Writing essays Analysing the Question



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Writing essays
» Analysing the Question

» Gathering and organising information

» Planning the essay

» Drafting an outline

» Writing a first draft

» Revising and editing your work

» Producing the final version of the essay

Writing an essay is your chance to make sense of the subject you are studying. It is the best way of engaging with a topic, and it is only through this kind of engagement that you will really learn.

An essay is not only a test of your knowledge of a topic. When you write an essay you are demonstrating your understanding and reinforcing your learning. It is best to break the job down into smaller tasks which can be completed in a methodical manner. The amount of effort you put in even before beginning to write will be critical in determining the quality of the finished essay.

If you read this handout carefully and try to follow the guidelines in it you will learn to write essays in a way that will benefit you throughout your university career and beyond.


Analysing the Question:
Long before you begin to write, you will begin thinking about the topic and what you want to say. What you write will, to a very large extent, be governed by the question that has been set. Most essay questions are carefully constructed to provide clues as to how they should be answered. Use these clues to evaluate what you are expected to do and to write. Careful analysis of the question will in turn help to define your own purpose. Your analysis is basically an attempt to figure out what the question setter wants from you and what the essay marker is expecting from you.

Your strongest clues are the verbs in the questions. They often provide very clear instructions.


Discuss the significance of the comic elements of King Lear.

Define the term ‘Supply and Demand’.
Not all essay titles are as straightforward as the two just given. ‘Discuss’ is a word much beloved by setters of essay questions as it covers a wide spectrum of meanings. You will have to look closely at the content or subject mater of the question to help you decide what information you need to include. The subject matter will determine how you go about your research and what material you think is relevant. Try to imagine a sort of shopping list of things that the essay marker will be looking for in the essay.

Always read questions carefully several times so that you can become familiar with the key ideas and spot the value-laden words.
Narrate the main events of Charles Haughey’s term of office.

Milton’s minor poems are major ones’. Discuss.



Analyse the causes of violence in our society.
Most essay questions tap into a wider issue and you are expected to recognise this and explore the wider issue. For example, an essay about capital punishment might tap into the issue of crime and punishment in general, on top of the specific case of capital punishment.
Some writers on research and essay writing divide essay titles into the following classes:
Advocacy questions These ask you to explain or illustrate a particular issue, topic or idea.

Evaluation questions These ask you to explore and evaluate arguments for and against a

position, topic or issue.

Compare and contrast questions You have to explore and analyse the common ground and difference

between competing positions, showing why the different position arise.

The format of the essay you write will be determined by the style of essay title. Determine what kind of essay you are being asked to write before you write the essay.
Words to Watch For (and their definition, sort of):
Discuss Consider and debate or argue about the pros and cons of a issue. Write about any conflict

Enumerate List several ideas, aspects events, things, qualities, reasons, etc. depending on the topic

Evaluate Give your opinion or cite the opinion of an expert. Include evidence to support the opinion

Explain Make an idea clear. Show logically how a concept is developed. Give the reason for an event

Illustrate Give concrete examples. Explain clearly by using comparisons and examples

Interpret Comment upon, give examples, describe and evaluate relationships. Explain the meaning

Outline Describe main ideas, characteristics or events (but not in list form!)

Prove Support with facts (consult your lecture notes and text books for the appropriate facts)

State Explain precisely

Relate Show the connections between ideas or events. Provide the larger context

Summarise Give a brief, condensed account. Select the most important facts and ideas

Trace Show the order of events or progress of an idea, event(s) or work

Define Give the meaning; usually a meaning specific to the subject or course, keep it short

Describe Give a detailed account. Make a picture with words. list characteristics, qualities parts

Analyse Break into separate parts and discuss, examine and interpret each part

Contrast Show differences. Set in opposition and highlight incompatibilities and origins of items

Compare Examine two or more items. Identify similarities and differences. Explore common themes

