How to Write an Essay

(Also called a Term Paper or Research Paper)

I hate to say it, but papers are a lot of work, so you better plan for it.


These are the basic steps to writing an essay:

  1. initial preparation:
    • read your assignment (twice)
    • develop your topic
    • develop a research question
    • develop a provisional thesis
    • consider the type of information you will need to research

  2. find, review & evaluate books

  3. find, review & evaluate journal articles

  4. find, review & evaluate bibliographies or statistics

  5. find, review & evaluate sites from the web (as opposed to online databases, etc you may have used so far)

  6. read & take notes on your best sources

  7. revise your thesis and map out a preliminary argument

  8. write first draft

  9. conduct additional research as needed

  10. edit & re-write (incl format footnotes)

  11. have someone proofread paper

  12. final draft

These steps are included in the homework planner, where they're automatically inserted into your plan.

For more info on the Free Trial Planner click here.
If you have more than five assignments, check out the Full Planner here.



Additional Resources:
  • The Harvard University Writing Center has an excellent article about the academic essay and what you are trying to accomplish when writing one.
  • The Research Project: How to Write It by Ralph Berry
  • Fit to Print: The Canadian Student’s Guide to Essay Writing by Joanne Buckley
  • The Research Essay: A Guide to Essays and Papers by Hugh Robertson
  • And as always, I can't help but recommend The Craft of Research by Booth, Colomb and Williams.