Knowing Your Audience and Making Adjustments

When most people start writing an essay, they think of what they are writing about–the subject of the essay, the way it will transition, how they will introduce it, etc. What these people normally forget though is who they are writing for, which in most cases is actually more important than what they are writing about. You may be thinking, “How is that so? An essay is nothing without a subject.” This may be true, but an essay is just as unsuccessful if your professor doesn’t want to read it. Thinking about your audience is a crucial part for the writing process, and you can’t truly be a good essay writer without that consideration. Here are a few tips to help you identify the audience for your work so you can write the best essays possible while you pursue your bachelor of administration.

The term “audience” seems pretty self-explanatory since it’s just the group of people who will read an essay. But an audience is also a flexible group that you can mold to your liking. Your professor may not be flexible in this regard, but everyone else will be if you plan on publishing your essay at some point in time. Believe it or not, you have the power to choose who you want to read your essay. You can actually write in a way that will encourage certain people to read and discourage others. Granted, there is no guarantee that someone from another demographic won’t read your essay, but if you adjust your style enough you can at least guarantee that someone from the audience you are seeking will read your essay.

So how do you go about choosing the right audience? And better yet, what kind of adjustments do you have to make to fit each audience? Well the easiest thing to do is think about what your essay is about and who you want to reach with it. For instance, if you are writing an essay about problems in public schools, then your target audience is probably members of the school board and parents of school age children. This means that the language within the essay would need to sound more formal than if you were writing an essay geared towards teenage girls. By simply changing the tone of your words, you can reach a completely different group of people.

What’s great about making those subtle changes in the language of your writing is that you can rewrite the exact same essay to reach a different demographic. You could write an essay about investments that encourages teens to take a stake in the economy and change the language to make it persuade seniors to invest their retirement wisely. Both essays could be about investing in the economy, but the language of each could reach out to a different audience. If you are having trouble figuring out who you are writing for, just try changing the formality of the writing and see what kind of reaction it brings. The audience that reacts the strongest is probably the one that you should focus on.

Writing for a specific audience isn’t hard. It’s all a matter of molding your writing style to fit the personalities of your readers. Best rule to think about is that the older or smarter your audience is, the more formal your language needs to be. If you are trying to reach a wide range of people, then keep your style as generic and universal as possible. As long as you think about your readers through every step of the writing process, you will have very successful essays.

Posted: October 15th, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.

Knowing How and What to Research

Research is the part of the writing process that most people dread, but a lot of that is because they are looking at research in the wrong light. The whole process has been labeled as the boring part of writing. But what if it was considered as something fun, something that everyone loves doing all the time? When you really think about research, it’s just a formal form of foreplay. It’s getting to know the topic before getting down and dirty with it. It could be considered the most exciting part of the writing process if people just gave it a chance. Hopefully the tips below can help you see research in this sexy new light, and then you can apply my theories to the research you have to do for your supply chain management degree.

How Many Sources Do You Need?

If you start thinking about research in a fun and exciting way, the whole process seems to go a lot faster. The problem that a lot of people have is that they don’t know when to stop researching or they don’t do enough research before they start writing. It’s a difficult balance, but there are some rules of thumb that you can consider.

If a person is writing a short essay (probably 1000 words or less), then all he need is three good sources to provide the information that you need. One source isn’t sufficient because he would be basing all of his knowledge on one other person’s opinions. If he uses two sources, then he runs into the problem of getting two vastly different versions of the same information. That’s where the third source comes in. It acts as a tie breaker between the two and allows the writer to pick a majority opinion to base his information on. Sure this isn’t a fool proof system, but if someone isn’t writing a huge essay, there’s no sense in doing more research than necessary.

Obviously, the larger the essay that a person needs to write is, the more research that he’ll have to do. A ten page paper can’t be based on three small sources. There just isn’t enough information to work with. For multi-page essays, one can assume that you’ll need one to two resources per page of text. A five page paper needs anywhere from five to ten resources, depending on the subject. Just like the other rule, this doesn’t work for every essay. If someone isn’t very knowledgeable about the subject you’re writing about or if the topic covers a wide range of subjects, you would have to do more research than you would on a narrow subject that he was familiar with. If you feel like you don’t have enough information, then the best solution is to research some more. No one will complain that you know too much about a subject.

