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SOCI 2010 Marriage & Family - TNeCampus

This Guide was Developed for the TNeCampus sections of Sociology 2010 - Marriage and Family

Assignment Calculator

The Assignment Calculator will help you budget your time as well as give you steps to follow in writing a research paper.  Follow the links, enter the due date of your paper, and get a set of steps with suggesteded due dates and additional resources.

An overview of the steps also follows below.

Smart Thinking

As a TNeCampus student, you have access to a resource called Smart Thinking, which you can access from your course homepage.  It provides FREE tutoring, which includes help with writing and papers.  Check it out if you aren't 100% confident in your writing skills.  I would definitely use it if I were a student!

Writing a Paper

  1. The very first thing you need to do is make sure you understand your assignment.  Read it more than once, highlighting or underlining important things like due dates, requirements for number of pages, number and types of outside sources, and most importantly, what you are supposed to accomplish with your writing.  If you don't understand something, or are unclear on any aspect, ask questions.

  2. Next, you need to select and focus your topic.  This will be the topic of your paper, and what you will need to research.  You need to make sure that it is neither too broad nor too narrow, which may take some initial research to determine.

  3. Once you have your topic, you will need to develop a working thesis.  The thesis of your paper states your claim or recommendation about your topic.  Your paper is going to provide the evidence that supports the claim that you make in your thesis.  Your theses may change as you do your research and begin writing your paper, but you need to have one to begin with to know where to go with your research.  

  4. You are now ready to start thinking about your research and design a research strategy. Know what types of sources you will need and the types of places you can find them.  Make a list of keywords for your search - the main terms you will use to look for your sources.  You may want to think of synonyms for some of the words, as well as alternate terms that might be used.  Find out what terms are used in the discipline for which you are writing. 

  5. Find your sources.  You may be looking for books, articles, websites, videos, or other formats of information.  Evaluate the information you find to determine if the source is credible and reliable, if the timeliness is adequate, and if the information itself is good and relevant to your need.

  6. Make an outline of your paper.  It really does help.  Use it to get the major structure of your paper set, and fill in with the details you have gotten through your research.

  7. Write your 1st draft.  It is called a rough draft for a reason.  It won't be polished.  You may end up making big changes.  But you have put it on paper and you now have something with which to work.

  8. After you write your 1st draft and read it over, you may find that there are pieces missing, or you may want to know something more.  You may need to do additional research.  This is the same as your initial research except more focused.  

  9. Once you have all the information you think you need, it is time to revise and rewrite your 1st draft.  This isn't where you look at punctuation and spelling - this is when you fix the structure and flow of your paper, make sure you are meeting the criteria of the assignment, and ensure your paper makes sense.

  10. After you have your paper as good as you can get it, you will go back and check the grammar, punctuation, spelling, citations, and overall format.  These are the final edits, and they are very important to the final product.