Research Paper Guidelines

Research Paper Guidelines (Mechanics and other notes)

  1. Essays should be typed in readable (common), 12-point font and double-spaced.(e.g. New Times Roman, Courier New, or Calibri). All essays too, should be between 12-20 pages in length (the text, not including the bibliography and Endnotes [or footnotes].  Again, at least 12 pp. of Text is required.
  2. Limit direct quotes and introduce quotes smoothly. For example, integrate direct quotes into sentences in your own words to make a point.
  3. Absolutely no block quotes.
  4. Essays should have a descriptive title (describing the topic in detail including dates and chronology, e.g. ‘The Civil Rights Movement and Popular Protest in Memphis Tennessee, 1960-1968’) and hopefully creative title
  5. Essays should be written following the Chicago Manuel of Style or Turabian utilizing either endnotes or footnotes
  6. Essays should have a minimum of 15 sources reasonably distributed between primary and secondary sources. Bibliographies should also be divided between Primary (first-hand) secondary sources.  Divide the bibliography accordingly into two separate sections, one for primary sources, the other for secondary.
  7. Pay close attention to how different sources are cited, including indentions, punctuation, etc. For example, below is the proper method to cite a journal article:

     [1]See below 

Different kinds of books are cited different ways; consult the style manuals for correct citation of books by one author, anthologies, books with editors, etc. 

  1. Follow essay form: All essays should have an introduction that contains a strong, bold, clear (both general and specific) argument or thesis that lays out the paper’s conclusions.  Introductions should be edited the most and thought about more carefully than the rest of the paper.  The body of the paper is where evidence (sources) should be marshaled to support the argument in the introduction.  The evidence should have a direct connection and relevance to the argument, or the writer should make these connections in his own words.  Utilize direct quotes sparingly. Each paragraph should have a citation which indicates where the writer is acquiring the evidence to back a particular claim.  The essay’s conclusion should be in some form or fashion, a summation of the main argument, or just a restatement of thesis to drive the point home to the reader. 
  2. Organization. All papers should have some semblance of an organization. Essays can be organized chronologically or topically.   Since change over time defines good history, essays should read much like a story, or a narrative.  So framing essays beginning with the earliest dates and proceeding chronologically is the easiest way to organize papers.  Optimally, essays include both chronological and topical organization.  Paragraphs are vital in organization.  Essays should avoid paragraphs which run more than a page. 
  3. Essays should follow all formal writing guidelines.
  4. Completing successful research papers is a process. The process begins with selecting a relevant topic, (preferably one which interests you) and researching (and hopefully finding) primary and secondary sources.  After finding enough sources to craft a 12-20 pp. paper, begin taking notes that will become the text of the essay. Note that if you do not find adequate sources, consider altering or changing the topic of the paper.  Some sources, too may alter the paper’s focus or emphasis of the essay.  In short, the sources should guide the direction of the paper despite initial assumptions about the particular topic.  *Most Important*–Avoid making definitive conclusions until the END of the writing process.  

 Take each step in the process seriously.  One of the most important steps in completion of a long essay is editing. 

  1. Editing does not just include looking for simple mistakes in spelling and punctuation, but includes analyzing organization, word choice, tone and flow of the essay. Take care of the obvious mistakes first (deviations from the formal style, grammar, spelling) before moving on to organization and word choice. Writing a quality essay includes re-writing and editing the essay, in some cases, several times. Furthermore, last-minute writing and editing does not work.  Write first and second drafts ahead of time and allow them to “sit,” before re-reading and editing them further.
  2. Have the writing center or a friend/colleague edit the essay; having another set of eyes examine the paper improves the editing process. *note*–Students should be careful in who they select to read the paper.  Someone with at least a bachelor’s degree in some liberal arts field would suffice; someone with an advanced (masters’) degree would be even better.
  3. Several style books exist to assist with effective writing. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White are very popular and effective. 
  4. Selecting a topic (early) and continually progressing (and refining the topic) and working on the paper is essential for producing a quality work at the end of the semester.

 [1] Coleman Wagner, “Freret’s Century: Growth, Identity and Loss in a New Orleans Neighborhood,” Louisiana History 42 (2001): 343.

