When the time comes to write countless essays on the theory you’ve learned in lectures and tutorials, it’s essential to quote resources to strengthen your work. But right now it’s Netflix’s world, and we’re just living in it. So how can we create a really strong piece of assessment whilst still indulging in the practice of ‘Procrastinating By Watching All Ten Seasons of Friends in One Week’?
I recently created my own little system of preparing quotes and resources. My aim was to create a system that limited my need to rifle through endless notes when writing my essays. It’s a bit like cooking – if you chop the onions before you put the oil in the pan, there’ll be less pressure on you to avoid burning the oil. And there you have it! No more tears!
…well. Not really. You’re still chopping onions. But I digress.
Here’s an example of my Super Cool System for Maximising Procrastination. Let’s pretend that you’re writing an essay about the cuteness of puppies and the effect they have on sad humans.
This is what the table itself looks like:
Important note: None of those sources exist. I wish they did. Also, those quotes aren’t real either. I’m sorry.
The first column is ‘topic’ – this is where you write a very brief description (a few words will do) of the points you’ll cover in your piece. In this essay, we’re covering Cute Factor, Sadness, The Puppy Effect, and Famous Cases.
Next we have the Source column. This is where you include the referencing information for the source. I like to put it into the correct referencing format right away. You may choose to do the same, or else just throw the link in and you can always reference later on. This is the QUT Harvard method. Some faculties use different referencing methods, so don’t forget to check which format your faculty requires by consulting QUT Cite Write.
The Quote column is where you’ll put the information you’re thinking of quoting. You can put multiple quotes or pieces of information in there, or you can create a new box for each one. Whichever works for you! But don’t forget to include the page number – this will save you trying to find it later. Trust me – you don’t want to be frantically tracking down a quote with ten minutes to go before the submission deadline!
In my opinion, the most helpful column is the last one. I always find myself forgetting which quotes I have or haven’t yet used when writing my assignments. Now, as I’m writing, I put a ‘Y’ next to the information I’ve already quoted in my essay. This saves me from accidentally quoting the same thing more than once (it happens way too often…).
So if you’re new to uni this year, you’re entering your second year, or even if you’re still in highschool, I hope you find that my Super Cool System for Maximising Procrastination works for you. Feel free to use it as is, or adapt to your preferences. I find that greater quote preparation makes essay writing much easier, but remember that everyone studies differently, so it’s up to you to find the method that works best.
Phew! Finished another post. Now that I’ve wrapped this up, I think I might watch another episode of Friends with my best mate, Netflix…
Happy assignment writing!