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How to Write a 20 Page Research Paper in Under a Day

Tags: Writing
Post by: Blake
Posted on: 10 Cado 7:0 - 5.27.29
So you've procrastinated again. You told yourself you wouldn't do this 2 months ago when your professor assigned you this. But you procrastinated anyway. Shame on you. It's due in a few hours. What are you going to do?

Pick a Topic

  • The more "legally-oriented" your topic is, the better. You'll see why.
  • It has to be something you feel strongly about. Strong as in it makes you want to open your window and yell and shake your fist about it at joggers passing by. That strong.
  • It also has to be something that you already know some stuff about.
  • It also needs to have some depth to it. It can't be like "We should have free pizza in lecture every Friday". That's lame. -Unless you're really creative, then that could possibly work if your professor has a sense of humor and you really can write 20 pages about something silly like that.

Make a list

  • ...of every possible outcome that this issue could cause in
    • ...the near future
    • ...the far future
  • ...of every person that this topic affects.
  • ...of any instances where this topic has come in the news.
  • ...what you would do about this topic if you had the chance/power/enough-sugar
  • ...any little detail you can think of
The important thing about this is to think of ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, no matter how silly or far-fetched. It'll make your professor go "hmm, didn't think about that one". You can even get your friends to help you with this one. The more the merrier. It's best to do this on a computer, because...

Reorder everything

Put your most obvious argument first.

Then put weird off the wall stuff, regardless of importance.

Put the strongest argument for your case next.

Now list the incidents that will help argue for your point. Don't know of any incidents in the news to help argue your point? That's ok. Make up some, except keep it really really generic. When it comes time to quote the source, remember this: There are over 6 billion people in the world. There are countless newspapers and other sources that document people doing...stuff. If you list incidents that are generic enough and your topic isn't extremely weird, at least one person out there has done something notable/stupid/crazy enough to make it to the news. Also, people have sued each other over everything imaginable. Find a court case database. Your topic has SOMEHOW manifested itself in court at some point in history. I can almost guarantee it. Just make sure that the situations you come up with are physically possible.

Now, list everything that could be construed to be the answer to the question "if elected, what would you do about this issue?"

It's best to keep all this in the form of an outline.

Spaces

Now add several lines of space under each bullet. Keep adding spaces until your text document has reached the goal size of your paper.

Now print it out.

Get the hell away from your computer

  • I'm serious.
  • No really, get away from the computer.
  • Go outside and sit under a tree. If you hate outside, or if it's too cold for humans to survive, or if there's a band of rabid dogs roaming your neighborhood, good. It'll help you write faster.

The reason why you should do this is because everyone magically becomes ADD when they are near a computer. You can check your AIM messages later.

Write

Write a fiery rant in each of the spaces you alloted. Get pumped. Just don't begin every paragraph with "I swear upon my father's grave..." Also try not to repeat yourself too much. Be very specific. Talk to your reader as though they've never heard of your subject before. Write at about the same size that your typed version will be. Don't worry too much if you don't fill in all the spaces. But if you feel strongly enough about your topic, then this really shouldn't be a problem. If you're like me and can't think linearly you can skip around as much as you want.

Go Back Inside

Type everything. You'll also notice more things occur to you as you type. Go ahead and throw them in in the corresponding categories. Don't jump around too much at this point though. Maintain focus and bash out that essay as fast as possible. Although you should do this as fast as possible, be a typo nazi. Those little things really make it evident you did this at the last minute.

Time for that whole "research" part

Believe it or not, nothing you said was original. Remember what I said earlier about 6 billion people? Apply now. Pick each topic/case/scenario/subpoint. Anything you had to say about those has already been said by some scholar or professor or newspaper. Google it up. It won't take long. Take a few key words from your main argument of each section and see what you get. Paraphrase their main argument or quote a few lines. Add the proper citations. Do NOT plagiarize.

Formatting

  • Some word processors are capable of non-integer spacing. Try 2.1 or 2.2 spacing.
  • There's also the Good ol' Margin trick
  • Title page
  • Did your professor specify to use MLA citations? She/he didn't? Good. APA citation guidelines are much more friendly with website sources. Check it out.

Print.

Turn in.

Good job. Have a cookie.
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User Comments: 17
Post by x246 on 10 Cado 7:3 - 14.72.20
If your word processor won't allow non-integer spacing, there is another way to add at least a few more inches of text with punctuation. After finishing your writing, create a punctuation mark (a period works just fine) that is a font size larger than the one you used to write the paper. Change the color of the mark to white, then copy and paste it once into every line of your work. Do not skip any lines, as it will be apparent that the spacing is not uniform. This is really only an option for those professors that require a hard copy to grade. Happy cheating!
Post by eofpi on 10 Cado 7:3 - 18.94.68
x246, I had a high school teacher who had had a student that used non-integer line spacing (2.1 lines or something, instead of the required double-spacing). The teacher counted the lines and discovered the student was one line short of the required minimum for the paper. He was quite displeased.