What Sources Do You Need?

In terms of what you need to research, you will of course need to find sources that fit the topic you are about. You also need to make sure that you are getting your information from an accredited source that is an authority on the subject. It’s important to try to find sources that don’t seem too biased. If most of the sources are biased, then you need to make sure that you get sources from both sides of the argument. This will let you form your own conclusions and have a well-rounded opinion on the topic. Most people will say to avoid internet sources, but as long as the information comes from knowledgeable authors or companies, there shouldn’t be any problems.

Conclusion

Still the best thing to do when researching is to think about it in the right way from the start. Stop dreading the research process and embrace it as something fun and exciting. If a writer is eager to learn about a given subject, he is a lot more likely to fully grasp the information. As long as he follows some basic rules of thumb along the way, he’ll be finished in no time. So go out there–learn, explore, and search every corner of the world for information. Just be sure to start off having a little bit of fun.

Posted: October 11th, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.

How to Make an Informative Essay Fun

Have you heard the joke about the online college student who bored her professors to sleep with every word that she wrote? Chances are you haven’t because there’s nothing funny about a boring writer. Nevertheless, the “boring” dilemma seems to arise a lot when people write informative essays. Most assume that to relay information, they have to be bland writers. The truth is that informative essays can actually be fun if they are written well enough. There are subtle things that can be changed within an essay that turns it from dull to enjoyable without losing the integrity of the information. I ought to know, seeing that I write for a live. Here are a few tricks I learned during my time in writing and throughout my career that may help you spunk up an otherwise boring college essay.

Defining “Fun” in an Essay

First, you have to realize that having a “fun” essay doesn’t necessarily mean that there has to be joke or humor throughout the piece. Humor is a great tool, but a lot of times it isn’t appropriate for the audience. An essay written for CEOs of a major corporation would lose its significance if it had jokes scattered within its paragraphs. If the audience is informal enough to laugh at the humor and still understand the overall information, then by all means make the essay a little funny. For most audiences though, other means of “fun” need to be explored.

Supporting the Text

One great way that a writer can keep his audience entertained is by providing examples that break up some of the information. This reestablishes the point he was making in the preceding sentences and gives the audience a second to think about all the information they have been reading. Though an example may not seem like much “fun,” it can be just the thing that makes someone enjoy an essay. Not only does it clarify any questionable information, but it also relaxes the mind of the reader – even if it’s just for a moment.

Loosening the Language

Another way to introduce a little fun into an informative essay is to write it with some informality. A writer can use contractions and conjunctions where he or she may not have normally put them to make the essay a more reader friendly. This technique doesn’t work in every situation, especially not when writing for a formal audience. When it’s fitting though, lessening the formality of the language can be quite successful because it helps the writer relate a little better to his audience. An informative essay can transform from a manual to a tutorial by simply making the writing less formal.

<>Cracking Academic Jokes

There are some rare instances when the hypocrisy in a statement or the blatant ignorance of it makes for good humor. You can insert academic humor into your writing, and that will actually make you look more intelligent as a whole. If you can’t identify a joke like this though, don’t even try to do this. You’ll end up looking stupid, rather than brilliant.

Conclusion

Having a fun informative essay may not work for everyone, but it’s an option that most people don’t consider even when it does fit. Humor, good examples, and informality are great options if the audience can be accepting. It all depends on who the essay is written for. Information doesn’t always have to be written in a boring way. An essay can be both enjoyable and educational without having to change too much about the style. A long as a writer tries to establish a genuine connection with his audience, there should be no problem incorporating some “fun” into an informative essay.

Posted: October 10th, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.