Criticise Make judgements (don’t sit on the fence). Criticism often involves analysis
Responding to Questions:
As you write in response to different essay questions, you are thinking in different and complex ways. You are also becoming better able to see relationships between things. There are several different analytical thought processes which you may go through in response to different types of questions; basically these are all tools to help you organise your thinking and your writing.
Compare and Contrast
There are several ways of approaching an essay like this. You might have decided to take each element in turn and write about all the different aspects. Or you might take each of the elements you have decided to compare and contrast and analyse them with respect to the main headings. Remember that you must explore why certain positions appeal to different approaches, and how the nature of the evidence appealed to by each approach varies.
Narration
In a narration you do not have to include everything that happened. You should summarise the main events in the correct order. Telling the story of an event, process, discovery or creative work is a good way of remembering it. In answering this kind of question you need to explore your own thoughts and impressions.
Cause and Effect
It is often important to think in terms of cause and effect, especially in History courses. It is also another crucial way of learning and developing our thought processes. Essay questions are often framed in this way:

What have been the effects of Information Technology on the organisation of work?

This kind of essay gives you a chance to ask questions, to explore ideas and possibilities, to use your imagination and to be inventive. You can put quite a lot of original thinking into this kind of writing. However, you must have evidence for what you write!
Evaluation
If you are asked to evaluate a position or discuss a proposal, avoid where possible just presenting a variety of opinions leading to a conclusion ‘that there a are number of views on this issue’. If you can, choose one or two positions as correct, or as the closest to correct and show how the arguments lead to that conclusion. Remember that the truth never lies ‘somewhere in the middle’. This is the sloppiest form of analysis and should be left to people like Joe Duffy and Pat Kenny whose job it is to have no opinion.
Theories and Opinions:
In your studies you will come across theories. A theory is a principle suggested to explain observed facts and phenomena. All disciplines have underlying doctrines and principles which are expressed as theories. Some theories are more difficult than others to understand. If you are examining some theories, you will need to practice explaining them to yourself and others. What does the theory really mean and what is its significance? Whose theory is it? If you are invited to offer your own opinions or comment on someone else’s opinion, do so by all means. You may be asked to compare different theories or you may wish to contrast an established theory with a new one of your own. But be sure that you understand the theory properly first. If you understand it you will be able to explain it to a child! It is the different theories and opinions in your subjects that are often the focus of essays. Theories can be right as well as wrong, as can opinions, so assess the theories and opinions you are dealing with.
Explanation and Argument:
Argument in this case means a reason urged in support of a theory, opinion or position. It can also refer to discussion of a question or a debate.

Explanation means ‘making clear’, ‘illustrating the meaning of’. If you have to explain a principle, concept, event, issue, theory or procedure, you will increase you own understanding. You may then want to take it a step further to persuade someone that this is the best way of doing or thinking about something. You will then have to defend your stance by developing a well-thought out and reasoned argument. This is very good practice and will help you to decide on your own approach to the subject.

Make sure that your essay has arguments and they are well explained.
Defining Your Purpose:
Once you thoroughly evaluated the question, you need to move on to define your own purpose. Your purpose should be your personal statement of intent. Remember to consider your reader here; what do you want them to think by the end of your essay? Think of your purpose as your ultimate goal; it will depend on certain decisions you make. If you are asked to take a stance, which stance will you take? If you are comparing two ideas, which aspects will you chose to compare? Will you agree or disagree with the statement which forms the basis of your essay. Once you have identified your purpose, try to keep it clearly in mind as you write. If you are clear about your purpose, this will evident to your reader ..... and that will mean higher marks!
Planning Your Work:
The first stage in planning your work is to find out what you already know.
Brainstorming
Brainstorming is a way of stimulating ideas and finding answers to problems. It will help you find out how much you already know about a topic and increase your confidence in your existing knowledge. It will also help to clarify the direction your essay will take. You will need a blank piece of paper, a clear desk and some free time. Clear your mind of everything apart from your essay question. Write down your thoughts, perhaps in the form of a spider diagram, mind map or other patterned notes; as a list; or simply randomly on the page.
Finding out what you need to know
As a result of brainstorming, some further questions will arise. These questions will serve as the basis of your research; they are what you need to know in order to write the essay successfully. If you have a list of question, it will help you to avoid the time wasting activity of indiscriminate reading. It is too easy to surround yourself with a pile of books at the last minute in order to get some information. Last minute reading will always involve the books in the library that everyone else has rejected as being of no use. The good books will already have been checked out by the more organised students.

