How to Write Essays and Research Papers More Quickly

Hey, what’s up guys? So I just got my hands on some new books and I am itching to read these things but before I do, we do need to talk about the opposite side of the
reading coin, which is writing, specifically the writing of essays. Now the status of the essay as a cruel and unusual punishment was hotly debated at the formation the Geneva
Convention back in 1949. But if you bring this
fact up to your teacher they’re just going to
tell you not to believe everything here on the internet and you’re still going
to have to do your essay, which is unfortunate because among all the types of
assignments out there essays rank among the most time-consuming, and you can take this from somebody who basically writes essays for a living. I mean I know I’m a YouTuber
but every script that I create is essentially an essay
before I communicate it in front of the this camera. And even though I’ve been writing these for a really long time, they’re
still super time consuming. So what do I do today is
give you some practical tips for speeding up the essay writing process. Now I do have to throw
a qualifier on there because if I don’t then
it really boils down to two main tips. Number one, type the same word
over and over and over again till you get the page requirement, or number two, master plagiarism. Both of which are probably not
things you want to be doing, so let’s throw that qualifier on there. Let’s speed up the essay writing process without sacrificing quality. We’ll still end up with
something that is worth reading and that communicates
a well structured idea. Now typically the formation
of well-structured ideas starts in the research
stage, so let’s start there. When you’re writing a research paper the process of finding sources
to back up your arguments can actually be one of the
most time consuming parts of the project. That’s because no matter
how many sources you have, it’s really easy to convince yourself that your paper would be truly great if you just got one more source and then what you have
that you want another one and then another. Carl Newport calls this
research recursion syndrome. You get stuck in this endless loop of just finding source after source, it becomes really easy
to go down rabbit holes that you think you’re going to yield really insightful information but end up being completely
irrelevant to your paper. Luckily Newport doesn’t just stop at giving the dragon a name. He also gives you the
tools you need to slay it. His book “How to Become
a Straight A Student” outlines a series of steps
with some general rules for avoiding this problem while still getting the
information you need. To follow this process, first you venture into the stacks library or the internet and you find your sources. Once you’ve found them, you make personal copies of
them and annotate those copies. Finally you decide if you’re
done and if you’re not, you loop back to step number one. Let’s go ahead and call this the efficient research algorithm, since it’s a logical set of steps that are easy to understand
and carry out in order. But without flushing out this algorithm it’s hard to know exactly what
you’re supposed to be doing on each step. So here are a few details that will make it a bit more useful. First, when you’re
looking for your sources start with general sources. Things like broad histories, views of the topic, popular science books, these kind of books are easy to find and they kind of gloss over
everything within your topic. That does make them not quite
as good as specific sources for finding arguments that
you can use in your paper but they do have bibliographies and they do point to other works. Specific sources, like we
said, they are more powerful, they’re going to contribute more but number one, they’re difficult to find if you don’t know where to look, and two, because they are so detailed it’s really easy to go down rabbit holes that don’t end up being fruitful. So if you start with a general source and use that to drill down
to find specific sources, you’re going to be really efficient in your research process. Now before I move on I do want to say that research in itself is a huge topic so if you do want to learn
how to do it more efficiently and get some more tips we did just publish an article
all about library research over on College Info Geek and I’ll have that linked in
the description down below. Moving on that second
step of the algorithm I find the easiest way
to make copies of sources that I want to reference later on is to just take pictures
of them with my phone. And I do this all the time when I’m researching for video scripts. I’m the kind of person
who likes to own my books but I also like to write at coffee shops and I can only fit so
many books in my backpack, so when I know I have a quote
that I want to reference or something that I want go back to, I’ll take a picture of it with my phone. That way I have a good reference of all the different sources
that I’m going to use. Lastly, when it comes to the question of, are you done or should
you repeat the algorithm, you can follow Newport’s rule of thumb. First, list out all the
arguments that you want to make in your paper and then figure
out which ones are crucial and which ones are merely helpful. For the arguments that are crucial aim to have at least two
good sources to back them up and for the ones that are merely helpful, one will probably do the trick. Now when you’re looking over your list of crucial and helpful arguments keep this mantra in mind. Quality over quantity. This applies to the number
of sources you choose to use but also applies to
the number of arguments that you choose to flash
out in your paper because unless there’s some arbitrary
requirement in the assignment a smaller number of well structured, well-thought-out arguments always beat a larger
number of mediocre ones. And that might sound
obvious in the surface but it’s important to note that the inclusion of a mediocre argument can actually detract
from the entire paper, even if the other arguments are good. This idea of quality over
quantity doesn’t just apply to the number of arguments
and sources you’re using because you should also scrutinize the actual words and
letters that you’re using. What I mean by this is
that when people know they’re writing an essay
that’s going to be evaluated, a lot of them experience
temptation to utilize a cornucopia of abstruse,
esoteric terminology, contrapositive to the vernacular. In other words people use big, fancy words because they think it’s going
