If you have a good sentence outline, your note cards are in order and complete, and you have read and reflected well on your topic, this will be the easiest step because most of the work is already done!

Write your paper in the third person (do not use “I” or “you”), unless you are writing a personal reflection portion. Scientific papers may use the first person to describe your experimental design.

Here is a suggested order to write your paper:

  1. Write your thesis statement first. Then skip to the body. This will keep your mind focused on your thesis statement.
  2. In the Body, write a main idea sentence for your first point. Most points for a middle school paper will be only a paragraph long. So this will be your topic sentence for your paragraph. Go on to the first detail in your card stack and write a sentence or two using that detail, do the same with the next detail, and so on until you finish the details. After each detail sentence from a new source, make a parenthetical citation (See Handy Tips for more information.) Summarize your paragraph with a restatement of your topic sentence; point out how it relates to your thesis. Repeat this step with your second and third points.
    Add parenthetical citations to your details. After a sentence, group of sentences, or paragraph which summarizes ideas from a particular source, in parenthesis include the author’s last name (or if no author, first five or so identifiable words from the title) and the page number of where the information is located.
  3. Write the conclusion of your paper.
    1. Restate your thesis statement.
    2. State your conclusions, then explain your conclusions using the main points from the Body
    3. Wrap it up. Bring a close to your paper with some special observation or thought: Some ideas might be:
      • How does your conclusion affect the future?
      • What do your observations mean to a greater community?
      • What else might need to be researched?
      • Relate your conclusions to a broader topic.
      • Ask the reader to think about acting upon your conclusion.
      • Give a warning
      • Use a quotation
      • Give a personal reaction to, or a personal reflection on what you learned
    4. Be careful not to bring up a new topic, even if is related to the one you have discussed. Everything should relate to your thesis statement.
  4. Now write the introduction. It should include, but not necessarily in this order:
    1. Your statement of the problem, hypothesis, thesis, or purpose
    2. Offer some sort of interesting fact, anecdote, or personal story as to why you chose this topic. This will help to capture the reader’s attention and become interested in your topic. Be a salesman! Convince your reader to read and care about your topic.
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Handy Links


WritingDen’s Tips-O-Matic: Essays

WritingDen’s Tips-O-Matic: Paragraphs

How to Write Parenthetical Citations in MLA Format

Lemon Tree Library