Understanding the Assignment
In order to write a successful paper, you must first understand
the assignment given by your instructor. It's worth the time to
take the following steps to ensure that your paper conforms with
your professor's expectations:
- Read the assignment prompt carefully. This is something that
should be done immediately, so that you know exactly what kind of
time and effort the assignment will require.
- If you are confused about a writing assignment, don't be afraid
to ask your professor for a clarification. Remember that your
instructor wants to see you do well and would rather not grade a
paper that doesn't match the prompt.
- Identify the different components of the prompt. Most
assignments contain the following elements:
- An overview of the topic
- Your writing task (look for verbs like analyze, compare,
connect, and explain)
- Questions to answer and suggestions for your approach (included
by the instructor to help you jump right in)
- Style and technical specifications.
- Answer the following questions about the assignment while
considering the point of view of your
- What is the purpose of the assignment?
- Who is your audience?
- How can you support your ideas?
- What writing style is appropriate?
- Avoid the following approaches:
- Spending too much time on titles and cover pages
- Using non-traditional fonts, margin, or line-spacing
- Recycling papers that you already completed for other
- Being overly creative and ambitious without acknowledging what
the assignment is calling for.