When you, as a school student, are asked to write a research paper to be promoted to the next grade you should first select the topic you’re going to write about and then gather and organize the materials and sources that will help you with the research. After that, you should follow these three stages.
1. Getting Started (The Pre-Writing Stage)
With the help of brainstorming, the writing task should start. In this stage, you should think about the topic given. This may be done as an individual or in groups so that you benefit from each other. In this stage, you should record the ideas that come to your mind without eliminating any. The ideas can be put in linear order or in a mind map.
Once the ideas are put randomly on a sheet of paper, it is now the time to eliminate some and organize the rest of them. Ideas can be organized as main support, minor support, and examples. While organizing, it is normal to add or delete information. Actually keeping adding and deleting is the main activity you will do until you reach the final product.
2. The Writing Stage
Writing the First Draft:
After organizing the ideas, start writing your research paper. you may change the order or rearrange the main supports or minor supports. It is a myth that people can write a perfect paper for the first time. There is always a mistake either in the organization or in the grammar or in the word/form choice. This leads us to the post-writing stage which includes editing and proofreading.
3. The Post-Writing Stage
Editing vs Proofreading
The difference between editing and proofreading is that editing refers to “what you write” whereas proof-reading refers to “how to write”. This distinction is very important in process writing since you should focus on only one thing to correct at a time. It is not advised to correct the organization’s mistakes and grammar mistakes at the same time. You might get confused and not be able to correct all the mistakes. It is logical to start dealing with the organization of ideas and content (editing).
As mentioned before editing deals with “what you write”. So in this stage, you should look at the content and the organization of ideas. you may ask some questions to revise your research paper and edit it to include the following basic features:
- Is there a main idea? Is it clear?
- Is the introduction interesting for the reader?
- Do the paragraphs develop naturally? Are they relevant to the main idea?
- Are the ideas supported well? Are there enough examples/details?
- Are the transitions chosen correctly and in the right place?
- Is there a conclusion? Does it have a summary?
Then you should edit your research paper to add examples, support the main idea, add a summary and delete redundancy.
Once the content and the organization of ideas satisfy you, you should write a second draft and make it ready for proof-reading.
As mentioned before proof-reading deals with “how you write”. In this stage, the piece of writing is checked for any spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes. To be more precise you should check and look for the following:
- Any sentence fragments and run-on sentences.
- References without pronouns.
- Redundancy of ideas.
- Spelling mistakes.
- Repetition of the same words.
- Punctuation mistakes.
- Wrong tense choice.
- Misused modifiers.
- Style inappropriate for the audience.
You should make the necessary changes in your piece of writing after proof-reading the research and then write it again as the last version.
This means that the same research paper needs to be written at least 3 times; first draft, second draft after editing, and the final version after proof-reading.
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