Category Archives: Writing Tips

Avoiding Plagiarism in Research Paper Writing

Plagiarism is the use of another person’s words or ideas without crediting the source. It is a serious breach of academic honesty. At the very least, you will fail the assignment, and sometimes the consequences are much more severe. Even if you don’t get caught, you have let yourself down by being dishonest and missing the opportunity to learn.

An example of plagiarism is to use someone else’s paper as your own, or directly copying information from a website or other source. You also need to avoid unintentional plagiarism, where you incorrectly use someone else’s ideas simply because you don’t know how to cite them properly. Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism, however, is no excuse. The following guidelines will help you avoid making a mistake in Works Cited page.

Example source: “As one might imagine, Stegner was not in favor of the American Dream, or at least not the materialistic dream of status and possessions.”

Benson, Jackson. Wallace Stegner: His Life and Work. New York: Viking, 1996.
1. Direct Quotation: If you use the exact words from a source, always use quotation marks,

followed by a citation.

Correct: “As one might imagine, Stegner was not in favor of the American Dream, or at least not the materialistic dream of status and possessions” (Benson 10).

Plagiarized: As one might imagine, Stegner was not in favor of the American Dream, or at least not the materialistic dream of status and possessions.
(Missing quotation marks and citation)

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MLA formatting Tips & Tricks

  • Double space the whole paper.
  • Use an easily readable 12 point font, such as Times New Roman (this document uses
    Times New Roman).
  • The margins of the paper all the way around are 1 inch
  • Use the tab key (5 spaces) when beginning a new paragraph.
  • Put your last name and page number in the upper right corner of each page, 1⁄2 inch from
    the top of the page.
  • On the first page, in the upper left, one inch from the top of the page, list your name, the
    instructor’s name, the class and the date. The date should be in this format: 21 March
    2012.
  • Center the title. Do not use a different, larger or bold font. Do not put extra space

between the title and the text of the paper.

Here is a sample of the first page of an essay in MLA format

Example of 1st Page of MLA Formatted Essay

Here is a sample of the In-Text Citation Chart

In-Text Citation Chart for MLA Format

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Writing Introductions and Conclusions for Research Papers

The introduction and conclusion are critical parts of your essay. The introduction is what grabs the reader’s attention (or not!) and makes them want to read what you have to say. The conclusion is the last impression you will leave with the reader, and the last chance to persuade the reader to see your point of view.

Introductions

There are many ways to begin your paper, but the main consideration is to get the reader’s attention. Sometimes your thesis statement works well enough on its own, but often you will want to start with some other type of attention-grabber before you state your thesis. Below are three ways to consider starting your essay, and an example of each. You can also see how your thesis statement might be adjusted to make the first paragraph flow smoothly.

Thesis:  Although researchers believe that the cause for eating disorders is complicated, media images are one of the main reasons girls develop these disorders.

1. Anecdote

An anecdote is a short narrative, or story, that illustrates your point. This can be effective because the reader will want to know what happens next.

Example:

My sister wanted to be a high-fashion model like the girls in the ads she ripped story out of magazines and tacked to her wall. She was tall and beautiful, but she never felt she was thin enough. One day, after passing out in school, she was diagnosed

 

2. Interesting Information

(to be continued…)

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