Once you have read through your rough and/or first draft, you should have some impressions about your paper. Maybe you feel pretty good about it. Maybe you don't. If you have done a diligent job with your research and your notes, you can expect that your overall impression will fall somewhere in between these two thoughts. In all likelihood, you will have discovered a few areas that were a little weak. The best way to address those areas is promptly and aggressively. First of all, ask yourself how you stand with overall length and content of your document. If you are well satisfied that your paper has plenty of length and strong content, then you may want to consider simply omitting one or two weak areas, if they are not crucial to the overall theme and conclusions you are trying to present. If they are an important part of what is needed in your content, then you need to go back and do a little more research within those specialized areas that need it. No sense letting a few weak areas jeopardize all the time and effort you have expended on the project. Just get it done and get those additional note cards and Bibliography cards made. Now you can approach draft number two ready to beef up those areas that need it.
This is the time to be critical of your writing and organization. You want to reread and dissect your rough draft in your mind several times and give it some serious thought. You should strive to be clear and concise as you communicate your case. You have already addressed those weak points you found as you read it through the first time. Now you want to make sure that you are communicating what you want communicated. Look at each paragraph in a more analytical way this time. Does each paragraph have a key subject or idea? Do the supporting sentences provide additional detail or are they just verbose thoughts? Are your paragraphs in the right order? Do thoughts and ideas flow logically from one to another? Have you built a convincing argument for your viewpoint? Do you have an interesting introductory section and a good strong conclusion? These are all things to look for and make notes about as you review your rough draft. If you have double or triple-spaced your first draft, you should have space to make some handwritten notes as you re-work your first draft and get ready for your second.
Before you finish your critical review of draft number one, go back and reread your opening and closing paragraphs again and make absolutely sure you are comfortable with them. You are after an opening paragraph that not only states clearly what the purpose and intent of your paper is, but also captures the reader's interest. Sometimes the best way to do that is to ask a question that might capture the instructor's interest. Sometimes you can recreate the scene of an historical event or place. Sometimes you can just be a little controversial. Just remember that the first paragraph is like first impressions. It has a lot to do with whether or not the rest of the work will be taken seriously.
Now go ahead and write draft number two with all of your corrections and refinements. When you have completed this draft print it out and go over it with a fine tooth comb, or at least with a colored pen or pencil and circle any corrections that need to be made and make any additional notations that you deem necessary.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013