1. Develop a abstract (an idea you want to write about) This will be on a page by itself (250) words; prove it in the body of your paper by providing all the supporting evidence you can obtain; and draw your conclusions at the end. (This is the most important rule for writing anything, not just research papers.)
2. Write unified paragraphs with topic sentences, support, and transition to the next paragraph. Avoid one-sentence paragraphs!
3. Unless you are an experienced writer, choose chronological instead of topical organization for your paper and stick to it. By following the flow of time and providing dates often, you are helping yourself write the paper and your reader follow your ideas.
4. Do not make references to yourself in the paper. You are not the subject of your paper but its author. The opinions and conclusions are presumed to be yours unless they are properly cited (if they are not yours and not cited it is plagiarism) therefore it is neither necessary nor appropriate to precede them with phrases such as “I believe” or “In my opinion.”
5. Avoid making the assumption that the reader knows anything about your topic. As you write, do so for your classmates or someone entirely ignorant about your subject but perfectly capable of understanding it if it is described and explained well. This helps you keep your information clear, concise, and logical.
6. Attempt to be objective about your subject and information. Strive to present a balanced account. Do not make your subject into a hero or heroine or present only one perspective about an event. Examine sources that present a variety of perspectives and draw your own conclusions.
7. Proof your paper carefully to correct organizational, grammatical, syntactical, spelling and/or typing errors before submitting it to the instructor. A large number of errors will lower your grade.
8. Follow the approved style manual for rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation, citations, and references format.
9. In particular, watch for the following common errors: an ” ‘s” for the plural rather than the possessive form (or an “s” without an apostrophe for the possessive); the difference between “its” and “it’s”, “there” and “their”, “woman” and “women”; references to people as “that” instead of “who”.
10. Avoid colloquialisms such as “a lot”, “kind of”, “sort of”, “like”, “got”, and all contractions of verbs (such as “wasn’t”, “isn’t”, “doesn’t”, “haven’t”).
11. Do not use technical language or “jargon” in your paper. Use simple easily understood language that will not confuse your readers. If you are uncertain about how to use a particular word or phrase, find a substitute.
12. Avoid plagiarizing. Use notes (citations of your sources) and quotation marks appropriately.
13. Use MLA or APA style of writing