an assignment since the format of their assignments is always the same, a five paragraph paper with a introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. Rarely do high school students get a chance to experience different formats before attending college.   However at Longwood most papers are between five to ten pages.  When writers outline they have to decide what major and minor points they want to go in depth on. When writers do this in an outline they can figure out what kind of sources and what kind of quotes they want in their paper.

Outlining helps writers organize their thoughts in a way that makes sense. This seems easy, but in long papers where writers can have six or seven major points it can be hard. If a writer fails to properly organize their thoughts, no matter how good of points they make, the reader could get confused which will cause the writer to receive a poor grade. “If we can impose some kind of order on information, the information is easier to talk about, easier to understand, and easier to remember. If you choose a clear, recognizable pattern (for a single paragraph, and also for a whole essay), you find it easier to select details and choose transitions, and you also help your reader discover relationships that connect things, that make things seem more coherent.” (Friedlander, J. (n.d.). Principles of organization. Retrieved from Friedlander states that having a organized paper will make it easier for the writer to choose details and transitions when writing and it will help the reader to connect all of the major points that the writer states and hopefully be persuaded with the argument that the writer presents.

Incoming freshman are scared of writing in college because of the lengthy assignments and the difficulty of elaborating in-depth. But if writers take the time to create a outline they will save time on the overall assignment, have their thoughts gathered and have a more organized paper when they finish.

Read a Little, Write a lot

Finally!  You have graduated high school, enjoyed a long summer in preparation to start your freshman year of college.  The suspense has been building; you have taken the tours, met your roommate, bought supplies and shown where the weekend activities take place.  This is the fun stuff, but we’re not in Kansas anymore.  You will attend a variety of classes teaching you the basics of higher education, and unlike high school, completing an assignment the morning before class just won’t cut it anymore.

Each of you will be required to take a writing class in your first year, a very different writing class than what you’ve experienced in high school.  Most papers written in high school only allow a student to research a topic and write on what the facts say.  Who actually talks like that in real life?  Think about the morning after the Super Bowl, or a Presidential Election, this is usually the first thing that is talked about when you see your peers.  Imagine the conversation, sure, you debate the quarterback’s stats, and who deserves MVP, or the margin of victory and the political party that new president represents, but is that all you say?  Anyone can quote the game scores or the margin of victory, those are the cold hard facts, but using those facts to make a strong argument on why you believe in Tom Brady, or President Obama, is a key to not only having a productive conversation, but crafting a well written college paper.

In every conversation, in everyday of our life, we use the information we have learned to support our opinions, this is a mirror of college writing.  Having the ability to relate an assignment to something you have experienced in your own life or a current event in the news, makes your writing personal.  This is where the research phase of your paper is so important.  Learning everything you can about what you’re writing helps you the writer connect to the subject.  Once students completely understand the topic that is being written, the words tend to flow in the page. All of the sudden the 4-5 page paper seems like too little space to condense all of your facts and views.

This type of writing cannot be achieved in a few hours, your professors tend to allow more than enough time for a writing assignment to be completed.  A good method I have discovered, is to use your research sources one at a time, read the source three to four times and walk away. Continue to think throughout the day how what was read is similar to something you see or hear in your other classes, the news, or general conversation. Do this with each source that is required, a day at a time. Now, go back and write, start by explaining the key points in your source showing similarities with real world happenings to keep the reader interested.  The last thing you want to write is an encyclopedia, containing all facts. BORING!

Not everything you write you will immediately be interested in, using this method, taking the research a little at a time spreads the workload, and keeps it less overwhelming.  You will be surprised how often your mind begins to wander, relating things you are familiar with to the seemingly boring academic journal that provides your research information.  Analyzing your sources a few times over before writing is similar to a watching an intense crime drama, usually the second or third time it is watched, the more details are pulled out of it.  I wish you luck, put in the time before, and the writing will come easier.

Practice Post

I’m very happy to be here at Longwood University.


Practice Post

I’m very happy to be here at Longwood University.


Practice Post

I’m very happy to be here at Longwood University.


Practice Post

I’m very happy to be here at Longwood University.