Writing Tips

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General writing advice

• Be organized. Work from your outline.

• Each paragraph should have one major point. Try to link the theme of each paragraph to the next.

• Support all of your statements, preferably with evidence from the scientific literature. If you are guessing, making an arbitrary judgment, or relying on an unsupported assumption, say so. Admit to uncertainty in your or others’ conclusions.

• Make sure that your paper accomplishes the goals you set in the introduction.

• When finished, make sure to trace the logic of your arguments from introduction to conclusion. Many papers lack logically cohesive arguments or are contradictory. Don’t let this happen to you. It often helps to read work out loud or to have a classmate or friend read it.

• Rewriting is the key to good writing. Most writers need to revise their work multiple times. Begin writing your paper well before the deadline so that you have time for rewriting.

• Edit carefully. You will likely find yourself having to reorganize, cut unnecessary or redundant sections, and add sections to clarify key points. Do not be discouraged—extensive editing is part of the normal revision process.

• Your writing should be grammatically correct. A good resource for writing is The Elements of Style by W. Strunk Jr. and E. B. White.

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