Planning and Preparation

1.     Make sure you understand the assignment. Read it carefully. Underline key words.

a.     Who are you writing to? Your instructor? Your instructor and your peers? Or has your instructor defined a specific audience for this assignment?

b.     Why are you writing? Look for key words like summarize, analyze, compare, or persuade.

If you have questions about the assignment, ask your instructor!

For more information on Common Writing Assignments, see the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University, also known as “the OWL at Purdue.” 

You can use the Assignment Planner at the University of Kansas Writing Center website to schedule the steps in a particular assignment. 

2.     Start thinking!

·      Informal research can include reading an article in Wikipedia, asking a friend or relative for information, or discussing the topic with friends.

·      Think about what you already know from personal experience or other classes.

The University of Kansas Writing Center has good information on strategies for prewriting

3.     Generate ideas

Useful strategies include making lists, brainstorming, bubbling, freewriting, and asking the “5Ws.” The University of Kansas Writing Center provides more detail on these five useful strategies for generating content:

If you like the bubbling technique—drawing “thought bubbles” to visualize how your ideas relate to one another—you can try the free online tool called MindMeister

After you have spent time planning your paper, it's time to create a rough draft. Click here for resources about drafting your paper.