Frequently Asked Writing Questions

A

Most college papers need a thesis that argues a point that can be proven or demonstrated with evidence in the paper. Use this worksheet to help see if  the paper has the points, evidence, and analysis to prove the thesis. Structure of an Essay

A

A thesis statement not only summarizes the main idea of your paper, it also establishes a boundary around the subject and guides the writer and the reader. Find out more about thesis statements.

A

To focus a research topic, a researcher needs to narrow in on what specifically interests them about the topic and what question they might be trying to address. For a list of questions to guide this process see The Researched Essay: From General Subject to Essay Topic.

A

While reviewing your writing, check all the components—your titles, introductions, thesis statement, paragraphs, flow, tone and conclusion. To encourage revision-provoking questions for each of these sections see this list of considerations.

A

There are many elements to the writing process and not all of them occur linearly or just once. Revision is examining the larger frame of the writing and arguments. When you revise, you may restructure or re-write ideas or entire sections of your writing or you may change the tone, structure, or content to better suit your audience and writing context. Editing often combines both the higher-order or global work of revision, as well as the lower-order or local work of proofreading. Proofreading involves a final review of the local elements of an essay such as grammar, punctuation, word choice, citation conventions, etc. To make sure you are addressing each of these important steps in the writing process see Revision, Editing and Proofreading: What’s the Difference? 

You may also want to learn more about the writing process and how writing instructors teach student writers by reviewing Dartmouth College’s resource on teaching writing as a process

A

You can use the go/guides link to find subject guides and encyclopedias for each department as well as how to find, use and site resources. These are great references when conducting research. Librarians can always give you more advice on finding background information as well.

Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research
Davis Family Library, Suite 225
Middlebury, VT 05753

ctlr@middlebury.edu
(802) 443-3131