To Outline or Not to Outline – That Is the Question

Outlining can be a great aid in essay writing. This process involves you making a list of what you want to talk about in an essay so you have an idea of which concepts need to go in various areas of the essay. Outlines can help you establish overall flow in essays, and they also help you figure out what points you want to emphasize in an essay. Nevertheless, they may not be all they are cracked up to be. I actually avoid outlines entirely now. Why? Let me explain…

Problems with Outlining

The main problem I found with outlining is that it prevents me from writing the way I naturally would. I run nearly 30 blogs one the web that I make 3-5 posts for a week. On top of that, I am a content developer online. Needless to say, I write a lot during the day, month, year, etc. I rarely outline anything that I write though – seriously. To me, it seems much easier to just write out my thoughts and allow them to create the outline for me. It’s worked so far.

Outlines also interrupt my train of thought when I write. I have to constantly think about incorporating notes from the outlines into whatever it is I’m writing, rather than just letting the notes come out on their own. This usually makes my writing feel choppy and inconclusive, despite the fact that outlines are supposed to improve flow and conclusiveness. Sigh, these are the struggles I’ve come to deal with over the years.

Outlines also take time, and you may find that you don’t even use the points from the outlines when you actually write. What’s the point of wasting time to do that if you’re just going to ignore it anyway? That’s the dilemma I always have. I find that it takes me much less time to write a blog post, article, essay, or other piece just by writing it off the top of my head, rather than making an outline I may or may not use. That may just be me though.

Possible Benefits of Outlining

If you’re the type of person that struggles to write off the cuff, an outline may give you the guidance you need to write a kickass article. There are plenty of online masters degree students out there that don’t write well with just a keyboard in front of them. They need an outline to reference so they can gain inspiration for their writing. If you are one of them, outlining would be perfect for you.

If you have to meet certain requirements for an essay, an outline will help you ensure that you keep all those in mind. For instance, you may be required to use a certain number of examples from the text in an essay for your English Lit class. If you plan out those examples in an outline, you will be able to write per the professor’s instructions. This may not help you much in creative writing courses, but it could in the more structured ones out there.

To Outline or Not to Outline…

If you find try benefits from outlining, then by all means, use it. If you’re like me and you find it to be more of a hindrance to your writing than a help, then just write like you normally would and then make edits to reflect whatever you might be missing in an essay. Every person is a little different when it comes to writing an effective essay for college. You just have to figure out what you need to do to make yourself the best writer possible.

Posted: October 9th, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.

The Ideal Timeline for Writing a College Essay

Are you one of those college students that writes every one of his or her essays the morning they’re due? If so, you may have discovered that, well, college professors don’t like that. They can almost always tell when you rush through an essay, and they will give you a low grade on it as a result. You can’t do well in an online degree program if you lack the discipline to write an essay the way you need to. The tips below should help you set a timeline for your writing so you can write the best essays possible.

Day 1 – Brainstorm

Before you can do any research or writing of any kind, you need to have a logical plan for your essay. This may purely involve developing a thesis to play on, or it may involve actually writing an outline to follow as you write. That all depends on how you like to write and what helps you the most. Sit down to create a game plan for your writing before you just tackle an essay blindly.

Day 2 – Gather Resource Material

Even though I called this part “day 2,” you may spend weeks gathering the resource materials for an essay. Keep that in mind because this is one of the most important parts of the timeline. Get whatever references you need for the essay, whether that involves books from the library, articles from the web, newspaper clippings, or other resources along those lines. When you know what you have to work with, you will have a much easier time formulating a cohesive essay from it.

Day 3 – Write the Rough Draft

The first draft of your essay needs to be written all at once. It may be total crap with no facts backing it whatsoever, but it could provide the foundation for something great. Write the essay all the way through without worrying about citing your examples or anything like that. You can do all of that in future drafts. In this step, you just want to get your thoughts down on paper.

The reason why I recommend writing all the way through instead of stopping to gather examples is so you can have the best possible flow in your essay. You will naturally tie your thoughts with one another when you write everything at once, and that is the hardest part of writing in general. When you have proper fluidity to your essay, the facts will automatically fit into place. Then you will have a strong essay to be proud of.

Day 4 – Read and Edit

Take a break after your rough draft so you can come back to it with a fresh mindset. This will allow you to catch your errors easier, and it will help you see concepts from a new perspective. In essence, you will detach yourself from your essay enough to strengthen it as you edit. This is the time when you can go through to add in all the citations, direct quotes from the text, and other formatting points that you may have skipped over in your rough draft phase. Make sure that you break your essay into paragraphs as needed because you might not have done that when you wrote the first time. Having a fresh perspective will help you do this a lot easier.