As you read, more questions will arise, you can use these new questions to further guide your research, but resist the temptation to stray from the essay topic; remember your definition of purpose.

The time spent brainstorming and posing questions will leave you in a much better position to gather material for your essay and should reduce the amount of time you have to spend organising and drafting your work
Gathering material
Some of the information that you have gained from your reading will be in your head while some will probably be in the form of notes. Ultimately you want all your material in one place before you start drafting your essay. When you are trying to put together a large amount of information, it is easy to become undisciplined and simply copy down everything you find that is related to the topic. This is not helping you to learn. The best notes are made after you have finished a section in a book or even after you have closed the book. The notes will not only serve as reminders but also form part of the learning process.

If you come across something that you don’t understand, instead of simply copying it down, try to work out what it means. Spend time making sense of the difficult phrases, terms, theories or concepts. Ask yourself how this new idea fits in with your existing knowledge of the subject. In this way the depth of your understanding of the subject will increase enormously. You will gain new insights and relate new knowledge to existing concepts and ideas allowing you to make new connections and breakthroughs in understanding.
Organising information
The form and shape of your notes is not that important, but the thought which goes into them is crucial. It may be useful to discuss with other people the techniques that work for them. Here are a few suggestions:
Use index cards with one main point on each. Additional information may be added later and new index cards can be added to the set of cards. The cards can also be cross-referenced or colour coded.

Use ordinary paper for your notes but leave plenty of space between each main point. Later, you can cut up the pieces of paper and stick all the pieces that relate to each other on clean sheets of paper.

Make mind-maps, spider diagrams or other patterned notes — one piece of paper for each main point.

Use one piece of paper for each of your questions and queries (adding more as new questions emerge) and fill in the answers on the paper as you find them.


Experiment until you find the system that suits you best. Make sure that the task of organising material is complete before beginning to write your essay. Always make a note of the source of your information and acknowledge the source in the essay.
Planning Your Essay:
You are already used to the idea of planning in other areas of your life - avoiding lectures, going drinking, meeting new partners and keeping them from each other, getting money to buy more drink. You make plans to help ensure that everything will work out alright in the end and so that you can maintain some control over your life.

If you have gathered and organised your research material, you will already have a good idea of the shape of your essay and will have laid the foundations for the planning stage.

You now have to pull together all the information that you have gathered and create a structure for your work. Although you have masses of information, you are unlikely to be able to deal effectively with more than a handful of points along with the introduction and summary.

The essay should consist broadly of three parts:
Introduction Briefly explain the purpose and content of the essay.
Main body Address the results of your research into the questions, supporting your ideas with examples, references, etc.
Conclusion Pull the essay together by giving an insightful synopsis of your main arguments. Perhaps you could state one good, strong new idea that points to a new direction of investigation or you could suggest further action or study.
One of the best ways of planning an essay is to create an outline. An outline consists of the bare bones of your essay which you will ‘flesh-out’ in the first draft. The outline should move from the main (or more general) points down to the specific points or examples in support of your argument. It is important that writing moves in this way: from general to specific, from assertion to proof.
- Indicate the main, general or abstract points with Roman numerals, I, II, III etc.

- Support these with more specific statements, represented by A, B, C, D etc.

- Give examples and more precise information (1, 2, 3).

- Offer quotations, references (a, b, c) to hold the reader’s interest - and thus get better marks.

