Essays & Research Papers

Missouri S&T Writing Center Help Documents

Summary‌  The ability to summarize clearly and concisely is important to many writing tasks. This quick guide offers some hints to help you summarize effectively.

Sample Summary‌  This document includes a brief text with notes identifying its essential features and provides a sample summary incorporating these features. Use it as a model when you have to summarize the words of others in your own writing.

Thesis Statements‌  A strong thesis statement is key to any successful essay or research paper. This guide explains what a good thesis statement is and identifies many common problems with them.

Transition Words‌ We often hear that a good paper flows well, but what does that mean? Among other things, it means that the author employs clear, logical transitions between the elements of an argument. This handout offers a list of useful transition words organized by logical function to help your paper flow.

Counterargument‌  The strongest arguments acknowledge possible objections and offer counterarguments. This guide can help you anticipate opposition to your own argument and respond effectively.

Conclusions‌  A strong conclusion can be the most difficult part of a paper to write. This guide can make the process just a little easier.

Links to Outside Resources

What Is a Good Argument?  This page briefly discusses the features of a strong argument, including a narrow focus and a scholarly tone. Its focus is on papers for literature classes, but the information it offers applies to many subjects. It also offer links to help on related topics.

Organizing Your Argument  This page offers comprehensive information to help you develop your thoughts and outline your paper.

Literary Terms  This page defines numerous terms used frequently in writing assignments and discussions of literature. If the terminology used by your instructor or your written sources is confusing you, this page might help.

Writing in Specific Fields  Each academic discipline has its own writing conventions; familiarity with these conventions can help you clarify your goals and improve your chances of success. This page offers links to brief guides about writing in the fields of history, philosophy, English, and psychology. 

Logic & Argument  Most essays or research papers you write in college must make an argument that relies, at least in part, on logic. This page can help you understand the components of a strong argument and evaluate the validity of your own logic (or someone else's). If your paper uses logic to convince an audience, this could be an important resource for you.

Rhetorical Analysis  Whenever a writing task requires that you read critically or evaluate a source, you'll need to recognize and analyze the strategies the author uses to appeal to the audience, a process is called rhetorical analysis. This brief guide explains the components of rhetorical analysis and how to apply them effectively.