You are trying. I just know you are. I believe that you are; or, as Fox Mulder would say, "I want to believe." I know that you think the content of your papers should mean so much more than the spelling, grammar, form and other technical details of essay writing, but it doesn't. The second actually makes the former stronger and more credible. So here are a few tips on writing research papers. Some may strike you as familiar from class, either this one or your English composition class.
- History took place in the past tense. Hence, history papers should be written in past tense. The police did not "arrest demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic convention," they "arrested" them.
- An apostrophe s (-'s) indicates a possessive noun, an s alone (-s) indicates a plural noun, an s apostrophe (-s') indicates a plural possessive noun.
- Paragraphs! Remember them? You separate your ideas into discrete sections by pressing "enter" and "tab."
- The website advertising a book is not the same as the book and does not count as a source, much less a separate source from the book.
- A website or book with "Encyclopedia" in the title is, actually, an encyclopedia and a forbidden source as stipulated in the instructions.
- "No late papers" means "no late papers." It does not mean, "oh crap! A paper is due? Today? Can I turn it in late? What's it supposed to be on?"
- An extension on a paper, due to illness or death in the family, still includes a deadline. The semester does have a end date. The paper is due sometime before then, usually on a mu tally agreed upon date. If you miss that extended deadline, you lose.
- Buying a paper online is not the same as researching and writing a paper. Not even if you allegedly wrote that paper for another class and sold it to that website. (Yes, a student actually gave this excuse this week.)
- From here on out, you may not in any way use Google as a research tool. The first ten hits do not constitute "research" nor a "bibliography."
- If you are writing a paper on a particular person, and if a charitable organization is named after that person, the website for that organization does not constitute a research source.
- "X was the greatest person ever!" is not a valid thesis statement.
I apologize. I should have kept closer watch on you throughout the semester. I shouldn't have assumed that you learned these things in your English composition class; or, rather, I shouldn't have assumed that you would retain that information once English comp had ended. I keep forgetting that not everyone can intuit these things; so make your next teacher happier and remember this list.Thank you,