In the academic paper, you want to do the opposite: Use an appropriate amount of evidence to tell your story in a compact, concise manner. As stated earlier, simple, focused prose is the most effective.
One of the worst things you can do in writing a paper is to reach the suggested page length by putting in "filler. It may contain some summary of your findings, but it should not merely reiterate your introductory or thesis paragraph. There are two ways to avoid redundancy. First, since the reader will have gained knowledge from reading the body of your paper, you can state your findings in a more finely nuanced manner than you did at the beginning.
Second, there may still be some questions that remain, or your paper may have uncovered additional questions that show the significance of having proposed the thesis in the way you did. In this sense, it can be effective to end your paper with some insightful questions.
There are twists and subtleties you can introduce to make it like a four- or even five-part paper, but most successful papers contain these elements. Documentation: Intellectual Property and the Boundary of Ideas Documentation, that is, providing quotations, page references, and footnotes, is essential to the academic paper.
The importance of documentation as a source of evidence is discussed above. There are two other reasons for proper footnoting: 1 proper attribution of intellectual property, and 2 defining the boundary between your ideas and someone else's. This textual evidence comes from other people's books, articles, and the like, so it is very important that you document the source of your ideas if they are not your own.
Ideas belong to people just like material objects; it took effort to create and render these ideas on paper, and one must give due recognition to one's sources. When you provide footnotes, you clearly delineate the boundary between someone else's ideas and your own. You can agree or disagree with someone else's ideas or interpret them in your own way, but if you don't provide references, then not only are you dishonest, but your paper is likely to be confusing, and the reader may not be able to tell where the original source's ideas end and yours begin.
When you are exploring an idea, you want to represent it accurately first, and then interpret or criticize it next. It's like serving cake. If someone else made the cake but you present it as your own, then of course this is dishonest. But there is a subtler point. Suppose you buy a birthday cake and decorate it with your friend's name before the party. If someone asks if you made the cake, then it would be dishonest to say that you made the whole thing, but you can take credit for the decoration.
Footnotes in a paper help to identify which part of the cake you made. If the reader cannot tell which is which, then the paper is unacceptable. There are a couple of ways to do footnotes. I usually provide sample footnote formats for the readings in a course. Writing as a Craft Some people assume that writing a college-level academic paper is a natural act like walking or eating, but it is actually one of the most difficult, learned skills that you will acquire during your four years in college.
For the majority of students, the process of mastering the academic paper represents one of the most challenging tasks no matter how thorough the high school preparation. In a musical performance or an athletic competition, you can use your whole being - body, mind, and heart - to show others the results of your efforts.
In an academic paper, however, you are trying to convey something that comes from deep within your understanding through the indirect, intellectual medium of writing. As Stephen Pinker states, Expository writing requires language to express far more complex trains of thought than it was biologically designed to do. Inconsistencies caused by limitations of short-term memory and planning, unnoticed in conversation, are not as tolerable when preserved on a page that is to be perused more leisurely.
Also, unlike a conversational partner, a reader will rarely share enough background assumptions to interpolate all the missing premises that make language comprehensive. Overcoming one's natural egocentrism and trying to anticipate the knowledge state of a generic reader at every stage of the exposition is one of the most important tasks in writing well.
All this makes writing a difficult craft that must be mastered through practice, instruction, feedback, and--probably most important--intensive exposure to good examples. Good writers go through anywhere from two to twenty drafts before releasing a paper.
Anyone who does not appreciate this necessity is going to be a bad writer. Grammar is like the rules of a game. If you want to play basketball, you have to know the rules. There are obvious rules: You cannot double-dribble or go out-of-bounds. There are also some unwritten rules that involve strategy and tactics: Pass the ball to the open player; play within your ability. Rules sometimes may seem restrictive, but actually, they free you to play the game or write the paper.
