You chose a topic, crafted a research question, and formulated an outline. You searched for books, journal articles, and internet sources on your topic. You scanned those sources and read the pertinent sections, and consequently, you learned a lot more about your topic than you ever thought possible! You took notes while you read, and now you've organized those notes to reflect your outline, which you may have adjusted based on what you found out about your topic. Now it's FINALLY time to start writing!
Unfortunately, this is where some students FREEZE UP. Staring at a blank sheet of paper, or a blank screen, you may not know how to get started. Here are some suggestions to help you "thaw" out:
Now that you've read and understood all the fantastic resources you found, you may be tempted to quote them all as proof of the hard work you did. But ask yourself: Whose paper is this? Your readers don't want to know what other people said—they want to know what YOU think about your topic; they want to know what YOU have to say. Here are some general guidelines for using quotes in a standard research paper:
For more information about parenthetical references, bibliographies, and other topics related to citation and plagiarism see our Citation and Plagiarism Guide, or consult the DBU Writing Center's excellent resources.
In most cases, professors will want you to use a type of clear, no-nonsense language, known as "Academic English." Academic English is the standard form of written communication for reports, research papers, and other assignments. It's not flowery, or filled with big, important-sounding words. The point of using Academic English is to get your point across efficiently and elegantly.
Here are some great websites that can help you master the basics of Academic English:
Academic Phrasebank - this is an excellent source for instances when you need a new or more compelling way to present your case. The Academic Phrasebank offers suggested phrases for you to use to make your points, and it covers a wide variety of common problems you might encounter while writing. It's indispensable!
Using English for Academic Purposes and Academic Writing, from the Purdue OWL - these two websites present more comprehensive information on the topic, as well as explaining how to handle different types of circumstances and assignments.
What is Academic English? - a basic introduction to the conventions of Academic English.