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Academic writing tips: study guides and strategies


Better searching

The big names in search engines may not always give you accurate or complete information. If you are going to research online for the sake of saving time, then use reliable sources like Wikipedia or Britannica. These encyclopedias have the best reputation for being the most accurate and comprehensive as possible.

Don't be lazy

No matter how rushed you are with your paper, never try to take shortcuts. Your professor is a veteran at marking papers and will soon pick up if you've put in little effort.

Stay off social Q&A sites that promise to give quick answers and don't rely on Google to save your skin. Consider signing up to Quora.com, an information site where qualified professionals answer your questions, not just bored internet surfers who think they know stuff.

Be old fashioned

Better yet, get off your computer altogether! It's worth the effort to do your research properly. Studies have shown that your brain remains way more proficient at retaining information if you are actively seeking it. Go to the library and search for the best source on your subject; visit a museum; interview someone; conduct an experiment. Study the way your grandparents did and see how much your professor will appreciate it.

Let your PC do the talking

Now that you've got the searching down, you'll need something that will make the actual research go a lot faster. When you're researching your essay topic, you will find that a lot of time is spent on searching and reading. There are many software programs available that actually read computer texts to you while you are free to take notes. How much better to have your computer speak the research information to you so that you're not constantly interrupting your reading to write something down?

Note taking

Taking notes can never be overestimated. While you research, jot down as much as you can. This may seem like you're taking more time to do something, but in actual fact you save so much time later on when your writing begins.

The art of taking notes should then be accompanied by a skill to follow those notes to the point that they actually help you. Your notes should be of such a nature that they jog your memory and get your thought process moving again.

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