Writing College Papers Dr. Katherine Schmidt wou writing Center Recognize Your Task

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Writing College Papers

  • Dr. Katherine Schmidt
  • WOU Writing Center

Recognize Your Task

Assignment Examples Deciphering Your Professor’s Directions

  • Biology 101
  • Document the processes of your lab experiment in a one-page report.
  • Political Science 101
  • Consider McCain’s and Obama’s work as senators. Who has effected more change and why?
  • Psychology 101
  • Examine how your past shapes your present: (a) analyze your childhood, and (b) explain how it has shaped you into the adult you are today.
  • English 101
  • Analyze Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

Approaching Writing Assignments

  • Before you leave the classroom:
  • written directions versus verbal directions
  • how will the professor grade the paper (i.e., what is most important to her)?
  • When you’re on your own:
  • define/clarify key terms
  • who is your audience?
  • what kind of research is required to complete the assignment? and who can help?
  • what kind of format should be used?

Discipline-Specific Formats

  • What is a discipline?
  • Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.
  • A branch of knowledge or teaching.
  • Style Guides:
  • AP
  • APA
  • AAA
  • CBE
  • Chicago/Turabian
  • MLA

Academic Writing: Top Tips

  • The five-paragraph essay is no longer an option (hint: making a skeleton is the key to success).
  • Avoid table talk:
  • Point of View
  • 1st or 3rd: determine the most appropriate POV for the particular discipline and assignment
  • Contractions
  • Word Choice
  • Exclamation Marks
  • Do not use it, this, or these at the start of a sentence.
  • Watch your homophones — there, their, and they’re
  • Watch your but use — however is an excellent replacement.
  • Do not use the terms Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms. when referring to an individual you have researched or interviewed: use Manuel Aguilar the first time and Aguilar only every time thereafter.
  • Do not ever cite Wikipedia as a source in your paper.

Your Routine

  • Who is currently involved in sports?
  • Who is currently involved in music—playing, composing, or both?
  • Who is an artist?
  • Who is a video gamer? u-tuber? facebooker?
  • What is the common thread in the stories you hear?
  • time
  • motivation to study and practice
  • sacrifice
  • improvement is a constant goal
  • What if you could feel the same motivators when it comes to attending your classes, completing your homework, and writing your papers?
  • When you taste success, you just might get hooked . . .
  • If you were to approach writing a paper like you would approach your sport/music/art/hobbies, what would the process look like?

WOU Writing Center

  • www.wou.edu/writingcenter

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