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Writing Center: Writing the Paper


The introduction of your paper is very important.  It is giving the reader a first impression of what you are writing about and why they should continue reading it.  One of the biggest tools writers use in their introductions is a "hook".  Using something like a provocative question, a good quote, or a really bold statement will interest the audience in wanting to read more.  Below are some examples of ways to spice up your introduction.

No Hook:  Alice Paul and the National Women's Party were largely responsible for urging Congress to pass the Nineteenth Amendment allowing women to vote.  This group of women used protests and picketing to keep the issue of women's suffrage relevant, and were imprisoned for it.

Using a Question: What would you for do liberty? Would you go to jail, starve, become a public disgrace, just for liberty?  That is exactly what a group of women did in the year 1917.  

Using a Bold Statement: One of the most influential suffragists of the twentieth century is a woman you have probably never heard of.  Alice Paul and the National Women's Party picketed and were eventually imprisioned for urging the President and Congress to pass the Ninteenth Amendment allowing women to vote.

Using a Quote: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once wrote "Well-behaved women seldom make history."  When it comes to Alice Paul, Ulrich couldn't have been more right.  As a suffragist in the early part of the twentieth century, Alice Paul spearheaded the grassroots suffrage movement to urge Congress to pass the Ninteenth Amendment allowing women the right to vote.  

Academic Writing

Academic writing is different from other writing styles, such as the creative style for fiction or the personal style of essays and memoirs.  Academics require a very straight-forward, no nonsense approach to writing.  Listed below are some things to keep in mind when writing your research paper.

Clarity- Your writing and thoughts should be clear to the reader, so try using small sentences to convey your meaning.

Smaller Sentences- When you begin writing, try to avoid repeating yourself or using too many adjectives. 

Flow- Try to keep one paragraph focused on one idea. This way, you can break down your subject to smaller parts that are easier to explain. 


Conclusions are just as important as introductions.  Having a well-writtten introduction will leave the reader with a lasting impression, and you want it to be a good one.  There are several types of conclusions you can use.  It is important to pick the one that fits well with the theme and tone of your paper.  Author John M. Lannon discusses several different conclusion ideas in his book The Writing Process, some of which are listed below.

Using a summary: A small review of the paper's main points that you want the reader to remember.

Using a Question: End with a question that will prompt the reader to keep thinking about the purpose of the paper.

Using a Quote: Using a good quote at the end will leave the reader with a lasting impression.



Writing a paper is only half of the battle.  The other half is revising it until it is right.  Proofreading is one of the best ways to determine what needs to be fixed or clarified in your paper.  The most common proofreading practice is to read the paper yourself or have another person do it.  Below are some other tools that may help you catch those hidden errors.

Read Out Loud- If you go into a quiet room and read the paper out loud, it will help you catch any typos and give you an idea if the paper is flowing properly

Read Backwards- Start reading each sentence in your paper starting with the last sentence and working your way backward.  This is another great way to find typos and grammar problems.

Take a Break- After you finish writing the paper, don't proofread it right away.  Come back to it after a day or two so you can proof it with fresh eyes and mind.

Print It- Make sure when you are ready to proof, print the paper out to allow you to make marks and notes while you read it.

Do It Again- It can be tiresome, but proofread your paper two or three times so that you can catch whatever problems you might have missed the first time.  Make sure to take breaks between proofreading sessions!