Library Notes for Political Science

Teaching resources, news, and links to keep McGill’s Political Scientists informed

Assignment calculator

Posted by Megan on February 28, 2010

Now that reading week has come and gone, term paper season is nigh. And it’s a good time to break out the library’s assignment calculator. The “Five Steps to a Better Paper” tool is designed to help with time management panic. Students can type in the due date of an assignment to plan out a timeline for each step of the research process. More, importantly, the web page includes links with resources for each stage (reproduced below).

Step 1

Knowing what you need – this is where to start!

Step  1
  • Read the assignment carefully, check the length required, and the deadline.
  • Make a list of questions as you read the assignment.
  • Brainstorm and generate ideas on your topic. Free think. Free write.

Step 2

Finding what you need

Step 2

Step 3

Evaluating what you find

Step 3
  • While reading, keep your topic in mind. Find alternative perspectives.
  • Evaluate your sources. Check the quality of the content.
  • Take notes as you read. Keep your notes simple and organized. <!–Use the Library’s DocLink(“ResearchLog.doc”); .–>

Step 4

Writing a draft

Step 4
  • Outline your approach to the assignment question.
  • Concentrate on getting your ideas on to paper.
  • Link statements with supporting evidence.

Step 5

Making the final product

Step 5
  • Critique your work. Cut unnecessary sentences.
  • Look at the wording, grammar, and the flow of ideas.
  • Proofread after completing all your revisions.

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