4The Unfocused Student  


What does the Unfocused Student look like? This student has a topic—either she has determined a topic to write about, or her professor has assigned the topic. She may have a draft of her paper, but her paper does not have a clear thesis and/or the thesis seems vague and generalized. Or she may be feeling overwhelmed with her topic and not know where to begin.

Key Idea
Most students start a writing assignment with a topic that is too general.

For example, a student might have chosen the general topic of alcoholism. But where does the student go now? She could research and find an overwhelming amount of information on alcoholism, enough to write a book. She will need to narrow and focus the topic; she will need to find a subtopic within the topic to write about.


Digging Deeper Assignments

For Further Reading

Bibliographic Sources




The Writing Center: Past and Present The Student/Tutor Relationship The Clueless Student The Unfocused Student The Disorganized Student The Underdeveloped Student The Unrevised Student The Unpolished Student ESL Strategies Research Strategies Discipline-Specific Assignments Documentation Styles Writing Center Ethics Writing Center Publicity

© 1999, 2000, 2002 Virginia Bower (Mars Hill College), Charlene Kiser (Milligan College), Kim McMurtry (Montreat College), Ellen Millsaps (Carson-Newman College), Katherine Vande Brake (King College). All rights reserved. This manual was made possible by a Culpeper grant from the Appalachian College Association; click here for information. If you encounter difficulties with these web pages, please notify kmcmurtry@montreat.edu.