Five Things To Do When Writing a Paper

April 27, 2007

Being once again in the thick of the grading task as another semester winds to a close, I find myself compelled to share five things that will ALWAYS improve a paper. So here we go…

1. Have a thesis, and articulate it clearly.
Your paper should say something, and the specific thing that you want to say should be carefully worded and laid out in the introductory section of your paper. A research paper is not a mystery novel. Let the reader know up front what your point is going to be.

2. Give the reader a preview of your argument.
In the introduction, after you share your thesis with the reader, give the reader a synopsis of how you are going to demonstrate the reliability of your thesis. Describe your unique approach, lines of argumentation, or something. Think of it as a roadmap to the remainder of your paper.

3. Wrap it all up at the end.
In the concluding section, repeat your thesis. Again, clarity is necessary here. Also recapitulate the major features of your argument (this is a review of the roadmap we encountered in number 2 above).

4. Ensure that the body of your paper supports your thesis.
Take a cold, hard look at the logical argument presented by the body of your paper. Does it really substantiate your claim? If it does not, you should rework it. Or change your thesis. Or both.

5. Pay attention to grammar and issues of form.
While this may not affect the strength of your argument or the clarity of your thesis, this one is dead easy. Use the spell check/grammar check in your word processor! You are not finished until you have reviewed every last question raised by the spell check/grammar check.
If your school requires compliance with certain rules of form (the ubiquitous Kate comes to mind here), then you would be wise to comply with those rules, especially insofar as citation references, block quotations, and bibliographic entries go. Check and double check them.
When I receive a paper that is full of errors related to spelling, grammar, or form, it makes me think the author simply did not care enough to use simple tools immediately at hand. This casts a pall over the evaluation of other factors. To borrow Nike’s catch phrase, just do it!


J. P. Moreland’s new book

April 27, 2007

Here is a link to his own blurb about it. Sounds great!

Official publisher’s blurb here.

N. T. Wright on C. S. Lewis

April 23, 2007

Here is Wright’s article from Touchstone magazine.

HT: Ross of Reason for the Hope Within

Around the Web

April 20, 2007

Christian philosopher/apologist Paul Copan has joined this blog.

J.P. Moreland, another great Christian philosopher/apologist, recently joined this blog.

Finally, Christian scholar William Lane Craig’s new website is finally up.

Wittgenstein on Heraclitus

April 15, 2007

“What we do is to bring words back from thier metaphysical to their normal use in language.  The man wh0 said that one cannot step twice into the same river, uttered a falsehood.  One can step twice into the same river.”

We spent nearly an hour in class the other day arguing over whether Wittgenstein was right to say this of Heraclitus.

Intelligent Design vs. Darwinism at SMU

April 11, 2007

This weekend, April 13-14, there will be a conference billed as Darwin vs. Design in the McFarlin Auditorium on Southern Methodist University’s campus. Featured speakers are Lee Strobel, Dr. Michael Behe, Dr. Stephen Meyer, and Dr. Jay W. Richards. If you’re able to make it, you won’t be dissapointed.

What makes this even more interesting are the Darwinists’ lame attempts to prevent the conference from happening. According to Bruce Champman, President of the Discovery Institute, Read the rest of this entry »


April 8, 2007

“But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.”