AT&D #7. How do you prepare to write a paper?

How do you prepare to write a paper? Do you consider the scope, the context, and the needs of the reader? If yes, how? If no, why not? How do you narrow the purpose of your paper? How do you go about organizing a paper?

When writing a paper, I definitely consider scope, context and the needs of a reader as important qualities to maintain throughout. In regards to scope, having the versatility and varied use of vocabulary, tone and structural flow is necessary in keeping a reader interested and on top of what is being read from paragraph to paragraph. Even more important is context, which is inarguably the most significant part of writing an effective paper.

Not only does context relate a paper’s wording and points to its title, but it also instills a sense of relevance in what is being read, in the manner of what a writer has intended to be written; otherwise, without context, a reader could be thrown off in determining what a plot or argument may be, especially if there are too many of them, too little of them, or unrelated information that is unnecessary which ultimately leads to a reader not receiving the author’s intended message and / or moral of a paper. This relates to how a writer has to tend to the needs of an audience, or the readers, which is equally as important. After all, half of a writer’s goal in writing a paper or a short subject is to transcribe their experiences or words of knowledge in a tangible format; a format that is easily accessible in the form of reading.

This leads into the other half of a writer’s goal: to have their work read and understood by people that can either relate to or agree / disagree with because it shows how a writer can express their ideas to an audience that can take in what they already put out. In addition, what I have learned recently is to express ideas from both sides of an argument, for example in a research / persuasive paper, where even if a writer like myself is vocal on one idea, one can still illustrate an understanding and compromise on the other end, in an attempt to be fair and in-discriminatory to all readers – a tactic that should be adopted by all writers demonstrating good use of attending to the needs of a reader or reading audience.

In regards to preparing the writing of a paper, I was initially taught in grade school to outline the major details of what is to be written (introductory paragraph, body paragraphs and main points, and conclusion). As I advanced through high school and entered college, I learned to focus more on outlining a simple structure of a paper by providing myself bullet points of every paragraph and every important point of each argument or topic paragraph I had thought out. This certainly helped me in narrowing the purpose of my paper as structuring it via an outline presented an opportunity in choosing a thesis, where its details led the way for topic sentences and where each topic sentence paved the way for a full paragraph illustrating a specific detail from the thesis statement.

Not only did following this model help me narrow down what I needed to include regarding details (as too many of them is not good unless writing a thesis paper) but also helped me with organizing my paper on a paragraph to paragraph structure. In doing so, I would be able to rely on an outline that guides me to what I need to write based on what details and ideas I had jotted down and even now, as I continue to write papers, I still mostly follow this method (including the aforementioned ones already talked about in this prompt).

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