Day 5 – Final Draft

Take another break so you can have yet another fresh perspective on your work. You can read over the essay now and pick it through with a fine tooth comb. Watch for small punctuation and grammar errors you may have missed before. Once you’ve gone over everything, you can print off the final draft to turn in.

You may modify the schedule above to suit your personal writing style, but it should give you a good foundation to follow. If you actually take the time to write a proper essay, you should see much better grades from your professors. A good college student knows the value of thoroughness, especially when it comes to writing. You should take note of that for the future.

Posted: October 8th, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.

How to Properly Paragraph Your Writing

Paragraphs make writing much more readable. Without them, most people just see a blob of text that they don’t want to read through. If you read other articles on my bog, you’ll notice that I almost always use small paragraphs and subheadings to make my writing easier to read. You may not be able to use subheadings when writing for online college courses, but you can still take the principles of small paragraphs to heart. Here are a few tips to help you paragraph your writing so it is easier to read.

Number of Sentences

The number of sentences that you use in your paragraphs will vary based on what you are writing and who you are writing for. On average, your paragraphs should have four to six sentences in them. If you like to write choppy, short sentences, you may need more in a paragraph to complete a thought. That is the overall goal with every paragraph: to complete a thought. If you need a couple extra sentences to make that happen, use them.

The main thing you need to remember when writing college papers is to avoid super short paragraphs. Two sentence paragraphs like this one won’t fly with your professors, and they may cause you to receive a poor grade on a paper.

Intros and Conclusions

Every paragraph you writing should have its own implied intro and conclusion. You don’t necessarily need a literal intro and conclusion sentence for every paragraph, but the paragraphs themselves should seem like separate entities that can work well together. If you have a paragraph that randomly ends without any conclusion at all, you will make your reader assume that you forgot to finish a thought. That will not do much for your writing, and it will…

(Gotcha)

Lists and Examples

If you are making a list or using a set of examples in an essay, each point should be in its own paragraph. You should be able to put mental subheadings in the essay with ease. That ensures that everything you are writing has a conclusive and solid feeling to it, rather than just rambling from one paragraph to the next about the same subjects. Elaborate enough about each item to make a substantial paragraph, and that will greatly enhance your writing.

Transitions

Even though each paragraph in your writing should be its own entity, it needs to tie in with other paragraphs in the essay. You need to make sure that everything flows together, rather than tackling each paragraph as if it’s its own essay. You can do this by using transition sentences, or by writing all your thoughts down at one time. You can go back over your work and elaborate on specific points, but you should have some built in fluidity if you write everything at once. You can read my post about How to Give an Essay Flow for more tips along those lines.

The Easy Solution

If you just can’t figure out how to paragraph your work naturally, write everything as one huge paragraph and then go back to separate it when you’re done. Any time you come across a point where you feel that you’ve started discussing a new thought, make a new paragraph. You should find that you writing in paragraph formation anyway. You just might not know it as you’re writing. Take the time to edit your work, and you should easily be able to paragraph like a pro.

Posted: October 3rd, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.

How to Give an Essay “Flow”

Every good piece of writing in existence has some kind of flow to it. This fluidity is somewhat hard to master, but once you do, your writing can become much stronger and easier to understand. Some people claim that flow only comes to people with a gift for writing, similar to the way freestyling comes to people who naturally rap well. That is not the case. Anyone can learn how to achieve fluidity in his or her writing. It’s just a matter of picking up on some tricks. The information below should give you just a few of those tricks so you can make your writing better in the future for your online courses.

Use Proper Transitions

One of the easiest ways to establish flow in an essay is to have some sort of transition between every paragraph. Even though paragraphs are their own entities, they still need to somewhat fit together. It is your job to tie each paragraph together so that you end up with a cohesive chain of paragraphs when you are finished writing. You could do this in many ways, but most people will try repeating part of the information from one paragraph at the beginning of the one that follows.

