Here’s How to Deal with that Twenty-Page Research Paper

from http://www.clker.com/

from http://www.clker.com/

Last week, I paged through each syllabus for my classes, looking for the page count for all of my papers. Chances are you’ve done the same. There’s always that feeling of joy when a paper that makes up big chunk of your grade is only five or so pages long. A short paper is not so bad, right? Then, on the flip side, there’s that feeling of complete helplessness when the minimum page requirement for a paper is ten pages or more. As I saw that I would be faced with more than one of those this semester, I began to panic. Here’s a list of tips I came up with that I plan on using to conquer my bajillion page papers:

  1. Start planning early. If you have an English essay about a particular book, start reading it now. If you have a research paper, start brainstorming a topic and head to the library. The beginning of the semester may feel hectic, but you have more time now than you will later on.
  2. Outline! Outline! Outline! It’s annoying, yes. BUT it will help you stay on track.
  3. Divide the paper up into smaller pieces. Your paper will feel much more manageable when you only work on a page or two at a time.
  4. Set up a schedule for working on your paper. If your paper is due in a month, commit to working on it at least two or three times a week until then.
  5. Just start writing. Remember that even if what you write at first isn’t very good, it’s better than nothing. You can always go back and make changes, but you have to start somewhere.
  6. If you have any questions about the expectations for your paper, ask your professor right away. It’s better to ask now than to realize that you’ve done something wrong and then have to start over again.
  7. Take a break if you need to. If you’re getting frustrated or overwhelmed, sometimes it’s best to walk away from the paper for a bit. Do something relaxing for a few minutes and then go back to the paper. Clearing your head will help more than you think.
  8. Make an appointment at the Writing Center. Or make several appointments with us. We’re here to help!

Photo on 9-8-14 at 3.16 PM

Rebekah, peer tutor

Cite When You Write!

Have you ever been marked down on your papers for how you cited or failed to cite your sources? Does the mention of citations or working within the MLA style make you cringe? Have you used some awesome sources in you paper but are at a loss for how to cite them?

If so, this blog post is for you!

I’m going to lay out some helpful tips for citing sources so that instead of feeling frustrated and angry…

arggg

http://libguides.umhb.edu/abstract

…you can be proud of what you have accomplished!

SUCCESS

http://britnidanielle.com/2013/01/09/are-your-expectations-setting-you-up-for-failure/

Today I’m going to talk about how to cite a website in MLA, because MLA is potentially the most common citation style–and websites can be frustrating because they all seem so different. (If you need to cite in APA or CMS, here are some really helpful links: the Chicago Manual of Style and the Purdue Lab.)

We know that citations can seem confusing with all the different styles and rules for formatting but citation is mostly about finding information and plugging it into a formula. It can be tedious but here are some tricks that can help you finish up your stellar paper:

  • Take note of the date you access websites as you do your research.
  • Take note of the author or editor, the article title or website title, the website sponsor (who makes the website possible) and the most recent date it has been updated.

Now that we have the preliminary steps out of the way, we can put all of the information we have gathered into an MLA citation. This is how we order all of the information:

  1. the author or editor
  2. the article title or website title
  3. the website sponsor
  4. the most recent date
  5. the medium of publication (which is always Web when referring to any information found on the internet)
  6. the date of access.

For example:

Fraunheim, Ed. “Stop Reading This Headline and Get Back to Work.” CNET News.com.

CNET Networks, 11 July 2005. Web. 17 Feb. 2009.

Based on the information you have gathered, all you need to do is insert it into this formula! You have done most of the work already, so…

tumblr keep calm

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/keep%20calm%20and%20write%20on

Citing an Entire Website

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003. Web. 10 May

2006.

Citing a Page on a Website (like a blog post or a recipe)

“How to Make Vegetarian Chili.” eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2009.

  • (List the author, if known, followed by the information covered above for entire Web sites.)

More handy tips:

  • If you can’t find some aspect of the information, the formula stays the same and you just insert what you do have.
  • Italicize the website title.
  • The page title or article title is in quotation marks.
  • Make sure you pay attention to the punctuation!
  • Always double space when using MLA.
  • The first line of each entry is at the left margin; extra lines are indented ½ an inch.
  • You don’t have to include the URL of the website unless your professor asks you to!
  • If no publisher name is available then use n.p. and if no publishing date is given then use n.d. (as illustrated above).

Now that you know how to better cite your information, you are on the way to even greater success with your writing!

http://justwriteonline.typepad.com/distributed_intelligence/2011/09/ten-questions-to-ask-if-youre-writing-a-scrutiny-report-8-how-do-we-bring-our-sentences-under-contro.html

http://justwriteonline.typepad.com/

If you have any questions about citations or formatting or just need some help brainstorming, your friendly writing center is always here to help!

-Sarah, peer tutor