At Trident, we pride ourselves on emphasizing the development of critical thinking skills. As part of our EdActive Learning Approach, we believe that one of the ways our students further develop and improve their critical thinking skills is through case application which often involves writing papers. Whether you are an undergrad or graduate student at Trident, writing papers will make up a large part of your course load.

This can be a challenge for some students, regardless of educational background. Don't worry if you need assistance - your instructor or Student Success Advisor can direct you to resources to help improve your writing.

I can relate to this challenge, as I am a student in Trident's Master of Business Administration program myself. To help you in this area, I have developed these five writing strategies that I've found to be helpful in my program:

Formatting Your Paper

Students who are new to college or writing, may struggle in how their papers should be formatted. APA (American Psychological Association) is a college writing structure/format, that students follow at Trident University. A typical academic paper consists of: An introduction paragraph, three or more paragraphs that will have a subheading pertaining to the content, a conclusion paragraph and a reference page. As a reminder, your conclusion should never have any new points to add in that paragraph.

Learn to Master Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is a way for professors to know that you understand the information that you've researched. It also allows you to exercise your critical thinking skills by building on the main points in your research paper. This strategy will benefit your writing regardless of what level of education you are in.

An example of this would be:

Source material: The student was excited to enroll at Trident University.

Paraphrasing: There was a lot of enthusiasm from the student, once she was enrolled at Trident University.

Avoid Overusing Quotations

While it can be valuable to copy and paste a useful quote, don't overuse this tactic. Professors at both the bachelor's and master's levels may perceive too many quotations as taking the place of more important critical analysis. Furthermore, it could give off the impression that you do not understand the assignment.

Have a Thesaurus Nearby

Have you ever experienced using the same word several times in the same research paper, but didn't realize it until after your assignment was returned to you? Even the best writers fall into this trap. Using a thesaurus is a great way to both avoid this bad habit and to expand your vocabulary.

Build Your Reference Page While Writing Your Paper

Don't wait until you've finished your paper to build your reference page. Building your reference page as you write will save you time and keep you organized so you can proofread your paper before it's due. For all of us college students, time is of the essence.

For more information like this, please visit the Writing Workshop, located in the MyTLC student portal under the resources tab, at https://mytlc.trident.edu.