This library guide provides tips for writing and suggests a way to organize one's writing by using Word headers. For the latter, there is a downloadable Word template and an online tutorial (see video and tutorial below).. Other softwares are available to assist in writing, but you may find the suggestions about Word useful for many purposes. Contact Brian Simboli with questions.
*The tips below, and use of the template and Word for headers, are of course just one approach to writing, though there is no doubt that the sooner you start working on a paper after getting an assignment, and the sooner you start research, the more focused the paper will be. Otherwise, find what approaches to writing are comfortable for you, and make sure you talk to your professor about expectations for the course and writing tips or advice specific to the classroom writing assignment(s).*
This first box provides writing tips. The box below it focuses on using Word in the ways mentioned in this first box.
Here are some contacts for assistance with your writing:
(Note: the contacts above are added here as resources, not because they have officially endorsed the writing tips in this page. They can provide you with their perspectives and assistance.)
1. Front-end your library research. Find quality background information such as reference resources, books, and review articles. These provide a mental map to do focused searching for relevant literature, which in turn can lead to a great thesis statement for your paper. Contact a librarian for help in identifying relevant resources.
2. As you read the literature, develop an outline. As the box below points out, if you write the outline headers as headers in Word, this makes it easy to jockey around the headers and the text that appears below them. See the box below for details..
To avoid losing the forest for the trees,and to have a high level guidepost or point of reference for where your paper stands, consider a few things. Keep reviewing and revising your outline as it evolves. Or, as a way of reminding yourself about the direction of your paper, consider writing a brief abstract (summary) of your paper early on in your writing and then revise it as your writing proceeds. *It's important, though, to make sure that the final version of your abstract (if it is required for your paper) is finalized and polished before handing in the paper!* Another approach is to take a piece of paper and draw a flowchart of your ideas and how they interrelate in support your thesis statement.
3. Spread writing and re-writing over many days. If you don't, it will show. Re-write, and then re-write again.
NOW SEE VIDEO, WORD TEMPLATE, AND DISCUSSION BELOW ABOUT USING WORD.
This video tutorial explains how to use headers in Microsoft Word when writing. See below for a video, a downloadable Word template, and a discussion. Use this link if you have trouble accessing from below: tutorial video. NOTE!: you need not use the template provided here. You can create your own headers in a Word document, but the concepts in the video still apply.
The tutorial in the box above helps you visualize the mechanics of using outline headers in Word. The dowloadable Word template immediately above can be used to do what the tutorial displays.
First, download the template.
The template has an outline structure that you might want to use in drafting your paper. Also, it has various headers that help organize your writing workflow, such as "tasks", "background resources", and "notes" sections.
After you download the template, you should see a navigation pane on the left. The pane displays the outline structure of headers used in the Word document to the right. If the pane is not open at any point, open it by clicking on the "View" menu and then check-marking "Navigation Pane".
To add new headers as you write, open the "Home" menu. You should see various heading options, such as Heading 1, Heading 2, and so on.
Type a new header in the paper, highlight it with the cursor, and then select Heading 1 or Heading 2 etc., depending on how much you want the header to be indented.
Again, watch the tutorial so you can visualize how to use headers in Word.
The template comes with a variety of headers: