Writing%20Tips%20for%20History%20103

Writing%20Tips%20for%20History%20103 - Writing Tips for...

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Writing Tips for History 103 The ability to write well is one of the most important skills you will ever have! You may feel a bit unsure about your writing skills now, but don’t worry, learning to write is like building up a muscle – with patience and lots of repetition you will get stronger. I can see that your papers have a lot of potential; you just need to channel your potential into the correct form. This writing manual discusses many of the things that caused you to get low grades last time. It will have two parts: I. Technical issues 1. Proofreading 2. Font 3. Quotations A. Short quotes in a sentence B. Long Quotes C. Block Quotes 4. Thesis A. A Sample Introductory Paragraph and Thesis II. Analytical methods 1. Engaging the Book 2. Contextualize, Analyze and Support 3. Be Specific I. Technical Issues 1. Proofreading. Almost every paper contained major spelling and grammar mistakes that could have been caught by a careful proof-reading of the final draft. Would you turn in a resume that had spelling errors in it? Would you send an email to a potential boss full of mistakes? In other words, it’s never OK to turn in a paper full of spelling and grammar errors – lots of errors will surely hurt your grade. 2. Font. All papers must be 12 point Times New Roman, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins all around. Do not put an extra separating space between paragraphs. Not
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following these standards will hurt your grade – if I feel like I’m reading a children’s book, you’ve had it. 3. Quotations. I heard that the writing center is telling students to put a quote on every paragraph. You can. But do so judiciously. Using quotes is great, but using too many will kill your chances for a good grade. Quotes are like salt; a little sprinkling makes food taste good, but add too much and it’s disgusting. Loading your paper with tons of long quotes is basically akin to cheating. Instead of you doing the work, you are just throwing in someone else’s work. Also, too many people screwed up the citations. A CITATION LOOKS LIKE THIS: words words words words (Author’s Name, page number).” NOT LIKE THIS: words words words” (citation). OR THIS words words.” (citation) You must choose your quotes well. You only have a few to use before your grade suffers. As a general rule of thumb, don’t use a quote to illustrate something obvious, use it to support your argument, your analysis. As in: The Aztecs were shocked to find “mountains floating in the sea (36).” Vs . The Aztecs were so far removed from Spanish technology that they could hardly conceptualize it; The Broken Spears tells of how they thought the Spanish ships were “mountains floating in the sea (36).” Here’s the deal with the three different types of quotes: A. Short quotes in a sentence . These are just a few words long, given when you want to provide a little illustration from the book, a little bit of the authentic flavor of the author’s voice. The River Between introduces some aspects of Gikuyu mythology, explaining that the Gikuyu people traced their ancestry back to Gikuyu and Mumbi, “the
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father and mother of the tribe (17).”
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