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Tutor Tidbits: Where to start with your final paper?

Kristen Finch

Contributing Writer

Photo courtesy of Springfield College.

Finals are right around the corner. You have exams to study for and a paper to write. It’s a week until the due date, or maybe less, and you just have no idea where to begin. The first step is to breathe. It is not too late.

Can’t figure out a topic? Maybe you don’t even understand what the paper is supposed to be about? Make an appointment at the Academic Success Center. The writing tutors will gladly sit down with you, go over what the professor is looking for and help brainstorm some ideas.

You have the topic picked out, and you understand what the assignment is. Now, you have a problem finding sources. A great asset is the Babson Library website. There are thousands of articles and books that you can access right from your computer, no need to even leave your room! Having trouble navigating the page or have another question about your sources? There is a live chat button available so that you can talk to a librarian. You could also make an appointment with a research librarian through that same page if you want more help finding sources.

Now, your sources are found and printed. You have read through them. All of the information is running through your mind. How is it all going to flow together? How can I integrate the information with five different sources? Once again, take time and breathe. Grab a highlighter and start finding the information that you think is the most important to include in your paper. This is a great way to exclude some “fluff” or irrelevant information that you do not need to include. A great tip while highlighting is to annotate, or write notes in the margins, to help turn what the source says into your own words.

The sources are highlighted, and you are ready to write the paper. A tip before diving right into writing the paper is to make an outline or a mind map. This can help form a flow of ideas and lead to less mass editing down the line. It can be as detailed as you would like, or it could just give simple subjects of what each paragraph is going to be about. If you do make a detailed outline, make sure to include citations with paraphrases or quotations so that you do not have to go back and search for them at another time.

The beginning stages of writing a paper can be intimidating. If at any point in the writing process you have a question or just need some help, the Academic Success Center writing tutors are here. If your paper is finished and you just want someone to go over it with you one last time, you can stop by and make an appointment in Hickory 109. We would love to help!

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