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Unformatted text preview: Department of Political Science and International Relations Bo azii University Writing Papers During your studies in the Department of Political Science and International Relations, you will be asked to write papers as one of the requirements in some of your courses. Writing--along with reading, thinking, and discussing--is one of the main activities of any university curriculum. Improving your writing skills is a long, labour-intensive process. It does not happen in a day and often it requires the advice of your professors. Yet, if you abide by the formal guidelines outlined in this text, you will have a good start and establish a standard by which to evaluate whether your writing skills show improvement through your career. Following some of the formal ground rules of writing will help you to pinpoint the precise areas where you need to improve and seek the necessary advice from faculty members if your own efforts prove insufficient. Is writing a collective or an individual activity? Writing is both a collective and an individual activity. In your courses, you will mostly be assigned individual writing assignments unless the instructor assigns a group paper where the paper will be the result of a team work. In this case, please ask the instructor to specify the precise kind of team work she or he expects. Individual paper assignments require that the actual writing of the paper must be done by you only . Yet even if individual paper assignments are written by you alone, they have a collective aspect. First, after finishing your paper you may, if you wish, ask a friend to proofread your paper. Second, in writing a paper, most of the time you will be in dialogue with other writers who have thought and written on the issue. You will be evaluating and comparing their positions and arguments. Sometimes you will need to convey their different narratives--historical, personal, journalistic--in your paper before evaluating them. In this dialogue, the fundamental rule is that your voice as a writer in the paper has to be differentiated from the voices of the other authors with whom you engage and the voices of the other authors have to be differentiated from each other. Do not forget that, although a dialogue is a collective activity, e.i., it involves more than one side, by definition it also requires that the sides are distinguishable. Your reader must not be confused at any part of the paper as to whether the voice--position, statement, argument, narrative--belongs to you or to someone else, those who are your partners in dialogue. There are some formal guidelines in writing that make it easier to put in effect the fundamental rule mentioned above. These rules can be generally called the rules of referencing ....
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