Helix Library


Organizing researched information into a logical, well-written paper takes time, but these resources can make your life easier: 


Helix Style Manual (log in with your Helix Google account) 

Purdue OWL: the Online Writing Lab is one of the best writing resources available online. This guide, written for students in grades 7-12, will help you through every stage of the writing process. 


tip one: thoroughly research your topic

If you don't understand what you're writing about, it's difficult to write a good paper. Do background reading. Make sure that you've not only found sources with some good quotes, but that you understand what the sources are saying about your topic. Before you start writing, research any areas that you're still uncertain about, even if you already have "enough" sources to fill a Works Cited page. This will save you a lot of time once you sit down to write, and will make it much easier to construct an argument and thoughtfully analyze any evidence you've found. 


tip two: plan before you write

Do you have a thesis? Do you have clear claims to support that thesis? Do you have strong evidence to support each of your claims? If you've outlined your claims and the evidence you'll use to support them, your paper will be better organized and more coherent to readers. Taking a "stream of consciousness" approach to writing (letting the ideas just "flow" as they come to you) usually results in disorganized papers that are confusing to read. 


tip three: leave time to edit 

Even the best writers rarely write great first drafts. Writing is a process, and it takes time to fine-tune a paper. If you give yourself time to reflect on what you've written - and how to make it better - you'll end up with a much better paper. And, while having other people read your paper can be very valuable, don't rely on others to edit your work. You should always read and edit your own paper several times before it's done. (Bonus tip: the more you read, the better you'll get at editing!)