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Before you write:
- Brainstorm, "talk it out", think, ask questions, think some more.
- Give yourself a frame - have a "dummy" thesis and a few key questions that you expect to answer - a bit of an idea of what you want your essay to look like. Let your thoughts and questions rotate around that frame, and let the frame change to match your new ideas.
As you write:
- Find gaps in your knowledge and make sure you plug them
- Let the writing process "teach" you by "writing out" what you've learnt - let your understanding change as you process it.
- Use your research actively - elaborate, argue and confirm
After you write:
- Don't forget! Don't decide you don't need to remember that information any more.
- Have an opinion about that topic (and be prepared to change it), and notice when something new comes along
- Look at where you can reuse the knoweldge (and research) you attained for this essay - you can't reuse your previous words, but you can recycle the information and build on the understanding you gained.
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