How to write a paper for class

Gathering and assembling research; outlining; writing. Choose a topic that interests you, one you can handle. Make certain that your idea is not too broad or too narrow for the paper’s assigned length. Discuss its probable length, thesis (central statement), and proof of the thesis with your teacher. Several weeks before the paper is due, check libraries and bookstores on the availability of references. Consider other sources that might be helpful.

Gathering and organizing research Assemble as many pertinent and recent sources as you can. List each one on a 3 x 5 card: for books, list the author, title, publisher, and date and place of publication; for periodicals and newspapers, additionally list the volume and page numbers. Alphabetize the cards by author; number each card consecutively.

Take notes on 5 x 8 cards. Give each subdivision a heading; clip together all information relevant to that heading. Number the cards. Organize your notes in a logical sequence.


In your introduction, you’ll present your main thesis succinctly, stressing its importance and relevance. Briefly outline the background that supports your point of view.

In the main body of the paper, develop your thesis. Present your most important information and strongest arguments with as much backup data as you can muster. Close by su mmarizing, dramatically stressing the broad significance of your thesis.

Writing An outline makes the writing easier. Avoid plagiarizing: set material taken directly from a source in quotes. Footnote all quotations and any paraphrase of a fact from a single source.

Complete your first draft; then edit it. As you prepare a second draft, check your transitional sentences: does each point follow from the one before? Be critical; strengthen weak areas. Check spelling, punctuation, and grammar. End with an alphabetically arranged bibliography.