Section 4.5: Writing to Style | Research


Fundamentals of Social Research

Adam J. McKee, Ph.D.


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This section will enhance your knowledge of how to write using a style guide, and consider some ways to improve your writing.

The Structure of a Paper

There is plenty of room to add your unique voice to your writing projects, but some expectations of the reader must be met before your writing project can be considered a success.  An important rule of effective writing is do not confuse the reader.  An important skill of the writer is being able to provide roadmaps and signposts throughout a paper so that the reader does not get lost.  A key element of providing this direction is the structure of your paper.

The first few paragraphs of a paper should always serve as an introduction.  The introduction is the stage where the reader should be informed as to what the paper is all about.  In other words, tell your readers what you are going to tell them. If you followed the excellent practice of outlining your paper before you begin writing, check to see that your introduction covers the major topic headings that you will cover.  Do not go overboard with the introduction; it should take up only around 10% of your total length. If your paper leads to a specific task, such as testing a hypothesis, state so explicitly in your introduction.

There are many ways to organize a paper.  When writing a literature review, take care to organize your information topically.  An outline is invaluable for this purpose.

Modification History

File Created:  07/25/2018

Last Modified:  07/25/2018

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This work is licensed under an Open Educational Resource-Quality Master Source (OER-QMS) License.

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