Wednesday, February 10, 2010
How to Write a Thesis/Research Paper/Term Paper in 5 Hours or Less
Procrastination, how do I love thee. Let me count the ways! I love thee for the episodes of Castle I've never missed. I love thee for the books I read when I should have been working. And I love thee for the hours and hours of sleep I would never have gotten if it hadn't been for you.
"Why do today what you can put off 'til tomorrow?"
Most of all, I love thee for the way you've forced me to hone my research and writing skills so I can produce top quality research papers in a mere fraction of the time it should have taken me to earn an A…or even a C!
"Procrastination is suicide on the installment plan."
Ladies and gentlemen, how often have you blown off homework in favor of doing something more exciting, like watching paint dry? No names, please, I'd hate to have to pretend I know about this! Unless you're one of the thousands of students who farm out their research papers to professional writers who may or may not know what they're talking about, you've inevitably found yourself scrambling to slip a paper past your professor's nose at the 11th hour.
Now, you can take that C and be grateful you didn't fail (believe me, I've been there!). That's a perfectly acceptable option. However, if you have a vested interest in keeping your financial aid you can consume massive quantities of Mountain Dew, kick your brain up on high and crank out a paper that's going to leave your drinking buddies wondering what you've got on your professor when you walk out the door with the highest grade in the class!
**Caffeinated coffee, Coke and Pepsi may be substituted for Mountain Dew if it generates a similar response in the "ability to go for days with no sleep" section of your brain. If you don't do caffeine, forget it. You're already doomed!**
First, forget about doing research and taking notes. You don't have time for that. You're either going to have to beat up the geek down the hall and steal theirs (which only works once, since they learn to keep a falsified set of documents after that) or do your research on the fly. Keep your book close at hand, and go to Google and type in your keywords as you go along. The 'net will keep spitting out information, your book will keep falling in line, and you'll keep adding pages to your work.
~If you happen to have a draft outline of your paper telling you what key points you want to hit, now's the time to break it out. Being able to plug and chug can save you whole minutes of critical thinking!~
Write your introduction first, and just keep going. This is no time to edit! This is blogging at the professional level. The idea is to get all the information on paper as quickly as possible. Think of it as grabbing a box of puzzle pieces and dumping them out on the table. You're going to need to sort them all out eventually, but it's a lot faster to dump and sort in bulk than to try and do it a little piece at a time.
"Anyone can do any amount of work providing it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment."
Finally, my personal favorite-Create your reference list as you go along. If you put a quote in your paper, hop on down to your reference list before you write another word. This saves you from a) having to go back and find all your references all over again when you're done, and b) having to change quotes and information because you can't find the source you used in the first place. (I really, really HATE when that happens!)
NOW go back through and fix every time you spelled "THE" as TEH and AND as ADN. Trust me, they're there! Don't trust your spell check unless you're in a HUGE hurry, because it's never going to catch everything. Make sure you're using the right formatting (MLA vs. APA) and that your flow of ideas makes sense. Read it through three times, twice to make changes and a third time to make sure you didn't miss anything. Then print and submit!
Bonus Points: If you're like me and you're absolutely incapable of bullshitting your way to 20 pages of information when 15 will do, you can stretch the length of your paper and earn yourself some extra bonus points by adding graphics, tables, charts and quotes anywhere they apply. Professors love the dramatic tie-in of visual media and direct referencing, and you'll love their ability to plug in the gap when you run out of things to say and don't want to start babbling like a loon.
Of course, there's a time and a place for babbling too. You did say you were majoring in psychology, didn't you?
"Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday."