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Paper Goals:

  1. The purpose of any paper is to present a new idea. Coming up with this idea is the first step of writing a paper and is often, as I've found, half the battle.

  2. The next step is to write an introductory paragraph. It should begin with an interesting fact, quote, or something the reader can relate to; in short, it should "grab" the reader's attention. In general, this paragraph will serve to introduce the topic of the paper.

  3. The last 1-2 sentences of the introductory paragraph should make up the thesis statement, which will state exactly what it is the author is attempting to prove by writing the paper. The thesis should also be arguable, meaning that it could plausibly be argued against. (For example, "The earth is round" is NOT an arguable thesis, while "NASA is not a worthwhile investment of economic resources" IS an arguable thesis.)

  4. The idea, or thesis, must then be proven. This is done in the body paragraphs, which make up a majority of the paper, and methods vary based on the type of paper being written (see "Paper Types" to the left for more information).

  5. Finally, the paper should end with a concluding paragraph. This will restate the thesis and goal of the paper, ideally in a creative way, and should sum up everything by introducing a new idea or implication of the paper's conclusions.