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How to start writing an assignment

When faced with a new assignment, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Where do you even begin? UK Writings assignment service recommends breaking the process down into manageable steps and setting aside time to tackle each one, so you can set yourself up for success.

Understand the Assignment Requirements 

The very first thing you need to do when starting an assignment is ensure you understand what is being asked of you. Read through the assignment brief carefully, making note of:

  • The type of assignment (essay, report, literature review etc.)
  • Word count or page length requirements
  • Submission format (printed, online via portal etc.)
  • Marking criteria and percentages
  • Referencing style to be used
  • Deadline and late submission policies

Getting very clear on the precise assignment requirements from the start will help you stay focused. If anything is unclear, don’t hesitate to approach your professor and ask for clarification right away. It’s much easier to realign early than try to retrofit once you’ve already started writing.

Perform Preliminary Research 

With assignment parameters firmly understood, now you can start some broad research around the general topic area. Scan journal databases, library catalogues, course materials and reliable websites to gain background knowledge.

At this stage you likely won’t have a specific thesis statement or focused research question guiding you. Instead, read widely to soak up vocabulary, theories, major debates, seminal studies and other foundational concepts related to the topic. Pay attention to sources mentioned frequently—these are likely “key players” you’ll want to reference later.

As you conduct this initial research, start bookmarking any materials that look potentially relevant for further reading. RefWorks, Mendeley, Zotero and EndNote are handy bibliographic management tools that help you organize sources.

Formulate a Clear Focus

Okay, you’ve oriented yourself broadly to the general subject matter. Now it’s time to narrow your focus to the specific issue, debate or hypothesis you want to address in detail through this assignment.

Identify a specific, manageable research question, argument or problem area that piques your interest. Carefully reread the assignment instructions—does your intended focus actually align? You may need to refine to stay within set parameters.

Keep your focus crisp and coherent, not broad and fuzzy. A sharp research question, hypothesis or stated position gives direction. It clarifies exactly what you are arguing for or against, investigating, or seeking to prove or disprove. This tight focus guides which evidence you gather moving forward.

Assemble Relevant Evidence 

Now construct an issue-specific information base aligned to your stated focus. Seek out about 8-15 quality sources such as peer reviewed journals, scholarly books, reputable reports and primary evidence to build your case.

Ideally gather a mix of seminal works and cutting edge studies. Varied source types strengthen arguments by offering multiple lenses and avoiding overreliance on a single publication or author. Literature reviews in particular require breadth of perspective.

Assess each source carefully regarding credibility, strengths/limits of methodology, substantiated conclusions, potential biases etc. Look for well-designed research and robust evidence over unverified claims or speculative commentary.

Take detailed notes on relevant facts, findings, methodologies, recommendations etc. Accuracy and attention to detail at this key stage pays dividends later when incorporating evidence into your writing. Record all bibliographic details for referencing.

Make an Outline 

Now synthesize analyzed evidence to map out a logical structure for presenting what you’ve discovered. Group sets of evidence under each planned section heading. Cheap essay services advise organizing your outline logically with clear section headings to guide the flow of information.

Decide which points go where based on a coherent flow and sequence. You may need to revisit your initial focus/argument to refine in light of emerging findings.

Headings help signpost purpose of each section. For example: Introduction, Background, Literature Review, Methodology, Results, Analysis, Discussion, Limitations of Study, Recommendations for Further Research, Conclusion. Adjust to suit assignment type.

The outline provides an overview of planned content, but remains flexible as a guide which can be modified as the writing process evolves.

Set a Timeline 

Knowing the scope of work involved, break project down into stages aligned to your schedule. Factor in:

  • Deadline
  • Allowance for revisions/editing
  • Other assessments or commitments

Avoid an overly ambitious timeline that gets derailed when the inevitable competing demands arise. Budget extra time buffers for the unforeseen. Establish milestone check-ins to tick off progress.

Use timer apps for time-boxing chunks of distraction-free writing time. Turn off notifications. Identify optimal times and places conducive for you to write productively.

Start Writing

The preparatory heavy lifting now gives you freedom to commence drafting your assignment, using researched evidence to back assertions. Goal is to get words flowing without self-editing prematurely.

Focus first on getting ideas down effectively. Structure in references, examples and data to build an evidentiary base. But leave sentence refinements for later editing passes. You can tidy prose once core content is fleshed out.

Save continuously as you write to avoid heartbreak if technology fails you. Backup regularly to external drives and cloud storage. Setup folder structures and version control to stay organized.

Reflect assignment parameters in writing style choices. Adopt formal, scholarly language and objective tone unless creative expressions specifically sought. Saint the audience and purpose by maintaining appropriate voice.

Finalize references as you go. Precise in-text citations strengthen credibility. Confirm styling matches specified referencing system.

Review and Revise 

With first draft completed, run a systematic review process to improve draft quality before submission.

Scrutinize against marking criteria—have you demonstrably fulfilled each requirement? Assess if arguments expressed logically flow. Have you presented a convincing and well-evidenced case?

Refine phrasing where awkward while retaining meaning and textual coherency. Verify accuracy of statements against evidence sources. Insert missing information where gaps appear.

Run grammar and plagiarism checks. Fix errors but avoid over-reliance on auto-correct suggestions which may inaccurately change intended meaning.

Set draft aside for a day or two if possible then revisit with fresh eyes. More flaws and refinement opportunities will emerge from this distance.

Keep fine-tuning until satisfied you have put forth your best possible submission in the time allowed.

Submit and Debrief

With meticulous final checks completed, submit professionally presented work per outlined instructions and on schedule. Reattach rubric and requirements to ease markers assessing appropriateness of what you have produced.

After assignments are returned, reflect on personalized feedback to inform future writing endeavors. Clarify anything you don’t understand. Be proactive in seeking guidance around strengthening writing skills. Consider feedback a valuable stepping stone towards ongoing growth and improvement over time.

Staying on top of assignments need not be painful. While tackling large projects can feel overwhelming, by dividing into smaller sequential tasks momentum builds. Consistent effort avoiding last minute panics can make the process feel smoother. Pat yourself on the back for progress made so far—you’ve got this!

About the author

Jack Reuben Fletcher

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