- Give even more specific details (i, ii, iii) to help bring the subject alive.
You may not follow your plan exactly; writing will stimulate your thinking. As you write, allow yourself to bring new ideas into the plan; to revise your plan and to refine the structure of the essay. Improve your style through your choice of words and phrases as you write.
The next stage is an important one in the learning process. Drafting is when you begin transforming your notes and plans into a coherent, logical piece of work consisting of sentences and paragraphs. Don’t worry too much at this stage about speling, or punctuation; or getting the, like, y’know, style right. Concentrate on getting your thoughts down on paper in the right order. Write the draft quickly and let your thoughts flow. Leave plenty of space on the page for your revisions. Writing a draft has the following benefits:
- You can write quickly without worrying too much about spelling, style or punctuation and so get your thoughts on paper freely.

- Writing a draft helps you understand your topic and develop your ideas.

- Writing a draft gives you an opportunity to see mistakes and to check your work.

- You can make sure that you really have answered the question.

- You can try out different approaches as you go and so improve the final essay.

- Writing a draft gives you a much needed sense of accomplishment.

- Writing a draft helps you get started without the fear of criticism.
After you have written your draft, leave it aside for at least 24 hours. It is important to put some distance between you and the draft so that you can come to the task of revising it with a fresh eye. otherwise you will read not what is on the page but what you intended to put on the page.
Revising Your Essay:
After your time for reflection there will be a number of things in your draft that you will want to change. If you knew what you wanted to say before you started writing, your draft will probably be in good shape. If you have done your research thoroughly and planned carefully you are unlikely to have to make major revisions. However, it is possible that a new idea will occur to you as you read through the draft or that you may become aware of errors in your argument.

Your reader needs to be led carefully through your material. Think of your essay as a maze through which the reader must find the way to the end. Try to make the second draft sharper, more interesting, better organised and, above all, livelier - but avoid trying to make jokes, leave that to professionals.

When you are finally finished revising and are satisfied with the content of your essay, you can concentrate on making it presentable. Proof-read your work carefully, looking at every word. Make sure every sentence reads well and is logically connected with the sentence before and after it.

In proof reading, make sure that you read very carefully. You can do this by reading the essay aloud, or by covering the page you are reading with a blank sheet, only revealing the line you are reading rather than any following line, this will encourage you to analyse the text line by line. You should also pay attention to the kind of mistakes that have been pointed out to you before in essays you have submitted. Have you used its and it’s properly? Are there words you are prone to misspelling (like independent) or misusing (like disinterested)? Divide up the proof reading task so that you read for punctuation only once and spelling only the next time etc. This will make you proof reading far more effective.
When you have made all the necessary corrections you are ready to prepare the final draft. If you can, use a word processor to produce the final version, but make sure that you back up regularly. Some day you may lose an entire essay and be really angry. So get in to the habit of backing up regularly and keeping a copy of your work on a floppy or zip disk as well as on the hard drive. If you are using a spell checker, make sure it is set on our spelling system and not the US English system.
Presenting the essay:
The key to presenting an essay is to put the reader first. Remember that you are trying to persuade the reader to think of things the way you do. Making it easy for the reader will help convince them.
Always make sure that your essay looks well:
Use a clear and unfussy font.

Type on one side of the page only, use double spacing with an extra space between each paragraph.

The first line of each paragraph should be indented.

Number the pages and you should consider inserting a header with a short version of the essay title and your name in it.


When it comes to binding the essay, remember that simple is best. Fancy binding is irritating as it just makes the essay itself hard to access. The person you have handed the essay in to wants to be able to write notes on the pages of the essay itself so the pages have to be easy to get at. The easiest system is to submit an essay stapled with a covering page with the title of the essay and your name (as well as any other relevant information). For Investigating Language, a cover sheet is provided.

Finally, keep a copy of the essay yourself. It is not unknown for essays to go missing and without a copy of the essay you will not be able to replace the lost essay.
Use the following checklist to make sure that you have done everything possible to make sure you are submitting a quality product.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation are all correct.

Pages are numbered.

Name, essay title and course are included on the front page.

Handwriting or printout is clear and easy to read.

There is plenty of space and wide margins for marker’s comments.

Thought and ideas flow logically.

The essay answers the question(s).

Any instructions about format or structure have been followed.



