1. Choose an issue that intrigues you, about which you have something to add.
  2. Review the materials and jot down your ideas about them.
  3. Develope your own take on the issue. If not, then consider two opposing viewpoints and try to work out which one has the more plausible position and why. Your thesis can be that philosopher X's argument is unsound.
  4. Outline all your arguments and the structure of your paper.
  5. Take a break for a week.
  6. Go over the arguments you outlined a week ago and look at them from the perspective of someone with the opposing viewpoint. Would she accept your premises? Your reasoning? What objections might she raise? Try to respond to potential criticisms, and incorporate your responses into your paper.
  7. Write your paper. Save the introduction for last. The introduction and conclusion should mirror one another.
  8. Take a break again for a few days. Then read your paper out loud.