Preparing the final draft of your paper

Now that you have addressed the issue of common knowledge, and assessed your paper, it's time for the simple task of preparing the final draft of your paper.

1) Archive the colored footnote version of your paper: SAVE it with a new file name such as YourLastName_PaperTitle_ColoredFootnotes_FINAL.docx. Be sure to KEEP this file either for your own future reference or to hand in if your professor requires it. To avoid accidental data loss, it's a good idea to save this file into a folder titled "ARCHIVE--do not edit"

2) The FINAL VERSION of your paper: Now save the colored footnote version of your paper AGAIN with a DIFFERENT name, such as: YourLastName_PaperTitle_FINAL.docx. When you finish the steps below you will have the final version of your paper.

Working on this file (YourLastName_PaperTitle_FINAL.docx) and NOT on the archived colored footnote version:

  • Go through your paper and delete all footnotes that include citations from three sources. This, of course, is why putting the second and third citations in different colors (such as blue for the second source, and red for the third) is so useful. The colored footnotes are easy to see, so you won't delete a footnote that you should keep in your paper. If you're using Microsoft Word, to delete the footnotes containing the triple documentation, all you have to do is to delete the appropriate superscript1 in the text of your paper and the footnote will disappear.

    Here is a link to the example we've already looked at of
    colored footnotes correctly done (Microsoft Word format).

    And here is a link to the
    same example with the colored (common knowledge) footnotes removed.

    See how much shorter the paper becomes? It's also rock-solid, and NOW the remaining footnotes will be helpful to an interested reader.
  • Prepare your final "Select Bibliography," OMITTING many of the sources you used to nail down the common knowledge footnotes.

You will, of course, KEEP any source that:

    • You also used as an important source for the paper, or
    • Appears in at least one footnote in the final version of the paper
  • Be sure to use the correct format for the entries in your bibliography, and if you divide your bibliography into categories, after the main heading include a short introductory paragraph that says something like: "I have organized the bibliography under these headings: a) [title], b) [title], c) [title] etc." This is such standard phrasing that you may use the sentence without fear of plagiarism.
  • Insert page numbers your name and the title of your paper in a header or footer. This is a great help to anyone who does a printout of your paper: Imagine dropping a printout of your paper and then having to re-assemble the scattered pages in the right order.

© Jan Mainzer