References and bibliography are provided in the correct format.
You may like to add more items to the list as some courses may have slightly different requirements.
Review:
The process of writing an essay is as important as the essay itself as it helps you assimilate and express ideas. Every essay that you write should bring about some change in you, a shift in approach to a subject, the seed of a new idea, the successful expression of something important to you. A methodical approach will result not only in a better essay, but it will enable you to gain the greatest possible benefits from your studies.
In this handout we have gone into the details of developing and producing an essay. You have seen how important it is to spend time preparing yourself before you gather material, how important it is to gather and organise material effectively. You have also seen how vital it is to plan your essay and to write a first draft; also how important it is to take care in producing the final draft. If you follow the advice in this handout you will be able to write an excellent essay.
Format and Rules for Essay Writing:

I. Introduction — Outline what you are going to say.

A. State your argument or thesis.

B. Pose a question which you intend to answer.

C. Give your reasons for focusing on certain aspects of the topic.

D. Use a quote to communicate your main ideas.


II. The body of the essay

A. Order your main points effectively.

1. Make sure your order is logical and clear to your reader.

a. Refer back to your purpose or definition

b. Use subheadings or numbering if necessary or appropriate
2. If understanding one point depends on an explanation of another make, sure you provide a sufficient explanation
B. Present your points as clearly as possible.

1. Use new paragraphs for each main point.

a. Use a key sentence to sum up the main idea of the paragraph

b. The other sentences should explain or illustrate the main point

c. Each sentence should have a purpose of its own

i. Each sentence should lead the reader naturally onto the next

ii. Each sentence should follow on naturally from the previous one

iii Use appropriate and varied sentences to link paragraphs
2. Don’t assume too much.

a. Always explain obscure references

b. Always support general statements with specific reasons or examples

i. Give examples or use quotations where necessary

ii. Cite statistics, use diagrams or tables where appropriate

iii. Always be very careful in appealing to ‘common knowledge’
C. Balance your main points.

1. Decide whether all your main points should receive equal attention.

a. You may decide to examine one aspect more closely than another

b. Some points may need more or less emphasis
2. Make sure your essay will be the right length.

a. You may have to reduce the number of points if your essay is too long; eliminate the least important points first

b. You may have to include more points to make a short essay longer
3. Refer back to your purpose.

a. Check whether your points all relate to your purpose

b. Learn to cut unnecessary material


II. Conclusion
A. Draw together and summarise what you have said in the main body.
B. Relate back to the Introduction.
===============================================================
Avoiding Plagiarism! by Sharon Williams.

(URL: http://sja.ucdavis.edu/SJA/pdf/plagiarism.pdf)
Writers sometimes plagiarise ideas from outside sources without realising that they are doing so. Put simply, you plagiarise if you present other writer's words, ideas or strategies as your own. Plagiarism will result in failure for your essay. You do not plagiarise if you "provide citations for all direct quotations and paraphrases, for borrowed ideas, and for facts that do not belong to general knowledge" (Crews and VanSant, 407).
General advice for using sources:

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to keep control of your argument. You should include ideas from other sources only when those ideas add weight to your argument. Keep the following suggestions in mind when you are using material from other sources:
° Select carefully. Quotations should give weight to your argument. In general, do not select quotations which only repeat points you have already made.

° Be sure to integrate all ideas from other sources into your own discussion. Introduce direct quotations with your own words. After quoting, explain the significance of quotations.

° Avoid quoting more than is needed. Most of the time, brief quotations suffice.

° Use direct quotations only when the author's wording is necessary or particularly effective. Some disciplines discourage direct quotations. Check with your lecturer.

° If you are using material cited by an author and you do not have the original source, introduce the quotation with a phrase such as "as is quoted in...."

° End citation alone is not sufficient for direct quotations; place all direct quotations within quotation marks. Be sure to copy quotations exactly as they appear.