to make them sound smarter. But this usually has the opposite effect. In fact, a Princeton
University Psychology Professor did a study about 10 years ago that showed that perceptions of
intelligence actually go down when people use needlessly
complicated vocabulary. Though, when you think about
it, this is really common sense and you don’t have to go read
a bunch of charts and graphs to understand the point of an essay is to communicate your ideas clearly. As Karl Popper put it, “If you can’t say it simply and clearly, “keep quiet and keep working
on it until you can.” and honestly going into
an essay without feeling like you have to dig into
the deep end your vocabulary, will make the writing process a lot faster because you’re going to be writing in the way that you
naturally think and speak. Now while the temptation to
use complicated vocabulary can definitely slow
down the writing process it is but a tiny speed bump compared to the brick wall
in the middle of the road that is perfectionism. Every time you find yourself
staring at a blank page or blinking cursor and just
can’t think of what to write, perfectionism is likely
to be the mean culprit. But luckily there are some
things you can do to get over it. First and foremost I recommend that you write your body paragraphs first and save the intro and
conclusion for last. Your intro is where you
going to introduce the topic or the argument that you’re writing about, but going into the intro before fleshing out the body paragraphs is like trying to give
a tour of a building that you’ve never even been in. You need to have a clear understanding of each point that you’re talking about before you introduce them. And the same thing applies
to your conclusion. Plus, choosing to go in this order also makes it easier to get
into the flow state of writing. Because you know you’re making a mess. You know you’re going to have to go back and edit things later, but when you start from a blank page and you think you have
to write the intro first, it’s really easy to
succumb to the temptation that you can do it all in one go. And on that note it can
also be really helpful to separate the drafting
stage and the editing stage as much as possible can. And there are lots of ways to do this. You can block up different
chunks of time on different days for each stage of the process, you can have different locations and you can even work
within indifferent apps for the drafting and the editing. And this is something that I
love doing for video scripts. I often do my research and
my drafting over on Evernote and then once that’s done I’ll
move it over to Google Docs for editing and final prep. And I actually do something similar with video recording as well. When I want to get some
stuff out of my head, I’ll often pull my phone out and record something really casually that I know I’m not going
to use in the final cut. And doing this takes
a lot of pressure off. When I’m filming here,
there is a ton of pressure because I know I’m
probably going to use it. This last step is pretty nuts and bolts but use a citation generator. There are a ton of these out there, almost all of them are completely free and they really speed up the process of creating a bibliography
or a work cited. I remember having to do this by hand back when I was a student
and every time I would do it I would have to constantly
refer back to the style guide, so I didn’t make really common mistakes like misplacing a comma or accidentally summoning an elver god. But with sites like Bibme
and Citation Machine you can put in the details of your sources and leave all the formatting
to the algorithms. Now throughout this video we’ve covered some specific tactics that will definitely help you
speed up the writing process without having to resort
to the potato trick. But it’s important to note that tactics are exactly what these are. And while the world’s
most prolific writers definitely use them to some degree, they aren’t a replacement for building more foundational skills like thinking clearly and
critically assessing your sources and building logical,
well structured arguments. And while these types of skills take a lot more time and effort to build, they’re going to speed up
the writing process even more and because you be thinking better you’ll also be writing better. Now if you want to start
improving your foundations in these areas and learn
something new at the same time you should try brilliant. Brilliant has an entire course that can actually formal logic in depth, but their platform will also
help you boost your skills in these areas more fundamentally due to their hands-on,
challenge based approach to teaching math, science
and computer science. All the courses in Brilliant
immediately push you to actively start solving problems which makes you think critically and stretches your capabilities
in a way that doesn’t happen when you just passively
sit through lectures. So whether you’re learning probability or digging in the classical mechanics or getting a grip on computer algorithms which is the course that
I’m taking right now you’ll also be improving
your general reasoning skills as you progress. And Brilliant also has an active community where people can ask questions and get feedback on the problemS
they’re trying to solve, which really compliments their courses because when you’re stuck,
it can be really helpful to get an outside perspective. So if you guys want to
start learning something new and stretch your capabilities,
give Brilliant a try with the link in the
description down below. And if you’re among the
first 200 people to sign up, you’ll also get 20% off
of an annual subscription. I want to get Brilliant a huge thanks for sponsoring this video as their support definitely helps to keep
this channel running but I’m also just a huge
fan of their service and their commitment to
advancing STEM education. So I definitely think you
guys should give it try. As always thanks to you guys
so much for watching as well and if you found this video helpful, a like definitely helps
helps this channel out and you can also share
this video with a friend if you think they would find it helpful. If you’re not subscribed yet,
you can subscribe right there to get new videos when I released them. Hit that bell icon if you
want to get notifications of those videos. Otherwise you can grab
a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades right there. You can also check out
our latest podcast episode on increasing your digital
security right there or check out one additional video on this channel right there. Thanks for watching and I’ll
see you in the next video.

