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What are some tips for creating academic documents?

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Quick Answer

Starting sufficiently early is important when creating an academic document. Authors should allow time for outlining, writing the first draft and executing needed revisions. Thirty days of preparation is ideal for creating an academic research paper, which runs an average of 10 to 20 pages long. One week is the bare minimum needed to create a document of this type. An organized schedule can help the academic author make the most of available time.

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Each author should draft a writing schedule in advance, leaving enough time for materials-gathering and library outings. It is generally advisable to avoid late-night writing sessions. Every excellent academic paper has a specific, compelling thesis statement, an introductory question the paper proposes to answer. Simple, narrowly-focused thesis statements are ideal, since it is easier to research a narrowly-defined topic.

When writing an academic document requires library research, the author should promptly gain familiarity with the appropriate libraries, reference materials and library technologies. Reference librarians can provide input to speed up this process. Taking reference notes on index cards is a time-honored tradition in academic document writing. Authors should fact-check their papers before submission to ferret out inaccurate statistics and quotations. Though relevant quotes are useful, quotes should never comprise more than 15 percent of any paper.

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