Outlines may seem like extra work, but they can make paper writing easier and more efficient. The trick is determing when and how to use outlines so that they serve as a tool to help rather than hinder you. If you like outlines, you might create an outline before writing and then update it throughout the writing process.
Outlines can be used other ways. For example, you might use an outline to transition from research to writing to help you figure out where you're going. You could also use an outline after writing a draft to ensure that every aspect of your paper supports your thesis statement and that the paper's organization is coherent.
To incorporate source material effectively into your writing, you need to know how to use signal phrases (attributive tags), when to use quotation marks, and how to paraphrase correctly.
Sample signal phrase: "Willie the Wildcat, mascot of Kansas State University, states that . . ."
Sample quotation (using APA): Part of the mission of K-State is to "develop a highly skilled and educated citizenry" (Kansas State University, 2013, Mission Statement section, para. 5).
Sample paraphrase (using APA): K-State seeks to create an environment that encourages intellectual growth, academic freedom, and individual empowerment and prepares students to contribute to society after they leave the university (Kansas State University, 2013).
Use these links to help you cite your sources in your paper and on the references page.
Sometimes, writing the introduction or the conclusion of your paper can be a challenge. The following tips may help you with the introduction:
Here are some tips to help with the conclusion:
Sometimes, while writing a draft, you may decide to change the direction of your paper. This is OK, but it requires some follow up work. If your paper takes shape in an unexpected way, ask yourself these questions:
If you answer no to any questions, be sure to adjust the problem areas as needed to keep everything on track.