Academic writing is a very different form than the spoken English language. Academic writing typically uses longer, more complicated wordage. The writer must convey a specific point and purpose for the paper and the paper in its entirety must prove this point. Facts and figures must be precise and everything must be backed up by credible sources (both in the body of the paper and the bibliography page).
The first step in producing a quality paper is to keep track of your references as you go. It’s much easier if you include references while you’re working on the paper than if you attempt to go back later and add them in. It’s also important to quote properly. There are times within essay papers where you are rewriting a concept or point and you must reference where the information came from, but if you are quoting directly, that quote needs to be in quotes and referenced.
Always save your work periodically when working on a paper. It’s amazing how much information you can type in just a few seconds and if something happens to your computer or you’re suddenly interrupted in the middle of work, your work could be lost. If you happened to be in the middle of typing an important sentence, this can be very frustrating. Sometimes you lose your place or can’t remember what you were working on. For typists who type every day, they tend to use the control keys on their keyboard. That means hitting Ctrl S while typing. By hitting Ctrl S, you can save your work automatically without lifting your hands from your keyboard. Most good typists save their work every couple of sentences. If you do it enough, you eventually get in the habit of doing it and don’t even realize how often you’re saving work.
Over reference, if need be. Over referencing is much better than under referencing. Your essay should be full of references to substantiate the information you’re presenting to your professor.
Pay attention to your word processor. It will tell you when words are spelling wrong and when there are grammatical errors. You’ll know this because a word or sentence will be underlined in color. If you right-click on the underlined part, the word processing program will tell you what the problem is. The same things goes for spell check. Instead of telling you the problem, it may give you options for replacing the word.
Read your work out loud! Once you’ve completely written everything out, read it out loud to check it over. Even the word processing program can miss mistakes. I often read through a paragraph that looks perfect according to the MS Word, but I see that I left a word out of the sentence or forgot a comma.
Finally, take plenty of time to get your work done. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Instead, begin working on it ahead of time so that if you run into problems, you have time to deal with them.