Mistake # 1. Poor structure
Any academic paper will look unprofessional if it lacks a clear structure. Normally your paper must have an introduction, main body, conclusions and references.
The introduction is discussed in Mistake # 2.
For some types of papers (research papers, business plans etc.) table of contents, abstract or executive summary may be required.
The body of a research paper will include the following sections: literature review, methods, results, discussion, limitations and areas for further research, and, finally, conclusions and recommendations.
The body of an argumentative essay will analyze available data, raise and discuss counterarguments, and provide evidence to support your thesis statement.
Your conclusion must sum up your paper. It goes back to your thesis statement and reasserts it. Please, avoid introducing any new thoughts, ideas or facts in your conclusion. Whatever you mention in the conclusion should have been at least briefly discussed in the body of the paper.
Here are several general tips to improve the structure of your paper:
✓ Divide your text into paragraphs. The block of text that occupies the whole page renders your paper unreadable.
✓ Your paragraphs must be linked, so that a reader could easily follow your thoughts. Each point you discuss must logically lead the following one. That is why it is recommended to draft an outline before writing a paper itself.
✓ Please, use subheadings to make it easier for the reader to navigate in your paper. That is especially important for long papers.
Please, make sure you know what structure is required for your order. If you feel uncertain, google and search for examples and explanations.
Mistake # 2. Weak introduction
Many writers start their papers with several generic and repetitive sentences, which fail to reflect any position. They are unlikely to make the reader interested in the remainder of your work.
You must structure your introduction carefully. Purdue OWL recommends the following general components:
✓ Introduce your topic – Do not make this part long. One or two sentences normally will suffice. You can start, for instance, with providing the required definitions.
✓ Create interest – Describe the problem/issue/controversy that exist in relation to your topic. Make it clear why it is important or interesting.
✓ Provide necessary background information – Here you can very briefly mention any recent developments or researches.
✓ Identify your main idea – It may be your thesis statement, key argument or statement of purpose. Keep it clear and concise.
✓ Preview the rest of your essay – Inform the reader about the structure of your paper. You may use the phrases like “this paper is structured as follows…”
Mistake # 3. Wordiness
Academic work is to be concise and formal. Sentences must be no longer than 30 words. If the sentences cannot be broken down into two, use the correct punctuation.
Sometimes the writers may use some phrases, which contribute no informational value to the paper, just to increase their word count. Please, bear in mind that it makes your paper look unprofessional. Avoid those phrases at all costs.
Mistake # 5. Repetitions
Please, do not repeat yourself. Avoid mentioning same ideas many times or using “as was already said.” Develop your thought instead of running in circles around one phrase.
Do not repeat same words several times within one paragraph if you can find synonyms or omit them. Compare two paragraphs below:
Practitioners in Europe and the U.S. recently have proposed two distinct approaches to address what they believe are shortcomings of traditional budgeting practices. One approach advocates improving the budgeting process and primarily focuses on the planning problems related to it.
The other approach suggests abandoning the budget and mainly focuses on the performance evaluation problems. This paper provides an overview and research perspective on these two recent developments (Hansen et al., 2003, p. 95).
Practitioners in Europe and the U.S. recently have proposed two distinct approaches to address what they believe are shortcomings of traditional budgeting practices. The first approach to traditional budgeting advocates that budgeting must be improved, and focuses on the planning problems with budgeting.
The second approach to traditional budgeting advocates abandoning the budget and primarily focuses on the performance evaluation problems. This paper provides an overview and research perspective on these two approaches to budgeting (Hansen et al., 2003, p. 95).
Mistake # 6. Charts and pictures with no captions
All charts and pictures must have appropriate captions. If you have borrowed that chart or picture from some source, make sure you also reference it. Unreferenced charts or pictures, just like unreferenced text, are considered plagiarism.
Mistake # 7. Absence or improper use of in-text citations
Each reference from your reference list (works cited page) must have a corresponding in-text citation. Each format has some specific requirements. There are many things to keep in mind. For instance,
✓ You are required to indicate a page number in any in-text citation in MLA format. Example: (Smith 76).
✓ Do not mention all the authors in the in-text citation if there are more than 3 of them. Use “et al.” instead. Example: (Brown et al., 2007).
✓ Do not include initials of the authors in in-text citation if you write in APA or MLA.
Please, bear in mind that correct in-text citations are just as important as correct references. Check our guides or google to find examples if you have any difficulties.
Mistake # 8. Improper references to electronic sources
It is a tricky task to reference a website in an appropriate manner. You may be confused if there is no author or date. It is often impossible to indicate a page number for direct quotation. That is also inconvenient for MLA, since you have to provide a page number for each in-text citation. Please, consult online guides for APA, MLA, Harvard or google any other format you need. Remember that you must use only credible websites.
Mistake # 9. Inserting links to our system into your reference list
Very often, you will have to use the sources uploaded in the system by the client. Naturally, you must reference them and provide corresponding in-text citations. However, you must NOT insert the links to our system in your reference list! Please, find an appropriate reference of the book/article online or ask the client to clarify how you must reference that source. In case of lecture notes, provide the name/number of the lecture, a year and an author (if known). Before using lecture notes in your reference list, ask the client if you can do so. It may be possible that the lecture notes have been sent to you for guidance only, not as a valid source.