An example of repeating parts of the preceding paragraph in an article would be, well, what I just did. See how I hinted at the above topic at the beginning of this paragraph? You have to do something similar to that in your own writing. You can also use transition phrases, like:

• For example,
• In other words,
• To put it simply,
• Therefore,
• In addition to that,
• Thus…

You get the idea. Transition phrases can do wonders for flow, especially if you have a ton of choppy sentences back to back. Try sprinkling a few of them into your next essay and see what happens.

Combine Sentences

Try not to make every sentence in your essay its own identity. You can join the sentences together with conjunctions (and, or, but, yet, so). By using conjunctions like this, you can make your thoughts seem more in line with one another. This will create depth within your work, which will always make you look like a better writer. You can get the same effect by using “if, then” sentences, or by using one of these phrases: ,which; ,where; ,rather; ,who; ,that. You’ll notice that I use those sentence components a lot in my writing, so you should have plenty of examples to choose from.

Reiterate Your Thesis

Every essay has a thesis, or an overall problem it is trying to explain or solve. If you only use your thesis in your intro and conclusion, your essay will seem a little haphazard. You need to remind the reader about your thesis every once and awhile so your work can have a cohesive feeling altogether. Notice that I keep mentioning flow and cohesion in this simple article. I’m doing that to remind you what the heck I’m writing all this about. See, you didn’t even notice because my flow is so awesome. You can pay me for that subliminal learning lesson later on.

Write It All at Once

Write your essay all the way through before you go back to edit and enhance it. By doing this, you will keep your general train of thought, which will translate into genuine fluidity in your writing. If you stop writing an then start back, you may be on a completely different wavelength than the one you started on. Just get all of your thoughts out on paper, and then you can go back to make those thoughts sound like actual statements of intelligence.

Posted: September 30th, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.

5 Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid

Hey you’se guys. Thanks fur readin my blog post. I is a good writter and I likes it when people readeded my stuff. I learn them real good when they read my writtin.

Whew, enough of that. That was on the verge of painful, right? While your writing may not be that bad, you may cause just as much pain for your professors as my writing just caused you. Never fear though. Grammar woman is here to save the day. Here are a few common grammar mistakes that you should learn to avoid if you want to keep your professors happy.

1 – Good vs. Well

I can’t tell you how much the improper use of “good” bugs me. I’m from the south, which isn’t exactly the grammar capitol of the world. Nevertheless, I know my way around the English language, especially when it comes to good and well. Good is not a direct substitute for well. Not at all. Good is an adjective, and well is an adverb. That means that you can use good to describe a person, place or thing; and you can use well to describe a verb, adjective, or another adverb. For example:

Mary did a good job. She drove the truck well.

In this case, good describes the job, and well describes her driving abilities. See the difference? Here’s how I remember it: You do well. You are good. If you can keep that in mind while you write, you will avoid the ear splitting use of “I did good.”

2 – Not Only, But Also

Whenever you use the phrase “not only” in a sentence, you have to use “but also.” You need that phrase to complete the thought. For example:

Not only is this blog awesome, but it is also really informative.
Notice that the but and the also don’t have to be right next to one another. They just have to be in the second half of the sentence. This sentence would be incorrect:

Not only is this sentence annoying, but it comes with an improper question mark at the end?

Ignore the question mark I threw in for humor and read the sentence through. Does it see just a little off? It should. By putting also in the second half of the sentence, you can eliminate that icky feeling when you read through it.

3 – Loaned vs. Borrowed

I can’t tell you how many episodes of Judge Judy I’ve watched where Judge Judy literally stops someone from speaking just to correct him or her on the use of loaned or borrowed. Someone loans you money. You borrow it from them. That is how those two words work. The main person in the sentence determines which action word you use. In the sentence, “She loaned the money to me,” she is the main person in the sentence. You wouldn’t say “She borrowed the money to me.” You could say she borrowed the money from you, but never to you. Learn that lesson well.

The same can be said for teach and learn. Someone teaches you. You learn from him. You cannot say that someone learned you well, or even worse, learned you good. You’ll get thrown out of college for crap like that. At the very least, you’ll get a few odd snickers from the top online universities .

