How to Write Paper

  1. Include an Introduction:

Purpose: To introduce the reader to the general topic and the subject of your paper
 
Include:

  • relevant background or contextual information
  • the topic of your paper
  • your thesis

 

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  1. Include a Conclusion:

Purpose: Summarize your paper

  • summarize your conclusions based on the content in the body of your paper
  • pose further questions or considerations of the topic.
  1. Quoting
  2. Plagiarism: Plagiarism: 1) copying the exact wording of someone else’s work as your own (unless quoted and cited); 2) make slight changes from the original and presenting as your own (even if you credit the source); 3) using someone else’s form, structure, or ideas as your own. If you are using someone else’s words you need to put them in quotation marks (even if you cite the source)!!!

 

  1. When do I use Quotes?

Use quotes only:

  • to show that an authority supports your position
  • you want to capture the wording in the original because it uses especially moving or historically significant language.
  • if the meaning would be lost or altered if paraphrased.
  • to present an argument or phrase that you would like to critique or comment on.

 
*see link on Blackboard “Quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing”
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/563/1/
 

  1. How to use Quotes

Do not use free floating quotes as a substitute for sentences in your paper. Many students like to use quotes to write their own papers rather than using them as a supplement. Therefore to help students avoid this problem I’ve required that quotes be introduced. For example:
 
Correct: The Catholic Church did not share this new outlook, however, and opposed Descartes’ methods for “his systematic doubt, his embrace of Copernicus, and his claim the deterministic mechanism ruled in nature” (Gregory, 145).
 
Incorrect: The mechanism of evolution or the how was also explained by Ruse.  “When scientists today speak of ‘evolutionary theory’ they are usually referring to a theory explaining the mechanics of evolution, that is the ‘how’ of evolution” (Ruse, 255).
 

  1. How to cite sources:

***History majors: use either Chicago style or Turabian (A Manual for Writers). http://library.osu.edu/sites/guides/turabiangd.php (you will lose 5 points for every paper that you do not use Chicago style). As a history major you are required to know and use Chicago style.
 
Non-history majors: For sources from a book or journal article use author’s last name and page number. e.g. (Smith, 98). For material from course cite as (HST318: The Roman Empire). For material from one of the documentaries include the source and name of the particular documentary you’re referencing. For example: (Nova: Building the Great Cathedrals)
 
You need to cite all material that is quoted from the text. But if you’re not quoting you don’t necessarily need to cite the source but I would recommend it. You still need to indicate where you got the information. The general rule is that if it is common knowledge (for example the basic biographical information for Rene Descartes) you don’t need to cite the source but if you include information that is not common knowledge or doesn’t reflect the author’s perspective, opinion, etc.
 
Example where a citation not needed:
 
Driven by his humanist values, Copernicus felt that a model of an irrational, inconstant universe had led to the deterioration of the state of astronomy, and he set out in his work to restore astronomy to the “pure” science of the ancients.
 
Example where a citation is needed:
 
But in the exploration of natural objects, Cook argues that they were very interested, or passionate, in such endeavors.  Those who were the most interested in nature often had the most to gain or lose (Cook, 45).
 

  1. Writing to a general audience:

Papers should always be written to a general audience, unless otherwise stated. Do not write the paper to me!! Don’t discuss your assignment! Pretend that you’re writing your paper for publication for a popular magazine with a general audience that knows nothing about your assignment or topic. So you need to include basic information (time, place, who, etc.).
 

  1. Writing Papers: Common Grammatical Problems

 

  1. Numbers: When writing a formal paper all numbers below 100 need to be typed out. For example: The house had only four windows.
  2. Then and than:
  1. then is used to indicate something following something else in time. (this then that)
  2. than indicates a comparison (this is better than that).

“1 a—used as a function word to indicate the second member or the member taken as the point of departure in a comparison expressive of inequality ; used with comparative adjectives and comparative adverbs <older than I am><easier said than done> b—used as a function word to indicate difference of kind, manner, or identity ; used especially with some adjectives and adverbs that express diversity <anywhere else than at home>2: rather than —usually used only after prefer, preferable, and preferably3: other than4: when 1b —used especially after scarcely and hardly” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  1. Possessives: To show possession an apostrophe and “s” are used.

Example: Fred’s car; Tom’s cat (not Toms)
Exception: Its (shows possession). “It’s” (means “it is”).

  1. Titles: For books, journal titles, and newspaper titles use italics. For articles and chapter titles use quotation marks.

Examples:
Natural Science in Western History (book)
Slavic Review (journal)
The New York Times (newspaper)
“Learning in the Middle Ages” (chapter title)
 
Writing resources:
 
Cohesion:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/04/
 
Transitions:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/574/01/
 
Clarity:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/600/1/
 
Paragraphs:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/606/01/
 
 

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