How to Expand your Paper: Garbage and Fluff Excluded

WH Questions!It’s happened to the best of us. You think you say every possible thing there is to say about a subject–yet you only have four pages for your five to seven page paper (or whatever page limit is imposed on you). You have a minimum, you’re not at that minimum, and so you’ll probably end up repeating yourself and using extra quotes until you meet that limit. Not cool. Keep reading to find a much better method of expanding your papers!

Are you ready?

This will seem like the simplest solution in the world, but believe it or not–not many people think of this when they’re under the gun of page limits, time limits, and when they’re concerned about a grade. Ready? Here it is:

The “WH” Questions

This is where you say, “Kelly, are you kidding me?” Nope. The questions you will use are:

  1. Who
  2. What
  3. Where
  4. When
  5. Why
  6. How (Not a WH, but a HW…kind of!)

So how do I use them?

If you’ve already started your essay and you don’t meet the page requirements, read through your paper. Have a hard copy you can write on and mark where you answer any of these particular questions. “Who” could be the author, the characters you’re talking about, the inventor of something, whatever. “What” could be the book you’re referring to, the theory, etc. “Where” could be where the author lived (e.g. Britain vs. America), where the book took place, or where a theory came into being. “When” can be when the book was written or when the plot takes place. “Why” could be why the author created the book, why the character did something, why something is important (like a theory or part of the plot). “How” could be how a character acts, how a theory works, and a lot (seriously, a LOT) of other things.

That being said, when you go through your paper, see if you answer ALL of those questions. If you don’t, go back and fill in the blanks. You’ll be including pertinent information that isn’t repetitive and isn’t just quotes.

Final Thoughts

You can actually use these questions to guide an outline for your paper. If you have the chance to do that, I highly suggest that. If you’ve already started, go through your paper and see what you can add. Good luck!

Posted in Academic Advice.