Plan Your Assignment

MM/DD/YYYY (e.g. 12/31/2020)
 
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1: Understand assignment. Select/focus topic.

Note: The research and writing process is not always linear. Keep in mind you may need to go forward or backwards.

 

Percent time spent on this step: 
8%
2: Draft thesis or research question.

 

Percent time spent on this step: 
7%
3: Design research strategy. Find/evaluate evidence and sources.

 

Percent time spent on this step: 
20%
4: Critically read and evaluate sources.
  • Evaluate sources based on your research question or working thesis.
  • Use critical reading strategies (PDF) from the U of M's Center for Writing.
    • Take notes on readings while reading. Make notes on margins. Use tools to comment or highlight PDFs. 
    • Try close reading (from Harvard) and read to write strategies (from UNC).
  • Conduct more research to fill in gaps as needed (see step 3).

 

Percent time spent on this step: 
25%
5: Develop overall structure. Draft parts of paper. Organize sources.

 

Percent time spent on this step: 
5%
6: Write 1st draft.

Keep in mind there are many ways to approach writing your first draft.  You do not have to start at the beginning. Instead begin drafting segments or chunks. Concentrate on writing your rough ideas and not on revising.

 

Percent time spent on this step: 
20%
7: Revise & rewrite--focus on content.

 

Percent time spent on this step: 
10%
8: Polish and put paper in final form.

 

Percent time spent on this step: 
5%