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  1. #61
    Senior Member mgbradsh's Avatar
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    I had two methods in university.

    The first was to get the syllabus on the first day of class. Read it over giving me a rough idea of when things were due. My next step was to lose the syllabus as soon as humanly possibly. Re-attend class at some point closer to the essay deadline, but hopefully not past the essay deadline. Go to the library and take out 15 books related to the essay topic. Use two different of them, maybe, but only the night before. Write the paper the night it’s due. Don’t start before 11. Print the paper off while heading to class. Drop it off on the prof’s desk, turn around and leave. Return the library books only after severe penalties have been incurred.

    The second method started out by keeping the syllabus. I’d pick the most difficult essay to write because no one else was going to write that one. If we all had the same question I would choose an esoteric thesis. Read tangential information I could get my hands on. Spend as much of the semester as possible writing an outline in my head, sometimes for a few papers at the same time. Write the paper the night before. I’ve written it in my head five or six times by then. Re-read it a couple of times, catch the glaring errors. Hand it in the next morning. Stay for class.

    Probably less that three times I had my essay done before the night it was due.

    Once I began writing almost immediately after we got the assignment. The prof liked to tell stories so I wrote a really long family history of a Sephardic Jewish family in the disporia due to the Inquisition. I knew it would take me weeks to get it all down, so I definitely started early.
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  2. #62
    Senior Member Tengri's Avatar
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    For major research papers with a long list of citations, quotes, and variety of required sources, I'd have to outline the body with specific sections. There is no conceivable way I could ever write a research paper without considerable preparation time and over the course of a week or more because my need to categorize my thoughts on paper demands that process. I've found that starting with the citation page helps organize the direction I want the paper to go, followed by a rough outline of three or four major sections with lead-in or introductory sentences to begin each topic. My references are usually already typed up from books, periodicals, journal articles on a separate document, so I can insert them to prove a point or bolster an argument where need be without having to lose time researching as I'm typing the body. Once the main body is finalized, I spend the most time tidying up the abstract, introductions, and concluding my case. If there's an attached presentation with the paper, I copy and paste those key sections, quotations, references to a PowerPoint, add media, and trim up the wording for quick reading.

    Depending on the subject, I still generally use this same strategy to quickly organize, structure my thoughts, and leave the remaining time to elaborate and add my own interpretation to the writing. The only time I neglect this method is if it's a creative writing paper where spontaneous free-flow of thoughts writes the story or idea and not the organization of multiple ideas.

  3. #63
    Softserve Ice Cream Agent Washington's Avatar
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    I have to read everything first and then plan it out, then go back and read/write at the same time, using quotations and the like. Apparently, there's a more efficient way of doing this, which is taking notes during your first reading process. I haven't worked that in thoroughly, only marginally - by taking notes in my head and bookmarking.
    There's no love in fear.
    - Tool

    Do we want to remind you of something? Yes: the world is good and we belong here.
    - Richard Siken
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  4. #64
    Now with less salt. Methylene's Avatar
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    I just hop in at the last minute, write what I have to and then try to make some meaning out of it. I usually have to write multiple reports at once, so I usually have an horizontal approach: first all the theoric mentions, then all the reagents, then all the procedures and so on. Tidying is the last part, usually an hour before they're due.
    I don't think that it's so personal
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    Sometimes I feel like I'm a sentimental trooper.

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  5. #65
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    For some reason I've gotten more interested in what universities people have gone to and looking them up to see what their campus was like, even what apparel the university or campus offers for sale.

  6. #66
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    I'm like a monkey throwing shit on a wall.

    Until I start to write I have no idea how to unfold what I understand. Motion, for me, is the very essence of creation.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

  7. #67
    Senior Member Tina&Jane's Avatar
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    I usually start with a vague idea of the topic and where I want it to go, then start researching. A lot of the time the structure of the paper or direction I'm going in changes based on the information I'm finding. I'm not very organized when I write and tend to adjust things as I go. I also proofread as I go and will read sentences and paragraphs over and over again nitpicking over words and the way it sounds.
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  8. #68
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    1. Compile your resources and references
    2. Organize and create an outline or ideas board
    3. Procrastinate on writing said paper until two nights before it's due
    4. Stay awake for 48 hours obsessing over and perfecting the craft
    5. Somehow manage to get an 'A'
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  9. #69
    Softserve Ice Cream Agent Washington's Avatar
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    1. Panic (Realised you overlooked fine details such as: Your institution has saved on giving you access to certain sites that are oddly very useful for your specific interests, but only your specific area of research and literally nobody else.)
    2. Panic (No money mode)
    3. Certain sites to the rescue with free access, saving the original author of the articles the effort of emailing your grovelling academic soul the document that they probably have lying around somewhere but was from approximately 10 years ago or something.
    4. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum... ("Jubilant singing, accompanied by an alcoholic drink that raiders in the past often consumed...")
    There's no love in fear.
    - Tool

    Do we want to remind you of something? Yes: the world is good and we belong here.
    - Richard Siken

  10. #70
    Remember, Humanity. A Radiant Dawn's Avatar
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    Type. Put one word after another until it's done. Revise as typing and then do a sweep revision after draft completion. After that, I go into detailed revision.
    Always forward, never back!

    "I always love talking to people and hearing their story. People always have a good life story to tell ya know?"

    Today is the beginning, and tomorrow is the beginning of everything else.

    March on, life's too grand to let things get you down for long. It's a beautiful place and we're so blessed to be here.

    I am a person of fortune and I must seek my fortune.


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