Sample Schedule for Writing a Research Paper

Making a schedule for your writing process and sticking to it can help you write an effective paper. Note that the sample schedule below includes several reminders to print and backup drafts. You may want to back up your work even more often. Label your backup diskette and keep it in a safe place. Also, note that this sample schedule has the writer complete the paper several days before the actual due date. This cushion allows the writer to cope with emergencies, such as empty print cartridges and unexpected personal obligations.

Research Stage (Week 1)

  1. Using research databases and bibliographies as guides, find and photocopy 10 relevant, credible sources. If necessary, order items through interlibrary loan. (Tuesday)
  2. Read sources and take notes in outline function. Set up an interview, survey, or observation. (Wednesday)
  3. Read sources and take notes in outline function. (Thursday)
  4. Conduct an interview, survey, or observation. Transfer your notes to your outline. (Friday)

Writing Stage (Week 2)

  1. Write a working claim and organize your outline. (Monday)
  2. Write the background paragraph. Cut sentences from the outline and paste them into a draft. Add a topic sentence and transitions. (Tuesday)
  3. Write the first section of your argument. Cut sentences from the outline and paste them into a draft. Add topic sentences and transitions. (Wednesday)
  4. Write the second section of your argument. Cut sentences from the outline and paste them into a draft. Add topic sentences and transitions. (Thursday)
  5. Write the third section of your argument. Cut sentences from the outline and paste them into a draft. Add topic sentences and transitions. Print your draft and make a backup copy on diskette. (Friday)

Revision Stage (Week 3)

  1. Read entire draft and fill gaps in support. If possible, solicit criticism from a reader. (Monday)
  2. Read entire draft and improve organization. If possible, solicit criticism from a reader. (Tuesday)
  3. Read entire draft and improve clarity of paragraphs and sentences. If possible, solicit criticism from a reader. (Wednesday)
  4. Write introduction and conclusion. If possible, solicit criticism from a reader. (Thursday)
  5. Read entire draft and improve style. If possible, solicit criticism from a reader. Print your draft and make a backup copy on diskette. (Friday)

Proofreading Stage (Week 4)

  1. Proofread draft for grammatical errors. (Monday)
  2. Proofread draft for errors in punctuation and mechanics. (Tuesday)
  3. Proofread draft for spelling and typographical errors. (Wednesday)
  4. Set margins, add page numbers, and otherwise format draft. Make backup copy on diskette. Print two copies of final draft and place one in notebook. (Thursday)
  5. Turn in final draft to instructor. (Friday)

 

Updated August 17, 1999 | University of North Carolina at Pembroke
© Mark Canada, 1999 | canada@sassette.uncp.edu

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