At the time I took his class, nobody had attempted messing with font kerning (or at least hadn't been caught; font and size was specified), but that isn't too hard to detect by direct comparison of two different papers.
Post by marmo on 10 Cado 7:4 - 14.99.38
[Mod edit: you can use the <youtube> and </youtube> tags around a youtube URL to actually embed the video in the post]

video of the punctuation font size trick

I haven't tried it yet, but I'd imagine the difference in size is negligible, so long as it's a paper that you are printing out to turn in, it just may work. I would assume that if you are emailing the file (like you would in an online class), that it would be something easily found out.
Post by c5407057@pjjkp.com on 10 Cado 8:2 - 18.95.49
the "make all your punctuation one font size larger" method will add a not too shabby amount of length to any paper
Post by 1NPH1N1TY on 10 Cado 8:3 - 5.96.30
Even though it's against most style guides that deal with properly kerned fonts, I usually will put two spaces after a period. Half of my professors appreciated it because they still think it's correct, and the other half would forgive me or just not notice it.
Post by kwidener on 10 Cado 10:3 - 14.70.37
What I find most interesting about this paper is the "Time for that whole research part." It is extremely true that no matter what you are going to say, many people have already done said it before. It is an interesting way to write a paper - thoughts first and sources later.
Post by asoto3n1 on 10 Cado 10:5 - 3.97.13
hey loves! a another way to add a pretty decent amount of space is to change the size between all the letters. I haven't turned it in, but i looked at it and compared it to another paper without the added space and it looks pretty legit to me. and even if you're having to turn your paper in online your teacher would have to be going the extra mile to find what you changed. Go to Format -> Font -> Character Spacing (should be the option next to "Font" at the top of the little box that pops up) -> Spacing -> Expanded by -> edit number in box. it might automatically come up with "1" but i think that looks wayyy to obvious. on a paper thats just starting to be five pages ".25" adds three lines and ".5" adds five. so on a twenty page paper ".5" adds twenty lines!!! and ".25" is practically nothing and at ".5" i still can't tell a difference. <3 enjooyyyyyy!!!!
Post by tadamadeline on 11 Ineo 5:0 - 13.56.55
"20 page" should be hyphenated. *20-page.
So should "off the wall".
*off-the-wall.

[Mod-Edit: Use the [Edit] button instead of double posting.]
Post by awesomeguy on 11 Ineo 5:0 - 14.86.11
Actually, "off the wall" is perfectly correct. And "20 page" is now generally accepted to be correct either way.
Post by DrLCJenkins on 11 Cresco 13:3 - 8.65.2
LOL ... This is some good stuff!!! :^)
Post by franksmith366 on 12 Ineo 3:1 - 10.17.78
Hi there, I'm a spam bot who had his post edited.
ndm
Post by ndm on 12 Ineo 4:1 - 7.23.75
The correct forum/comment link syntax is:
<link url="http://this.isa.url/">this link</link>
lucb1e
Post by lucb1e on 12 Ineo 4:1 - 11.98.1
Looks like a spam message to me.
ndm
Post by ndm on 12 Ineo 4:2 - 6.21.13
Even spammers should know forum syntax! :)
Post by nellie on 12 Cado 14:4 - 16.98.40
I'm a retired science/writing professor, and my question is: Do you think we're that stupid to not recognize all the fiddling with spacing and margins? Actually, those things are so irrelevant, that it's laughable. What we're looking for is CONTENT supported with CREDIBLE evidence. Rather than fumbling with key words, going with the first hit, we want you delve into the RESEARCH. This is science, and I would have accepted a three page paper with convincing documentation
omnipotententity
Post by OmnipotentEntity on 12 Cado 14:5 - 1.41.69
nellie said:
I'm a retired science/writing professor, and my question is: Do you think we're that stupid to not recognize all the fiddling with spacing and margins? Actually, those things are so irrelevant, that it's laughable. What we're looking for is CONTENT supported with CREDIBLE evidence. Rather than fumbling with key words, going with the first hit, we want you delve into the RESEARCH. This is science, and I would have accepted a three page paper with convincing documentation


Hi there Mr. Retired Science/Writing Professor. This is a post on the internet. I hope that you don't take it too seriously. I personally do not think you're stupid enough not to recognize that margins and spacing has been screwed with, especially because you have an entire stack of papers all with the same margins and spacing, except for 1 or 2. And also more and more papers are being turned in electronically. A more subtle spacing trick is per letter spacing, but even that you can pick out if you're paying attention.

I've graded papers too, and I know where you're coming from. But again, this is a post on the internet. It's primary readership seems to be high schoolers, who aren't really doing research papers for the most part anyway.

Honestly though, I hope that as a Science Teacher you encouraged your students to use LaTeX rather than Word.
kc135576
Post by kc[135576=] on 13 Ineo 5:2 - 19.87.31
You know, the irony in high school English classes (at least for me) is that we are taught no English in class. No grammar, no writing, no reading skills, no vocabulary. Nothing. I mean I write more in my AP Spanish class (in Spanish, of course). All we do in English class is read and analyze the text. The teacher picks cards and students are selected to read a paragraph or two of a chapter that they should have read a week ago as homework, yet they still have trouble pronouncing words over 7 letters long, and read with no emotion whatsoever.

You know something's wrong when you're asked to analyze and write a paper on an obscure detail on the fifth line on page 24 that occurs once in the entire text, and after you start to get all creative by coming up with your own original interpretations of what it COULD mean, the teacher gives you a C+ because you "haven't demonstarted understanding of the text in the way it was taught [by the teacher]". I mean, if teachers ask you to analyze, they want to read your personal opinion, right? WRONG. My teacher says __this__, ergo you write about __this__ and not __that__. Teachers make us analyze what certain aspects of books could mean, by picking up clues from context and the implied tone of the author. But when we write, my teacher leaves a comment on every paper: "I'm confused. What does this maen? [sic]" Seriously? You can't even analyze what I'm trying to say?


I feel like English classes should teach students how to write meaningful essays to prepare them for college or at least teach them English vocabulary so we could do better on standards tests. Instead of horrible teachers that are incompetent and underpaid, schools deserve better teachers. And better students for that matter. You don't have to like English class, or even the English language.

</rant>
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