° To avoid any unintentional failure to cite sources, include all citation information on index cards and in your first draft.
At all times, stay in control of your argument and let your own voice speak for you.
A common pitfall: the note-taking stage
Plagiarism often starts with the note-taking stage of the research process. If possible, have a clear question in mind before heading off to the library so you will not waste time taking extraneous notes. When taking notes, be sure to distinguish between paraphrases and direct quotations. When you are copying a direct quotation, be extremely precise. Note all the information you will need for the citation and copy the quotation exactly as it appears. Some writers use only direct quotations when note-taking so there can be no confusion as to whether a note is a paraphrase or a direct quotation. Other writers colour-code notes: one colour for paraphrases, another for quotations. To ensure that you are not copying wording or sentence structure when paraphrasing, you might find it helpful to put the source material aside.
Examples:

Sometimes writers do not recognise when their use of other writers' ideas constitutes plagiarism. Versions of the following source can help you see the difference between acceptable paraphrasing and plagiarism (taken from The Bedford Handbook for Writers, 508).
Original source #1
If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for animal behaviourists (Davis 26).
o Version A

The existence of a signing ape unsettled linguists and startled animal behaviourists (Davis, 26).
Comment:

Plagiarism. Even though the writer has cited the source, the writer has not used quotation marks around the direct quotation "the existence of a signing ape". In addition, the phrase "unsettled linguists and startled animal behaviourists" closely resembles the wording of the source.


o Version B

If the presence of a sign-language-using chimp was disturbing for scientists studying language, it was also surprising to scientists studying animal behaviour (Davis, 26).
Comment:

Still plagiarism. Even though the writer has substituted synonyms and cited the source, the writer is plagiarising because the source's sentence structure is unchanged.


o Version C

According to Flora Davis, linguists and animal behaviourists were unprepared for the news that a chimp could communicate with its trainers through sign language (Davis, 26).

Comment

No plagiarism. This is an appropriate paraphrase of the original sentence.



Original Source #2
The joker in the European pack was Italy. For a time, hopes were entertained of her as a force against Germany, but these disappeared under Mussolini. In 1935 Italy made a belated attempt to participate in the scramble for Africa by invading Ethiopia. It was clearly a breach of the covenant of the League of Nations for one of its members to attack another. France and Great Britain, the Mediterranean powers, and the African powers were bound to take the lead against Italy at the league. But they did so feebly and half-heartedly because they did not want to alienate a possible ally against Germany. The result was the worst possible: the league failed to check aggression, Ethiopia lost her independence, and Italy was alienated after all (J. M. Roberts, History of the World. New York: Knopf, 1976, p. 845).
o Version A

Italy, one might say, was the joker in the European deck. When she invaded Ethiopia, it was clearly a breach of the covenant of the League of Nations, yet the efforts of England and France to take the lead against her were feeble and half- hearted. It appears that those great powers had no wish to alienate a possible ally against Hitler's rearmed Germany.
Comment:

Plagiarism. The writer has taken entire phrases from the source, and there is no citation. The writer's interweaving of his or her own language does not mean that the writer is innocent of plagiarism.


o Version B

Italy was the joker in the European deck. Under Mussolini in 1935, she made a belated attempt to participate in the scramble for Africa by invading Ethiopia. As J. M. Roberts points out, this violated the covenant of the League of Nations (Roberts, 845). But France and Britain, not wanting to alienate a possible ally against Germany, put up only feeble and half-hearted opposition to the Ethiopian adventure. The outcome, as Roberts observes, was "the worst possible: the league failed to check aggression, Ethiopia lost her independence, and Italy was alienated after all" (Roberts, 845).
Comment:

Still plagiarism. Even though the writer has used two correct citations from the source, he or she has not cited other phrases.


o Version C:

Much has been written about German rearmament and militarism in the period 1933-39. But Germany's dominance in Europe was by no means a foregone conclusion. The fact is that the balance of power might have been tipped against Hitler if one or two things had turned out differently. Take Italy's gravitation toward an alliance with Germany, for example. That alliance seemed so very far from inevitable that Britain and France actually muted their criticism of the Ethiopian invasion in the hope of remaining friends with Italy. They opposed the Italians in the League of Nations, as J. M. Roberts observes, "feebly and half-heartedly because they did not want to alienate a possible ally against Germany" (Roberts, 845). Suppose Italy, France, and Britain had retained a certain common interest. Would Hitler have been able to get away with his remarkable bluffing bullying in the later Thirties?

