In fall 2013, a record 21.8 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities (National, n.d). A vast majority of these students will be recently graduated high school students. While a smaller group of these student will be adult learners over the age of 25. Both of these groups are going to face the same challenges in their studies. High school prepares Students for the rigorous classes in college, but most of what they teach is just the basic skills needed for college. One of the biggest obstacles for freshman students, adult learners, as well as some returning students is the challenge of writing college level papers. Professors will expect more than general high school writing and as a serious student, they should strive to deliver what is expected of them. With the focus and proper planning any student can overcome this task with ease. Therefore, what does it take to become an effective college writer in the demanding college environment?
One of the first steps students need to do when writing a paper is to find sources to support their subject. The sources they use can be found in many different places. Once they have their topic, visit a local library, or start up an internet browser. When looking for resources, focus on questions such as “what am I looking for?” or “what is my main thesis.” Most inexperienced college writers often make the mistake of taking the first source they find, and using it as their main or only source. Students should always use more than one source, so that their point can be explained in a simple, yet versatile, understanding manor. (Turabian, 2010) states “The appropriate kind of evidence is crucial in your information: primary, secondary, and tertiary” (p.45). As students do their research, they should try to focus on finding the primary source of the information being citied. This may not always be possible due to the fact the primary sources report is not well distributed. The primary source is the person who first made the observations or found the results. Secondary sources can be described as the person who wrote their view of the primary sources observations and results. Lastly, the tertiary sources are the sources that support their view on the secondary sources findings. Tertiary sources should only be used for a general overview of you subject matter. As can be seen the further away the student gets from the original source, there is a possibility that the results can be skewed. This will result in the facts being changed by personal inference of the source author.
Once the students have found the information that they want to use, the next step that students need to do is to ask themself “Is this source scholarly?” There are a few key ways to tell if the source is scholarly or not:
Always cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. They are written by an authority or expert in the field whose credentials are prominently stated. They often have a...