Research: How to Begin

by Jacky Killian



An imposing word. An imperative for academic writing. And for science. And history. And business. Research is a cornerstone of writing no matter what major or field a person is in. It can be conducted poorly or conducted well. Woe unto the poorly conducted research and those who practice it, for their house of arguments and analyses will fall apart when the inspector knocks on the door.  

How does one conduct research well?  Continue reading “Research: How to Begin”


Doing a final project instead of a final paper? The Writing Center can help!

Students tend to have the perception that the Writing Center is all about papers and essays, because, well, they’re the primary form of writing that we do in the academy. But while we’re here to help you develop and polish your essays, we can also help you with any writing you’re doing for your final, even if it’s not a formal essay. Continue reading “Doing a final project instead of a final paper? The Writing Center can help!”

He Said, She Said: Quoting and Paraphrasing

A few weeks ago, in the blog “Research: Wading Through Sources” (found here:, I talked about how to choose sources for your paper and to think of your writing as “joining in a conversation” with scholars. Now, I’d like to share some tips for actually integrating those sources. There are a lot of things to cover on this topic, so I’m going to share what you will most likely be using and the areas where I see the most issues in student papers. Continue reading “He Said, She Said: Quoting and Paraphrasing”

If This, Then That: Structuring an Argument

Arguing is a part of life 

Structuring an argument is actually very simple. We do it all the time! Note the structures of the following statements:

  1. La La Land is one of the best movies of the year; it won 5 oscars and was nominated for 14!
  2. As a film critic who has viewed many musicals over the past ten years, La La Land is the best I’ve seen.
  3. La La Land will make you laugh, cry, and sing. You’ll want to put on your tap shoes and dance all the way to LA.

Continue reading “If This, Then That: Structuring an Argument”

Loosing the Chains of the Thesis Statement

What is a thesis? 

A necessary evil?

A helpful tool for generating writing?

A sentence at the end of the introduction that tells the reader what you will be arguing?

Whatever you call it, a thesis statement, while useful in many ways, can be debilitating to the author if seen as a solid thing that cannot be budged. An author who writes a thesis before writing anything else—maybe even before researching—may feel the need to keep that thesis no matter what other ideas or rabbit trails they wish to discover in their writing process. Continue reading “Loosing the Chains of the Thesis Statement”

Research: Wading Through Sources

For reference on when to start your paper and how to choose a topic, see the following post from last week:


Research can be an arduous, time-consuming thing, but it can also be a fascinating process if you’ve chosen a topic you are interested in. Continue reading “Research: Wading Through Sources”

What Should I Write About?

Brainstorming can be an easy or difficult task depending on your level of excitement about an assignment, your existing knowledge, your timeline, and other factors. While you may feel that a topic is something that floats around until it finally settles into your mind, ready to be written, or that, on the contrary, it is something you chase after but remains out of reach, there are actually many techniques you can practice to pin that topic to the ground. Continue reading “What Should I Write About?”