How to Create a Writing Schedule for a Research Paper

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How to Create a Writing Schedule for a Research Paper"

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© Ugur Akinci

WRITING SCHEDULE – This is one of the most important steps in the whole process of writing a Research Paper and probably you won’t read about in any other source on the topic either.

Most of the panic and mental agitation that students feel when writing a research paper (or "term paper") is because they lack a writing schedule with a clear START and FINISH date on the calendar.

Setting those dates and all the milestones in between on a calendar in advance programs your subconscious mind to do what it must do to deliver the goods on time. Otherwise one thing leads to another and after having spent precious time chasing after all kinds of distractions and false starts you realize the semester is over and you’re sitting there with nothing.

I know the sense of dread and panic that sets in very well because that's exactly how I felt early in my university career until I realized the importance of working with a strict schedule.

Have mercy on yourself and prepare a WRITING SCHEDULE and hang it on your wall, ceiling, refrigerator door or wherever you can see it easily all day long.



Here are the CRITICAL DATES you should include in the schedule:

* START brainstorming and researching your topic. (For example: September 24)

* START OUTLINING.

* FINISH selecting a TOPIC (approved by your instructor).

* FINISH OUTLINING.

* FINISH the THESIS STATEMENT (approved by your instructor).

* START RESEARCHING the primary and secondary SOURCES.

* START WRITING the FIRST DRAFT.

* SUBMIT the First Draft for FIRST REVIEW.

* RECEIVE the First Draft from First Review.

* FINISH incorporating the First Review feedback. Write and submit the SECOND DRAFT for SECOND REVIEW.

* RECEIVE the Second Draft from Second Review.

* FINISH incorporating the Second Review feedback into the FINAL DRAFT. Set it aside for at least one day.

* START PROOFREADING your research paper. Make the necessary content, grammar and content corrections.

* FINISH PROOFREADING your research paper.

* DEADLINE – FINAL date for turning in the FINAL DRAFT. (For example: January 18)

IMPORTANT NOTE: In most cases there won't be any first or second review cycles.

If you are writing the research paper for a typical undergraduate class, for example, once you consult with your professor about the topic and how to approach it and perhaps also talk things over about the methods and references, you'll be out on your own to write just one draft and submit it at the end of the semester.

In those cases your First draft will also be your Final Draft, with no review cycles separating them. In that case you should revise your writing schedule as follows:

REVISED SHORTER SCHEDULE for a typical UNDERGRADUATE Research Paper:

* START brainstorming and researching your topic. (For example: September 24)

* START OUTLINING.

* FINISH selecting a TOPIC (approved by your instructor).

* FINISH OUTLINING.

* FINISH the THESIS STATEMENT (approved by your instructor).

* START RESEARCHING the primary and secondary SOURCES.

* START WRITING.

* FINISH WRITING. Set it aside for at least one day.

* START PROOFREADING your research paper. Make the necessary content, grammar and content corrections.

* FINISH PROOFREADING your research paper.

* DEADLINE – FINAL date for turning in the Research Paper. (For example: January 18)

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