Look for way more research than you think you can actually use. Most of the time you’ll end up with just the right amount for a solid paper.
Do not wait until you are “ready” to write your entire paper and include all your research. Write an early draft and leave highlighted places where you know you need more research. This first incomplete and rough draft helps you not only actualize where your paper is going conceptually and content-wise but also helps guide you in looking for additional research before it is too late.
Step away and come back later
If you spend too much time working on your paper in one sitting, you will get sloppy and careless. Realize that this is happening and step away for a break. Sometimes half an hour is enough, but sometimes even a day or two is needed.
Ask for criticism
Even though it isn’t fun to hear someone criticize your work, it is invaluable to the writing process. Let a peer read your paper and ask questions or make comments. Or make a Writing Center appointment—they can talk with you about the best ways to improve your writing. Use constructive criticism to help you know what is unclear or maybe even illogical in your writing.
Written by senior Jessica Lovely for the Academic Resource Center