Unless you follow the rules, you aren't even in the game -- writing the paper. At the same time, there are ways to break the rules appropriately. If a player expects you to pass, you can fake and go in for the score. Likewise in writing, there are times when you can skillfully break grammatical rules, involving, for example, commas. However, it takes a very high skill level to break the rules on commas so that it enhances your paper.
That is because the reader must see that that is what you are doing. If the opposing player doesn't think you can go in for the score, the faked pass isn't going to work at all.
Only a reader with a very specific interest in the subject of the paper, and a need to understand it thoroughly, will read the entire paper. Thus, for the vast majority of readers, the paper does not exist beyond its abstract. For the referees, and the few readers who wish to read beyond the abstract, the abstract sets the tone for the rest of the paper.
It is therefore the duty of the author to ensure that the abstract is properly representative of the entire paper. For this, the abstract must have some general qualities.
These are listed in Table 1. The usual sections defined in a structured abstract are the Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions; other headings with similar meanings may be used eg, Introduction in place of Background or Findings in place of Results. Some journals include additional sections, such as Objectives between Background and Methods and Limitations at the end of the abstract.
In the rest of this paper, issues related to the contents of each section will be examined in turn. Background This section should be the shortest part of the abstract and should very briefly outline the following information: What is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question What is not known about the subject and hence what the study intended to examine or what the paper seeks to present In most cases, the background can be framed in just 2—3 sentences, with each sentence describing a different aspect of the information referred to above; sometimes, even a single sentence may suffice.
The purpose of the background, as the word itself indicates, is to provide the reader with a background to the study, and hence to smoothly lead into a description of the methods employed in the investigation. Some authors publish papers the abstracts of which contain a lengthy background section. There are some situations, perhaps, where this may be justified. In most cases, however, a longer background section means that less space remains for the presentation of the results. This is unfortunate because the reader is interested in the paper because of its findings, and not because of its background.
A wide variety of acceptably composed backgrounds is provided in Table 2 ; most of these have been adapted from actual papers. Note that, in the interest of brevity, unnecessary content is avoided. Table 2 Open in a separate window Methods The methods section is usually the second-longest section in the abstract. It should contain enough information to enable the reader to understand what was done, and how.
Table 3 lists important questions to which the methods section should provide brief answers.The following article describes how to write a great abstract that will attract maximal attention to your research. It is a very common error to dive into the technical approach or the implementation details without first appropriately framing the problem and providing motivation and background. Ignore the common myth that successful writing requires large, uninterrupted blocks of time — instead, practice writing in brief, daily sessions. Order your text so your reader can easily see how related concepts are different and how they are similar. Which details to include Your purpose is to communicate specific ideas, and everything about your paper should contribute to this goal. Write correct English, but know that you have more latitude than your high-school English teachers may have given you. Sometimes the thesis is presented in logical form. To take advantage of this, start writing early. Do not support a significant argument or idea of.
Did I follow my outline? Keep your focus narrow and avoid the kitchen sink approach. In the rest of this paper, issues related to the contents of each section will be examined in turn. For this reason, it is very important not to overstate your conclusions in your abstract so as not to mislead your readers.
Another way of stating this is that the purpose of the paper is not to describe what you have done, but to inform readers of the successful outcome or significant results, and to convince readers of the validity of those conclusions. It may contain some summary of your findings, but it should not merely reiterate your introductory or thesis paragraph. In an abstract, don't enumerate a list of topics covered; instead, convey the essential information found in your paper. Often it's appropriate to report percentages as whole numbers rather than using the same precision. When the body of your paper contains information that belongs in a caption, there are several negative effects. To take advantage of this, start writing early.
Just as your introduction helps readers make the transition to your topic, your conclusion needs to help them return to their daily lives—but with a lasting sense of how what they have just read is useful or meaningful. Whereas you should start writing as early as possible, you don't need to put that writing in the form of a technical paper right away. Avoid puffery, self-congratulation, and value judgments: give the facts and let the reader judge. Your response needs to give ammunition to your champion to overcome objections. There are two ways to avoid redundancy.