1)Follow the rules: Be aware of all contest rules or the editorial guidelines of whatever publication you are writing for. This includes page or word count, whether or not graphics are permitted or required, the formatting of those graphics, the formatting of the paper itself, etc.
2)Theme, Theme, Theme: Most competitions that i have faced insist this – Papers that have not addressed the theme in an appropriate and effective manner will not be considered. Make sure that the theme is the central focus of the paper and all additional arguments, graphs, pictures, etc. are used in supporting the theme.
3)Check spelling and grammar: Use spell check but don’t rely on it alone. Have someone whose skills with written English you respect read over your paper to point out any inadvertent errors.
Cite your sources: Use quote marks around all quoted material and footnotes to cite this material. If you use an idea or statistics from another source, without quote marks, cite that too. Even if you quote yourself from a previously published paper word-for-word, cite that as well. Use the rules of the competition as a guideline for creating a bibliography or reference section. What are the requirements, if any, of the competition or publication you are writing for in regard to citing sources?
4)Use a style guide or manual: These guides or manuals are a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization, or field. The implementation of a style guide provides uniformity in style and formatting of a document. Hopeful it was a helpful article.
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