100 Replies to “How to Write Essays and Research Papers More Quickly

  1. there was one semester in college when i had a 12 page paper, a 5 page paper, and then another 8 page paper all due around finals week. after i got through that, i never struggled with papers ever again. this is coming from someone who chose to study a hard science all because of essay-phobia 😂
    one tip i picked up over the years: after (and while) you do your research, just start dumping all your disparate ideas down onto a blank doc, even if they're disjointed and not in actual sentences. don't even bullet point or organize, just dump. and then build your thesis around the ideas you've put down. i found this approach a lot more helpful to structuring my papers than the classic build an outline by coming up with a thesis and then listing a bunch of facts that support it. it also made my papers sound way more organic and not as stiff and obviously formulaic.

  2. I am mad cuz this video could have made my life a lot easier a year ago(just finished masters)!! or better still 8 years ago(when i started undergrad) 😛

  3. We are recovering girls from sex slavery and abuse we ran in to your videos about a year ago, thanks to an officer that watches over us to keep us safe. Thanks to your videos many of us feel confident to start college come 2018! We are excited and look forward to lots more of your tips and advice.

  4. My problem is that I don't speak english very well and I end up picking up Ideas from different sources. It stay relevant and are usually well marked but I'm not proud of that. I would like to express the ideas as I understand them but when I do it I check the spelling/grammar/formating every 5 minutes on google. I really need help right now. Btw english is my 3rd language.

  5. I'm in the 9th grade and I have to write a 3-4 page paper on Premature Births. I've already figured out my thesis and my outline so I'm a day ahead of my class but I'm unsure of if I should continue or wait until the rest of the class catches up.

  6. OMG Thank you. Also you are so right about literally everything, not using the insane vocabulary, writing body paragraphs first.

  7. my mom just told me to stop researching because i cant stop researching and now most of my research i irrelevent

  8. Watching this crying because I have a 7 page final due tomorrow and I just wrote a bunch of bs. 😭😭😭

  9. Thomas Frank, you're changing my life. I'm using your videos to change myself and become a productive woman and environmental activist.

  10. If you want to write essay more quickly practice well punctuation, short tips, and observed words. It is the right way to finish your writing quickly and attract your reader . Visit for updated tips and secrets of writing essay and thesis. Thanks for your video.

  11. "A temptation to utilize a cornucopia of abstruse, esoteric terminology, contrapositive to the vernacular…" I see what you did there, bad boy.

  12. I wrote an essay just copying and pasting and claimed I was pretty much done until a month before hand. Now I’m here suffering asking why I did this just to study more. I hate writing….

