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6 Typical Styles of Academic Papers

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Online Writing Center for Distance Students The Duquesne University Writing Center has an Online Writing Center specifically for distance students, including returning adult students and commuter students, where you can meet online one-on-one with a trained writing consultant to talk about your writing. The Service Consultants work with writing throughout your writing process, from outlines and notes to drafts and revisions.

You will need to scroll down to select this option. Success in your college endeavors depends on a variety of skills, not least of which is the ability to write a solid academic paper. Mastering the art of writing a paper can arguably make your college experience a smoother one and result in a higher GPA. Most schools recognize this and provide resources like writing labs and personal assistance to students struggling with this task. Feedback from professors also helps writers improve.

Students who attend online classes, however, may not have access to these resources. Instructor feedback in an online environment may be limited by the medium and may not be as comprehensive as what students receive in a face-to-face classroom. For these students, learning to write well may be more challenging. Read on for tips, tricks and online resources that can provide an online student with the tools required to write expert academic papers.

With few exceptions, all academic papers are written in a similar format: While it is not always required, three supporting paragraphs are considered standard. Most college essay requirements fall within six categories.

You may be required to produce these essays in a composition class that is purely about writing structure, or you may be asked to meet a very specific essay prompt given to you in a more advanced class. You can find student essay samples that demonstrate the most important characteristics of each in the links below. These essays explore a specific cause or specific effects of a given cause.

You may choose to write about multiple causes or effects; in this case, organize them from least to most impactful and address them accordingly. This essay should be well-organized, establishing your thesis statement in the first paragraph. The supporting information addressed in later paragraphs should contain factual data that clearly backs your thesis. The use of transitional words and phrases can be particularly helpful as you lead the reader through supplemental information. Two or more distinct subjects are explored in this essay, the purpose of which is to clarify their similarities and differences.

Ultimately this paper serves to deliver a deeper understanding of how nuanced the discussion of a topic can and should be. Your conclusion should summarize the similarities or differences you find most important. Organization of the material is extremely important in these essays.

Many students find that creating a chart or Venn diagram is a useful way to identify key points. For example, draw two overlapping circles; in the space where the circles overlap, list similarities. In the spaces outside of the overlap, jot down the ways the subjects differ. Present these ideas clearly, keeping in mind that the reader should follow your thought process without confusion.

Strong transitional phrases are especially useful here. A straightforward paper, the definition essay aims to clearly define an idea or process. A thorough understanding of your subject is essential, so research plays a big role. Your thesis statement should clearly and succinctly lay out your definition. In the following paragraphs, further clarify your thesis with data and textual research. If the topic is one you are required to choose, avoid abstract ideas in favor of more concrete explication.

A well-written description essay uses vivid, detail-oriented language to address a topic. Essay topics might be an experience, an emotion, an object or a person. This essay requires the writer to create a distinct impression with words; there is more creative freedom in this style than in most others. Brainstorm before you begin to write; many students find that some free association about a topic can generate enough content for a paper. Select your vocabulary carefully, using words that clearly convey an impression.

Stay organized and resist semi-tangential rambling. This paper requires the writer to convince the reader to agree with a stated argument. Whether you are given a topic to defend or are asked to choose one, you must take a strong stance on an issue. Your goal is to logically present information in support of that stance. Use factual data to bolster your claim, and establish the values that your facts support; consider the emotional reaction of your reader. Active language is helpful when persuading an audience.

Do acknowledge an opposing argument, then refute it. Prioritize your supporting data and structure your essay accordingly. Your conclusion should strongly state your reasons for your chosen stance. Your reader should conclude your paper with a better understanding of how something works. A thorough grasp of each step is necessary, so choose something you understand well or conduct appropriate research. Language should help the reader visualize the process.

Different processes have differing complexities, but you should explain three steps at a minimum. You may instruct the reader directly or illustrate a complete process. In many cases your instructor provides explicit directions that explain the purpose of your paper. Other times, you may be required to choose your own specific topic and angle within a broader subject. This can be a daunting task, but careful examination of your knowledge and interests can help you arrive at a thesis you feel good about bringing to life.

Ask yourself questions like:. Whether you are assigned a topic or have arrived at one yourself, it is good practice to sketch out an outline. This piece of preparation can make things flow much more smoothly as you write; organizing your key ideas and supporting information before you begin wordsmithing can save you time spent on rewrites down the road. Think of your outline as a framework on which you hang ideas.

Identifying each subtopic and the supporting ideas or data you use to address it does more than organize your thoughts; it can also spotlight areas of your paper that need more work. You can expect to receive your paper back in two to three business days from confirmation that your submission has been received. During peak times such as the weeks surrounding midterms and finals, that turnaround time is slightly longer, around four to five business days.

Please keep this in mind when submitting your paper for review to ensure that you will receive feedback before your deadlines or due dates. To send us your assignment, you must fill out the online submission form, which can be accessed the following ways:. Additionally, this information and a new form needs to be provided for each submission we review, either for a separate assignment or for a later draft. One coaching session will accommodate approximately pages, so longer projects should be sent in segments.

We recommend that you save your document in separate files of pages each and complete a new submission form for each. If you submit a file of more than 10 pages, please be aware that your assigned coach will only respond to the first pages, depending on the scope of the project and the time of the semester.

One you submit a paper to the OWC, you will be sent an e-mail from us confirming that your paper was received. Your paper will then be assigned to one of our coaches, who will do the following:.

The OWC submission process does not include submitting papers through Turnitin. For questions or concerns about course access to Turnitin, please consult your instructor. For general Turnitin questions, contact Assistant Director Dr. Brown at or carolynbrown04 webster.

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The Purdue University Online Writing Lab serves writers from around the world and the Purdue University Writing Lab helps writers on Purdue's campus. The Online Writing Center is devoted to helping students become better, more confident writers. Our Online Writing Center coaches look at assignments primarily to provide advice on global issues (focus, development, organization, etc.).

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Smarthinking’s tutors work with students online to address writing-specific topics, such as pre-writing techniques, research strategies, documentation, and grammar and mechanics. Students can submit their writing for detailed review in the Writing Center, schedule an . The ESC Online Writing Center is designed to help SUNY Empire State College students quickly and easily find the services and resources they need to become successful, independent writers. Individual assistance is available through onsite or online tutoring or by submitting a paper to Smarthinking.