Instructions for all papers

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Essay Writing Style Guide

General Instructions for all papers




** All papers must be typed using Times New Roman or Arial font, doubled spaced, with standard 1” (inch) margins and must be proofread before submitting. You must use 11-point font.  Do NOT add extra spaces between paragraphs. 

** All academic papers must include and introduction and a conclusion, and should be well constructed (see Grading Rubric handout).


** Limit your Internet sources. (Use the museum’s website, but do not quote from Wikipedia in an academic essay. As this is not a research paper, you should not need to quote outside/online sources extensively, if at all).


Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia: “For God’s sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.” [ANY encyclopedia.]

** You will be graded according to the standards of an English speaking University.  If English is not your first language or if you have difficulty with writing, you must visit the Writing Center. 


** If you plagiarize, fail to include a bibliography or footnote citations in any of your papers (if required) when using any outside sources (including textbooks and museum wall-text), the paper will be returned to you for corrections and dropped one letter grade. If you continue to plagiarize in the second revised version, you will earn a failing grade for the assignment.

If you use the words of another writer without acknowledging that writer it is considered plagiarism.
If you use the ideas of another writer without acknowledging that writer it is considered plagiarism.
As I read your paper, I will be asking “How does he or she know this information?”
If you plagiarize (ie. cut and paste from an on-line site, etc.), you will fail the assignment and be turned in to the Dean’s office for academic integrity.


Common mistakes


** Titles of visual works are ALWAYS italicized.  (The Kritios Boy is a statue from ancient Greece.)  Titles are not put in quotation marks.  Titles of architectural monuments are not italicized, but they are capitalized. 

(The remains of the Parthenon are in Athens, but the Pantheon is in Rome.

The Kritios Boy was found on the Acropolis near the Parthenon.)

**The first time an artist is mentioned it is proper to utilize both the artist’s first and last name.  Any other mention of the artist should be by her or his last name.  There are a few examples in which it is proper to refer to an artist by one name: Leonardo (not da Vinci), Caravaggio, etc.  Spell the artist’s name correctly.


**You use an apostrophe for possession, not for simple plurals.

A common mistake is the use of the words it is in a paper (it’s=it is; its=of it (possessive).


** Proper nouns are capitalized, not regular nouns. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is capitalized. The word museum is not. The word Met is. The words paint, paintings, artist, sculpture, marble, etc are not proper nouns and are not capitalized.

** The abbreviation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is Met, not MET. Capitalizing all of the letters is only used for acronyms such as AIDS, which is an acronym for Auto Immune Deficiency Virus. The abbreviation for the Museum of Modern Art is MoMA, not MOMA.


** Watch the verb tense.  It is difficult to decide which tense is appropriate when writing about an art historical object.  The making of the object happened in the past, yet most of the objects are still tangible in the present.  It is also easy to make the mistake of switching between the past and the present when writing an art history paper.  Choose a tense and stick with it.  Ask for assistance if you have any confusion.

** Either write in the first person (I, we) or the third person (he/she/it, etc.). Do NOT use second person (you) in an academic paper.


** All punctuation is INSIDE quotation marks: blah blah blah.” NOT: blah blah blah”.


** Indent, block, and single-space quotations longer than three lines (no quotation marks are used for indents).


 ** If you wish to include an image of your work, and you are handing me a physical copy, you need only to make a black and white photocopy of the image.  I am not grading on the quality of the image produced.  If you are submitting this paper via, please try to find an image that is in color, but not too big or it will be difficult to upload/download. It is simply nice to have an image to which to refer while reading the paper. The image should be attached to the end of the paper.  Images should not be inserted within the text of the paper. Image pages do not count as part of the page count.


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