Importance of the Writing Process

Understanding the sequence, purpose, and interrelatedness among stages is important to developing a quality paper. Allow plenty of time to devote to the writing process, as you may have to engage in some of these steps more than once. If you get stuck, writing tutors are available to assist you at any stage of the writing process.


The planning stage begins well before you even put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Planning involves:

  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Choosing a topic
  • Thinking about what aspect of that topic interests you

Once you have a topic, planning can involve organizing your ideas by use of a map, an outline, or free-writing. This is a crucial stage in the writing process because without a focused topic, you cannot produce a strong paper.


Research can be used formally and informally for any number of projects. Research is used to:

  • Lend credibility in a research paper
  • Further explore an academic topic
  • Find evidence to support a stance

There are many places to look for good sources, such as our library database. Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Type in key words for your subject and watch as related journal articles, reports, and videos appear.

As you are researching, make sure to keep a list of all the references you used so you can later create a bibliography.


The goal of the first draft is to get ideas onto paper in a fairly organized fashion. While this draft usually requires many changes, it is useful in helping the author see where paragraph or sentences may need to be moved, and where edits must be made.


Proofreading means reading over a draft of your essay with an eye towards making changes that will improve the text. When proofreading, you should look for problems with:

  • Organization
  • Flow
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism means using another person or organization's ideas or words without giving them proper credit. Our tutors are trained in all citations styles (MLA, APA, Chicago) and can help you with in-text citations or reference pages. If you have further questions, research librarians are available to assist you.


Shippensburg's Plagiarism Policy:

Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty. Shippensburg University will not tolerate plagiarism, and the faculty will make all reasonable efforts to discourage it. Plagiarism is your unacknowledged used of another writer's words or specific facts or propositions or materials in your own writing. When other writers' words or materials (even short phrases or specific terminology) are used, you should put these words, phrases or sentences inside quotation marks (or else indent and single-space more extended quotations), and you should then cite the source of the quotation either in the text of your writing or in footnotes. Failure to do so may be considered plagiarism.

When the propositions of another writer are restated in your own words (paraphrased), you should also indicate the source of the paraphrased material in your own text or in footnotes. Comparable citation should be made for borrowings from media other than printed texts, such as lectures, interviews, broadcast information, or computer programs.

The more flagrant form of plagiarism is your submission of an entire paper or computer program or lab report (or a substantial portion of a longer work) written by someone else and presented as your own work. This can include material obtained from a friend, from a fraternity or sorority file, from duplicated student writings used for analysis in other writing courses, from commercial sources, or from published materials. Another common form of plagiarism is the unacknowledged borrowing from other sources (either words or propositions) and the integration of such material in your own work.