  13. How do you know when to splice your essays (which will eventually turn into video essays) with edited video content?

  14. I have an essay due in 11 days. Why am I on Youtube?

    Okay I'll start and update you later. Wish me luck.

  15. I dig all of the tips here Thanks thomas!

    I did a video about how to write a research paper aswell… feel free to check it out in my channel… could be helpful for the annoying research homeworks coming in the future 😀

  16. everytime i have a hard time studying and i fined that there's a video of you talking about what i need, it emmidiately puts me in a better mood and helps me so much! so thank you!!!

  17. Wow people think 5 page essays are big. I wish it was. cries in 10 page research paper lol. But this video is a big help !

  18. God bless you, dearest. You helped me a lot. Cause I am spiralling down a rabbit hole. Thanks for the tips. Take care

    (An always struggling university student)

  19. When you're procrastinating from doing your essays and the video contains a photo of your college's library lol they're on to me

  20. 1. I thought I had accidentally sped up this video.
    2. If you plan and write your video transcript, I would love the uploaded version so that I don’t have to pause and keep returning to your video to write down your very useful point(s).
    3. You have a new subscriber.
    4. Such helpful tips. I have a 4000 word essay due in 3 days so I’m grateful for your knowledge. Very reassuring to hear that complicated vocabulary actually reduces the mark!

  21. As the name of the
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  22. Okay so I’m on this one paragraph where I’m talking about the court case of Little Rock nine or the Brown vs. board of education. And I’m doing y research and reading it and I got one sentence down so far so I look for another website to get more details but like it’s telling me something different so I try to match it up with what I already wrote and that’s not working out and now I keep changing wedsites and everything is telling me a different story and I’m so confused. Like I tried to solve this problem by attending to actually understand my topic but like I still confused. It’s been 4 hours and I still have the one sentence down.

  23. We must stop submitting more assignments to teachers. Teachers agree with students – assignments are failures. Assignments never succeed and there is also one thing. Teachers believe in what can be called ´assignment shape shifting´. It´s when one assignment turns out to be another. So if you are writing an assignment and it is marked assignment I, 2 or 3 and so on 2 becomes 3, 3 becomes 4, 5 becomes 2 and it is never the assignment you want to submit. Teachers do this because so many of them are narcissists. If we make laws that make it illegal to submit assignments teachers can no longer judge students based on their inability to do anything they say. Our inability to complete an assignment is just human nature. Trying to submit an assignment in time, is like trying to walk the Everest without clothes. You freeze and your teacher freezes your assignment to death. So instead of submitting any more assignment, what we need to do is ask teachers to stop grading them. Tell them to stop grading everything and stop giving us any more assignments, and stop giving us any more exams. These are things these teachers do not really want. If they do not want it, if nobody else wants it, why should we want it? We can all agree that assignment shape shifting is just as much bullshit as any other bullshit. It is a teacher´s lamest excuse for bullying a student. Assignment shape shifting beliefs are becoming commonplace among teachers and students and need to stop. We do not want the kind of society we had during Sandy Hook, when things were staged and people were asked to treat them as something else during their assignment schedules. We need to ban assignment submissions, because they waste time. All assignment submissions talk about is more shape shifting and more shape shifting. We are not here to learn about shape shifting. We are here to learn how to write essays and papers more quickly. And the single most efficient way to do it, is if all of us unite together, and demand an end to assignment submission, exercises, exams and homework.

  24. Hi my name is Becca 👋🏼 and I have an obsessive highlighting problem 😬

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  27. What if the way I normally talk is also full of large, obscure, and rather archaic words. Would I still write how I speak.

  28. Welp, I gotta research paper due in two weeks and I haven’t started anything other than coming up with the topic. I’m screwed 😕

  29. I literally have a 800 word essay due tomorrow that I haven't even picked the topic for… halp

  30. Can you do a video showing how you structure your essays, like show us your process using your essay as an example?

  31. I'm ordering papers there BUY ES SAY. GQ (without spaces) for 3 years, their work is perfect!

  32. Are you having trouble in writing lengthy
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