Comment:

No plagiarism. The writer properly acknowledges the one use of Roberts's ideas. (Note that the writer has chosen to use only one idea from the source and has integrated that idea into his or her own argument.)


A final note:

Learning how to use the ideas of others to add weight to your ideas involves effort and a commitment to academic honesty. It is not always clear exactly when or how to use sources and sometimes you will need advice. Since your lecturers are most familiar with the expectations of their disciplines, they are the best people to ask.

Works cited:

Crews, Frederick and Ann Jessie VanSant. The Random House Handbook, 4th edition. New York: Random House, 1984.

Fowler, H. Ramsey and Jane Aaron. The Little Brown Handbook. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foreman and Co., 1989.

Hacker, Diana. The Bedford Handbook for Writers. Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1991.
[Note the bibliographic style of this essay, it is different to system recommended at the end of this hand out. The style above is called the MLA (Modern Languages Association) style and the style below is the APA (American Psychological Association) style]

Bibliography for your Essay (APA format)
Book
Author(s) (year). Title. Place Published:Publisher.

Simpson, H. (1997). My life as a cross dresser. Springfield: D’Oh Books.

Simpson, H. and M. Simpson (1998). The Dangers of South Park. Springfield: D’Oh Books.
Journal
Author(s) (year). “Title”. Journal Volume: Pages:

Flanders, N. (1996). “My Life of Crime”. Armageddon 666: 123 - 456.

Bouvier, P. and S. Bouvier (1968). “The Benefits of Smoking”. McGyver Magazine 68: 1 - 6.
Edited Book
Editor(s) (year). Title, Series Title, Place Published:Publisher

Wiggum, R., T. Flanders, R. Flanders and L. Hutz, (Eds) (1993). Law for the Amateur. Springfield: D’Oh Books.

Wiggum, R., T. Flanders R. Flanders and L. Hutz, (Eds) (1993). Law for the pre-pubescent. Cheap Law Handbooks. Springfield: D’Oh Books.
Conference proceedings
Author(s) (Year of Conference). “Title”. Conference Name, Conference Location, Publisher.

Bob, S. (1976). “Krusty as a metaphor for ennui and alienation in post-modern society”. In Proceedings of the fifteenth Clowns and Clowning conference, Springfield, Shelbyville: Shelbyville Publications.
Book Section / Chapter
Author(s) (Year). “Title”. In Editor(s). Book Title. City:Publisher. Volume: Pages.

Krabappel, E. (1976). “The Joys of Being a Single Teacher”. In Skinner and Brockman. (Eds.) My Two Cents Worth on Teaching. Springfield: D’Oh Books, Vol. 2, pp. 73 - 124.
Internet Document
Author(s) (Year). Internet Document Title. URL. Date downloaded/accessed.

Gumble, B. (1985). “Drink, Memory and ...”. http://www.springfield.com/~drugs/moe.html. Date downloaded: 29/02/2001. If you can find no author, use Anonymous as the name.
Citations
As has been pointed out (Simpson, 1997, p. 666), Springfield has many attractions.

As has often been pointed out (Krabappel, 1976; Simpson, 1997 and Simpson and Simpson, 1998), Springfield has many attractions to lure the average American psychopath.
Simpson (1997) draws our attention to the emasculation that may occur when a man’s wife joins the police force:

Marge, you being a cop makes you a man! Which makes me the woman - and I have no interest in that, besides occasionally wearing the underwear which, as we discussed, is strictly a comfort thing. (p. 174)
Wiggum et al (1993, p. 69) makes a similar point but in a more turgid manner.

A sample bibliography
Baldwin, D. A. (1991). “Infants' contribution to the achievement of joint reference”. Child Development 62: 875 - 890.

Brown, R. (1957). “Linguistic determinism and the part of speech”. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 55: 1 - 5.

Cheng, L. L. (1991). On the Typology of Wh-Questions. Ph.D. Dissertation, MIT. Distributed by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.

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