4 – Tooken

Tooken is not a word. Taken is. Took is. Tooken isn’t.

That’s all I have to say about that one. The annoyance has tooken the words right from my fingers.

5 – Everyone…Them

Whenever you use a singular noun, you need to have a singular pronoun to follow. Some examples include each, either, neither, someone, everyone, somebody, and everybody. An old English teacher of mine used to say “each, either, neither, the ones and the bodies.” That is how I learned which words are singular and which ones are plural. For words like that, use pronouns like him and her in the sentence, not they. Good example:

Make sure that everyone does his or her homework.

The incorrect version of that would be:

Make sure everyone does their homework.

This concept takes a bit to get used to, and even I mess up on it a lot. Nevertheless, you now know that it could be a problem with a professor of yours so you can correct it in your writing.

Hopefully the tips below make you a better writer, but if you already knew all of that information, more power to you. Now it’s your job to teach everyone else so we can all have intelligent conversations with one another in the future, beyond the years of slurs and slang that we call “college.”

Posted: September 27th, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.

Quick Ways to Improve Your Typing Skills

Typing is an important part of being a college student. This is especially true for students in top online universities because they have to type for every single one of their courses (reference http://www.bestonlinecollege.org). If you need to spruce up your typing skills, you may not have to do much to make that happen. Here are a few quick ways to improve your typing for college.

AutoCorrect

iPhone users may cringe at the thought of “AutoCorrect,” but smart college students know that it could save a ton of typing time. I’m a professional writer online. That’s how I pay my bills. Ironically, I’m a naturally crappy typist. I solve this through the use of AutoCorrect on Microsoft Word. Anytime I see a word underlined in red on my page, I right click on it, click the AutoCorrect option, and then click the word from the list that I want it to be. Then when I mistype that word again in the future, MS Word corrects it for me. This saves me typing time and editing time, allowing me to concentrate on my work.

You can set your AutoCorrect options on Word by going to File => Options => Proofing => AutoCorrect Options. There you can put in all kinds of words that you know you misspell so Word will fix them for you. This is a great tool, and it can literally shave hours off your typing if you use it effectively.

Practice

This is beyond obvious, but I still have to say it: practice makes perfect. The more you type on the computer, the more acclimated you will be with the keyboard. When I first started writing online, it would take me a full hour to type up a 500 word article. Now I can whip up one of them in 10 minutes, including research time. It all comes down to using the computer frequently enough for your brain to get the hang of what it needs to be doing.

You can take typing courses to improve your skills, depending on how dedicated you are to learning. I used to play “fun” typing games that would teach while they entertained. There are tons of free ones online that you can check out, or you could buy a CD-ROM at an office supply store for this. You know how you learn, so all you need to do is find a solution that is going to work out for you.

Nails

This one mainly applies to women out there, but it could impact some men as well. If you have short nails, you will have more control over the keyboard. I seem to get more typos when mine grow out because the nails will touch certain keys while my fingertips touch others. Then I end up with sentences that look like this: i casn”t ty7per sat al;. No one wants that.

If you have really long nails, just take them down a notch. If you have no nails at all, you may actually want to grow them out slightly so you have something significant to hit the keys. Your nail length may not impact a whole lot in the long run, but it could cause minor issues with timing, which you need to take into consideration.

Conclusion

Learning how to type is not something you can just read about. You need to develop you own rhythm, and your own interpretation of the keyboard. With a little help and some short nails, you should be typing like a pro in no time.

And no, this does not give you an excuse to wait until the last minute to write a report. I know what you’re thinking, you lazy bums. Geesh.

Posted: September 26th, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.

Tips for Finding Reputable Essay Sources Online

Most college professors understand that their students are going to use the internet to research for essays. Thus you don’t necessarily have to go to the library (gross!) to research for a college paper. With that in mind, you can’t trust everything you read online. You need to find reputable sources on the web that will help your essay without making you look like an idiot on the “Works Cited” page. Here are some quick tips to help you pick the right sources for your papers.