Evaluation/Reflection Essay


Goal: To evaluate and reflect upon what a) what constitutes criteria and b) what constitutes good essay writing

Writing components to emphasize: Synthesis of ideas, shifts in authorial voice, structuring an argument, ability to foreground authorial voice even in the third-person pronoun case

Rhetorical type: Hybrid: both evaluative and reflective


  1. A) Using 2-3 essays from The Best American Essays of the Century, discern what constitutes ‘good essay writing’ with specific examples from the book. Much of what you’ll be doing is isolating what constitutes ‘evaluative criteria’ for essay writing and composing an argument that expands upon this idea. Use directly quoted textual evidence from 2-3 essayists (Dillard, Didion, Walker), taken from The Best American Essays of the Century, and articulate how they enact the criteria you’ve established. In several respects, this type of essay is a synthesis one, too, as you’re combining forms of criteria with sources that illustrate a given principle. For an essay to receive an “A,” the body paragraphs should be structured around a criterion, not a summary of the author in question. At this point, in the same paragraph, a comparison should be made on a given trait (synthesis), with specific elements compared and contrasted between two or more authors. You’re welcome to use any essayist from The Best American Essays of the Century, even ones not read in class, as long as at least one of the essayists is from the three read in class. Consider including some of the evaluative criteria ideas initiated in class discussion and from your individual writings as main concepts for comparison and synthesis in this essay.
  2. B) Besides within the conclusion paragraph (see below), the pronoun case of the third-person should be used throughout. The tone should be creative, but objective and analytical, first and foremost.
  3. C) In order to receive full credit, students must use direct quotations in each body paragraph, that is, at least two, with one from each author (one from Walker, one from Dillard, for example), in the same body paragraph body paragraph. Show your logic through the evidence you’ve provided, and paraphrase and integrate the quoted passages you’ve chosen. Remember that this essay is a synthesis one that connects examples around a common trait the authors share.
  4. D) In the conclusion paragraph, besides restating your main ideas in a new way, reflect on your own essay writing experience in the past and whether any of the evaluative criteria could be applied to your own past essays. Try to reference at least one specific essay and assignment in a particular class, if not more, evaluating whether you did indeed write a ‘good’ essay using the stated criteria in the preceding exposition. This portion of your essay should shift from the first-person into the first-person pronoun case.

Provide a ‘Works Cited’ page. Only use the approved sources mentioned above

Be creative in how you approach this project.

Developing Strong Thesis Statements

The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable

An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.

Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:

Pollution is bad for the environment.

This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution means that something is bad or negative in some way. Further, all studies agree that pollution is a problem, they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is good.

Example of a debatable thesis statement:

At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution.

This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation’s money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.

Another example of a debatable thesis statement:

America’s anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars.

In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.

The thesis needs to be narrow

Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.

Example of a thesis that is too broad:

Drug use is detrimental to society.

There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category “drugs”? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by “society”? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.

Example of a narrow or focused thesis:

Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence.

In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.

We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:

Narrowed debatable thesis 1:

At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on helping upgrade business to clean technologies, researching renewable energy sources, and planting more trees in order to control or eliminate pollution.

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.

Narrowed debatable thesis 2:

America’s anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars because it would allow most citizens to contribute to national efforts and care about the outcome.

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.

Qualifiers such as “typically,” “generally,” “usually,” or “on average” also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.

Use of Quotations Effectively

Used effectively, quotations can provide important pieces of evidence and lend fresh voices and perspectives to your narrative. Used ineffectively, however, quotations can clutter your text and interrupt the flow of your argument.

When should I quote?

Use quotations at strategically selected moments. You have probably been told by teachers to provide as much evidence as possible in support of your thesis. But packing your paper with quotations will not necessarily strengthen your argument. The majority of your paper should still be your original ideas in your own words (after all, it’s your paper). And quotations are only one type of evidence: well-balanced papers may also make use of paraphrases, data, and statistics. The types of evidence you use will depend in part on the conventions of the discipline or audience for which you are writing. For example, papers analyzing literature may rely heavily on direct quotations of the text, while papers in the social sciences may have more paraphrasing, data, and statistics than quotations.

Discussing specific arguments or ideas

Sometimes, in order to have a clear, accurate discussion of the ideas of others, you need to quote those ideas word for word. Suppose you want to challenge the following statement made by John Doe, a well-known historian:

    “At the beginning of World War Two, almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly.”

If it is especially important that you formulate a counterargument to this claim, then you might wish to quote the part of the statement that you find questionable and establish a dialogue between yourself and John Doe:

    Historian John Doe has argued that in 1941 “almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly” (Doe 223). Yet during the first six months of U.S. involvement, the wives and mothers of soldiers often noted in their diaries their fear that the war would drag on for years.

