So, you’ve waited till the last minute, didn’t you? Every time you do that to yourself, you’re committing academic suicide. But I’m going to tell you how I would go about writing an essay, hopefully a short one, overnight. The trick is research and a little sleep and getting up very early to revise.
Before you start the actual writing of the essay, collect some web research that is reputable or pull up an award winning or really good essay by another student and check their works cited list for their sources. You need a way to collect solid quotes quickly. See, using quotes is not plagiarism if you only copy the quote—which is already published information and do not copy the introductory phrase along with it. For example, instead of copying all of “As Smith notes in his study of apes, “apes tend to develop strong relationships with one other ape” (2014, p. 4). Now, you can borrow the material within the quotes and you can note the page number and the year – but that is all you can copy—not that very original signal phrase. Now, look at his/her works cited and you can look up what you can on the internet and find some of your own unique quotes. If it is a high level essay, it will have high level sources.
This is what I did to write my dissertation when I needed to get a chapter done fast. What I would do is spend more time collecting my research than I actually did writing because a research paper is a research-driven project. Sometimes, when you arrange all the quotes you want to use in an essay from the introduction (when you probably want to use them in the body paragraphs instead, anyway), on down, you can actually see the essay coming alive and it will inspire you to go ahead and add all the other sentences you need to write “around the research.”
A great trick for an opening or closing paragraph is to bring the paper into the present moment (like “Just yesterday, scientists noted that...” In your introduction, you want to really get your readers attention. But be creative. Take a chance and say something unexpected. Say something like, “the other day while eating a carton of Chinese food, I heard on the news that polar bears would become extinct by the year 2030 if we do not do something to keep the polar ice caps from melting. This startled me into actually becoming not so hungry anymore. I’ve been crazy about polar bears every since. . . “
Or something like that. I would feel compelled to want to read that paper, wouldn’t you? Therefore, try to get your reader’s attention and don’t be afraid to be too chatty. You do not have to sound ultra-academic from the outset or it will be a boring paper—believe it.
In your closing, you can do something similar. If you already used the technique above in your introduction, and you cannot use the same approach in your closing. But you can still be creative. You could leap in there with something like – However, we can do something to stop the earth’s destruction before we have to evacuate and move to another planet. There’s nothing wrong with bringing that up when, heck, the ice caps are melting.
Be creative – and write!