Assignment Research Calculator

Henry Madden Library

Step 7 - Write First Draft

Key Points
  1. Always write down where you found your information so you can properly cite the sources later in your paper.
  2. Choose a note-taking method that works for you.
  3. Understand the citation style you are using for this paper
  4. Understand the concept of Common Knowledge.

Handwritten Essay draft

You have now completed the necessary research to begin writing your paper. As you are working your way through Steps 1-6 it is important to take accurate notes, as this will save you time in the writing process. In addition, it is important to understand how to document the sources you are locating so you can properly cite them. We will go over the concept of "common knowledge" and how it relates to citing sources.

Several places on campus offer assistance to help you through the writing process.

The Writing Center offers different ways to help you through all stages of writing. They provide group peer-tutoring, one-on-one walk in assistance with feedback and tools to improve your writing, as well as the option to submit your papers for review online.

The Learning Center offers workshops that can help you throughout the writing process. These include time management, help with organization and study skills, as well as APA and MLA citation assistance.

Accurate Note Taking

Before beginning to write your paper, it is important to take accurate notes on your research. There is no one way to take excellent notes. Instead, personalize the process in a way that works for you.

Here are some examples of ways to take notes:

Tips for Accuracy

Contact the Reference Librarian if you need any additional help.

Accurate Documentation

Citing a source used for your paper documents that you found someone else's ideas valuable. This gives credit for original thought and actually strengthens your paper because it shows that you have done the research and are utilizing ideas from others.
If you knew a piece of information before you started doing research, generally you do not need to credit it. You also do not need to cite well-known facts such as dates. All other information such as quotations, statistics, and ideas should be cited in your paper.

Formats for citing (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) are consistent so that other researchers can quickly identify and easily locate the sources you used. Each format has its own style manual. Your instructor will probably recommend a particular style manual to use for your paper. Step 10 will go into more detail on citation styles.
There are two places in your paper that you must give documentation. One is In-text when you talk about or quote from your research. The second is at the end of the paper in a Works Cited or References or Bibliography page.

In-text Citations

There are three main styles you can use to properly document sources within the text of your paper. Here are three real life examples of the most popular citation styles:

"Citation style examples were gathered from the official website of Diana Hacker Handbooks"

Become familiar with the citation style you will need for your paper.

Essential information for citing a source

The more information the better while taking these notes. If you need any clarification on what these items are or where to locate them the reference librarian can help.

Here are some other things to think about while working on your paper and citing sources:

Direct Quotes

Paraphrasing the Research

Paraphrasing an idea requires a writer to not only change the words but also the structure of the sentence.

The author’s name needs to be attached somewhere within the idea you are writing about. Place it somewhere within the idea as part of the sentence or at the end of the sentence or paragraph.

Important Remember

If you find one or more words in the sentence you are paraphrasing to be important enough to quote you can always use both techniques.

Common Knowledge

Common Knowledge is information that is known and accepted within a particular social or academic community. Ask yourself:

Some examples of Common Knowledge:

Common knowledge does not need to be cited within your paper, but if you are not sure ***always cite the source. Also, even if it is common knowledge but you use a direct quote, you must cite the source.