What is a final draft?

A final draft is the last version of a paper you are submitting to a professor, journal, newspaper, etc. It should be preceded by at least one rough draft.

The final draft for a research paper in my upper-division courses should follow these formatting guidelines, unless otherwise indicated:

  • Proofread and edited at least twice
  • Typed
  • Double-Spaced
  • 1" margins
  • Font size of 12, standard font choice (Times new Roman, Arial, or similar)
  • Include header (your name, class title, professor's name and date, and title)
  • Include Title of Research Paper (preferably in the form of a question, just like the concept paper)
  • References page with typically at least 5 complete independent clearly related citations in APA style format (unless otherwise instructed)
  • Any charts, tables, figures, formulas, or illustrations should either appear inline (in the body of the paper) or in an Appendix section before the references page and referred to in the text by number (e.g. "see Appendix 1").

The final draft is the culmination of a lot of work that has been done researching, analyzing, collating data, comparing and contrasting, and finally writing your ideas into a coherent and sensible document that is directly related to the thesis (argument) you have developed. It should be grammar and spell-checked both using the computer and using your own human sense of what is good writing (pro-tip: read it aloud to yourself or a friend - if it doesn't make sense to them, rewrite that sentence/paragraph). It should be representative of your best effort to understand and reveal to others the topic that you have chosen.