Look at Website Extensions

Every website has an extension to its name, like .com, .net, .gov, etc. For example, the extension for the site www.MyCollegesandCareers.com is .com. You should look for .gov and .edu sites because those are from government and educational organizations. You can trust that these sites are going to have valid, up to date information. This isn’t to say that all .com, .net, and .org sites are not reputable. They just take longer to verify. With the .gov’s and the .edu’s, it’s a no brainer.

See Who Runs the Site

There should be an “About Us” section somewhere on the site that explains what person or company is in charge of the content for the website. You should look to that to see if you can trust the information you read. If the site is run by a well-known company, politician, or businessman, you should be fine. If it’s run by Bubba from Squeal and Moo Barbecue, you might want to seek additional advice.

Never Use Wikipedia

I adore Wikipedia, but I never use it for a resource because it is put together by regular internet users. Most of the information on there is accurate, but you can’t know if it is for sure without looking through some other source. At that point, you might as well use the other source for your essay. Many professors will actually reject papers with Wikipedia as a source because they feel it is unreliable. It would be in your best interest not to use it. Nevertheless, you can reference Wikipedia to get a general idea about what you may write about, and then you can check the sources at the bottom of the page to see where the info you read came from. Consider this a starting point for future research.

Your professor may have further stipulations about what you can and cannot use as a source, but the tips above should point you in the right direction. Now all you need to learn is how to cite your resources to make your paper truly spectacular. With a little practice, you’ll be making A’s in no time.

Posted: September 23rd, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.

How to Effectively Write a Persuasive Essay

There are countless styles of writing out there, but one of the most prominent ones you may actually apply in your college courses and outside of your education is the ever-so-impacting persuasive essay. You can use persuasive essays to start debates, to get bills passed, to gain employment at prestigious firms, to get into good schools, or even to convince mom and dad to let you do what you want. The only way you can do this though is through an effective writing method. Below are some tips to help you get your point across and successfully get someone to side with you.

1 – Know Your Main Points

You really need to know what the focus of your essay is so you can drive your point home. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, neither will you audience. Set some time to do a little brain storming with keys ideas you have and evidence for each point to back yourself up. Note which parts of your argument are most important so you can weed out the non-necessities if need be.

2 – Outline Your Argument

Outlining isn’t always necessary, but it can be quite helpful when you aren’t used to writing essays. In a very simple manner, organize your thoughts so they flow well from one point to the next. If you feel like two things are unrelated but back to back, switch stuff around until you can see clear thought transitions. Hopping around will only confuse and discourage your audience.

3 – Start with a Bang

You have to catch your audience’s attention right from the get-go. Thus from the very beginning of the introduction, you need to have a hook. This may be a famous quote, a compelling story, some interesting statistics, or just a clear statement of your main goal. Select the intro that best suits the audience you have. Statistics may work well in a structured environment, while gripping stories will latch onto people’s hearts early on. Find the method that best suits those that you want to persuade. Entice them to see your views by toying with their emotions. At the end of your introduction, have a clear statement of the thesis (main topic) of your argument so people know where you’re going with your facts, stories, or data.

4 – Address Your Points Clearly

For every subsequent paragraph after your intro, you need to have a clearly defined point and support system. Rambling is nothing shy of annoying, and it is also highly ineffective. State your point in the introductory sentence of the paragraph (or shortly after), and then follow it up with various evidence to support your claim. Make sure you can back up every single thing you say, and rework your introductory “bang” where you can to re-grab your audience’s emotions. Do this all the way until the conclusion.

5 – End with a Bigger Bang

Your conclusion is arguably the most important part of your essay. The reason it is ‘’arguable’’ is because you have to have a solid argument leading up to your conclusion for it to even remotely be effective. If people aren’t listening out of sheer boredom or lack of care, your choice words will mean absolutely nothing. If you do have a sound persuasive essay going though, you want to make sure to summarize key points at the end and really highlight the overall purpose of the essay. Remind people of what you have said before, and then construct a concluding sentence that leaves them to ponder every word. That last sentence is the key to getting them to change their mind about something because it is what they remember most. Perhaps you provide a solution to your problem, or a call to action. You might even twist entirely and change your message right at the tail end. Get creative and drive your point home for good.

Posted: September 21st, 2011 under Uncategorized - No Comments.