EazyPaper manWrite your EazyPaper March 2013

In this instalment of the EazyPaper newsletter, Professor Randy brings together several of his previous articles, and Michael explains why and how to compare documents.

The Body of Your Paper

by Professor Randy

Over the past few months, we have looked at Strategies for Researching and Organizing Your Ideas, Writing a Great Introduction and Writing a Great Conclusion. This month, we will look at tips for Writing the Body of Your Paper.

Some students believe that they need to sound intellectual in their papers. They will use big words or try to string multiple thoughts together in long sentences. This is usually counter-productive because the paper becomes unwieldy and hard to read. As a professor who has read many papers, I would encourage you to use simple language and keep your sentences succinct. This will help you get your points across more clearly, so that the reader can receive them as you intended.

In a previous article, I looked at how to Develop an Outline for Your Paper. Now, that you are writing the body of your paper, you can organize your paragraphs around the outline. If the paper is more than five pages in length, you may want to consider inserting headings that correspond to major sections in your outline. Headings help readers focus their attention on the particular topic in a given section.

When you carefully follow a well-developed outline, you will have a clear purpose for each paragraph in your paper. Make sure that every sentence in a paragraph supports the paragraph's purpose. Typically, the first sentence in a paragraph introduces the paragraph's purpose and may connect it with what you have written in the previous paragraph. The middle sentences achieve the purpose of the paragraph. This is where you might present information from your research (see article on Strategies for Researching and Organizing Your Ideas). I would encourage you to engage in higher order thinking where you integrate ideas from various sources to generate new insights. Feel free to critique ideas, especially when you have a basis for doing so. The last sentence sums up the paragraph and may link to the next paragraph. The first and last sentences do not always explicitly link with the surrounding paragraphs, but they should allow for a natural transition between paragraphs.

Now, that you have written the body of your paper, it is time to make the most of strategies for editing your paper well. This will be one of the topics in our next newsletter.

Comparing Documents

by Michael Hu

In January and February's articles, we looked at how Word's Track Changes features allow multiple people to collaborate on a document. But what if "collaborators" could not be trusted? Say if you're working on a legal contract, and the other party has made changes to it. Would you trust the opposing lawyer to accurately track all his changes? What you need is to compare two documents, and Word has that feature too.

Click the Compare button on the Review as shown in Figure 1:

Compare and combine documents on the Word ribbon

Figure 1: Compare and combine documents on the Word ribbon

This brings up the form of Figure 2:

Compare form

Figure 2: Compare form

Click the folder buttons to select the original document, and the revised one received from the other party. When you click OK, you'll see the revisions merged into a single document using Track Changes notation, as well as the original and revised documents side by side. Scroll through the original document, and the revised document will scroll synchronously with original.

This article showed you why and how to compare documents. If you're working on a team where you trust all the changes to be tracked, then Track Changes is easier to use. But if you're working across team boundaries, then Compare Documents is an invaluable tool in your Word toolkit.

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