What is a rough draft?

A rough draft is an early version of a paper you are submitting to a professor, journal, newspaper, etc. It should be preceded by a concept paper and an outline.

The rough draft(s) for a research paper in my classes should loosely follow formatting guidelines to make it easier to edit the final draft. These guidelines include:

  • Typed
  • Double-Spaced
  • 1" margins
  • Font size of 12, standard font choice (Times new Roman, Arial, or similar)
  • NO cover page is necessary
  • Include header (your name, class title, professor's name and title, and date)
  • Include Title of Research Paper (preferably in the form of a question, just like in the concept paper)
  • Include as complete as possible independent citations in APA style format to make it easier to make a references page for the final paper; at the very least, be sure you can recover the sources you used to develop your paper so that you can reference them later.

The rough draft is the beginning of a lot of work that will continue to be done researching, analyzing, and collating data. it should outline the basic logic of your thesis and what arguments you will use to support your thesis. It should be preceded by an outline and should result from you filling in empty spaces of your outline. It does not have to be perfectly formatted, in complete sentence form or edited - you will fix those problems in the second draft and/or final draft. The rough is more about crafting your argument than polishing it, and thus may include incomplete thoughts or ideas laid out in outline format. If you can make the rough draft half the number of pages of the final assignment page requirement, then your on to a good start. Depending on how rough your rough draft is, it should be followed by a second, third, or even fourth rough draft before completing the final draft, with each draft further clarifying the logic of your presentation and amending grammar, spelling and reference citations.

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