Here are a few tips to consider as you work your way through Unit 6.
Tip One: Narrow your topic. A common problem with report writing is choosing a subject that is too broad. When you narrow your subject, research becomes more focused and productive. For example, if your student wants to write a 5-paragraph report on cats, this subject needs to be narrowed down. Perhaps your student could choose to write about Persian cats, which is a popular breed. If your student expresses interest in the Civil War, maybe choose a specific battle or general, instead of trying to write about the entire war. If your subject is Robert E. Lee, your topics might be his childhood, his career at West Point, and his involvement in the Civil War. Narrowing your subject is important and will help both the research and writing process.
Tip Two: Research thoroughly. Many students are eager to start the writing process and do not spend enough time in the research phase. If you are an advanced student, although you cannot write everything there is to know about the topic, always look at more sources than the required number to make sure you have found enough information on your topic. Remember that not all sources are accurate and worthy of being used in your report. Avoid quoting or taking information from blogs or Wikipedia.
Make sure websites are credible, and if something sounds questionable, verify the information by looking for the same information in another source.
Tip Three: Make a plan. This can be a very overwhelming stage of the report-writing process. You have a narrowed subject, and you have a pile of credible research; now the writing task lurks before you. However, this does not have to be an overwhelming phase if you take the time to make an outline. Your outline will help keep you on track and organize your thoughts. The time spent planning will be time saved in the end.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful as you write from multiple sources. For detailed instructions on summarizing multiple references, refer to Units 4 and 6 in Teaching Writing: Structure and Style and your Student Writing Intensive.
Congratulations to our student writers who are published in this newsletter:
Thank you to all the students who submitted their work to our Unit 6 newsletter. Keep writing and submit again!
Megan L. Horst