Giving added emphasis to a particularly authoritative source on your topic.

There will be times when you want to highlight the words of a particularly important and authoritative source on your topic. For example, suppose you were writing an essay about the differences between the lives of male and female slaves in the U.S. South. One of your most provocative sources is a narrative written by a former slave, Harriet Jacobs. It would then be appropriate to quote some of Jacobs’s words:

    Harriet Jacobs, a former slave from North Carolina, published an autobiographical slave narrative in 1861. She exposed the hardships of both male and female slaves but ultimately concluded that “slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women.”

In this particular example, Jacobs is providing a crucial first-hand perspective on slavery. Thus, her words deserve more exposure than a paraphrase could provide.

Jacobs is quoted in Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Jean Fagan Yellin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987).

Analyzing how others use language.

This scenario is probably most common in literature and linguistics courses, but you might also find yourself writing about the use of language in history and social science classes. If the use of language is your primary topic, then you will obviously need to quote users of that language.

Examples of topics that might require the frequent use of quotations include:

Southern colloquial expressions in William Faulkner’s Light in August

Ms. and the creation of a language of female empowerment

A comparison of three British poets and their use of rhyme

Spicing up your prose.

In order to lend variety to your prose, you may wish to quote a source with particularly vivid language. All quotations, however, must closely relate to your topic and arguments. Do not insert a quotation solely for its literary merits.

One example of a quotation that adds flair:

    President Calvin Coolidge’s tendency to fall asleep became legendary. As H. L. Mencken commented in the American Mercury in 1933, “Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored.”

How do I set up and follow up a quotation?

Once you’ve carefully selected the quotations that you want to use, your next job is to weave those quotations into your text. The words that precede and follow a quotation are just as important as the quotation itself. You can think of each quote as the filling in a sandwich: it may be tasty on its own, but it’s messy to eat without some bread on either side of it. Your words can serve as the “bread” that helps readers digest each quote easily. Below are four guidelines for setting up and following up quotations.

In illustrating these four steps, we’ll use as our example, Franklin Roosevelt’s famous quotation, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

1. Provide context for each quotation.

Do not rely on quotations to tell your story for you. It is your responsibility to provide your reader with context for the quotation. The context should set the basic scene for when, possibly where, and under what circumstances the quotation was spoken or written. So, in providing context for our above example, you might write:

    When Franklin Roosevelt gave his inaugural speech on March 4, 1933, he addressed a nation weakened and demoralized by economic depression.

2. Attribute each quotation to its source.

Tell your reader who is speaking. Here is a good test: try reading your text aloud. Could your reader determine without looking at your paper where your quotations begin? If not, you need to attribute the quote more noticeably.

Avoid getting into the “he/she said” attribution rut! There are many other ways to attribute quotes besides this construction. Here are a few alternative verbs, usually followed by “that”:

add remark exclaim
announce reply state
comment respond estimate
write point out predict
argue suggest propose
declare criticize proclaim
note complain opine
observe think note

Different reporting verbs are preferred by different disciplines, so pay special attention to these in your disciplinary reading. If you’re unfamiliar with the meanings of any of these words or others you find in your reading, consult a dictionary before using them.

3. Explain the significance of the quotation.

Once you’ve inserted your quotation, along with its context and attribution, don’t stop! Your reader still needs your assessment of why the quotation holds significance for your paper. Using our Roosevelt example, if you were writing a paper on the first one-hundred days of FDR’s administration, you might follow the quotation by linking it to that topic:

    With that message of hope and confidence, the new president set the stage for his next one-hundred days in office and helped restore the faith of the American people in their government.

4. Provide a citation for the quotation.

All quotations, just like all paraphrases, require a formal citation. For more details about particular citation formats, see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. In general, you should remember one rule of thumb: Place the parenthetical reference or footnote/endnote number after—not within—the closed quotation mark.

Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (Roosevelt, Public Papers, 11).

Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”1

How do I embed a quotation into a sentence?

In general, avoid leaving quotes as sentences unto themselves. Even if you have provided some context for the quote, a quote standing alone can disrupt your flow.  Take a look at this example:

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

Standing by itself, the quote’s connection to the preceding sentence is unclear. There are several ways to incorporate a quote more smoothly:

Lead into the quote with a colon.

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression: “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

The colon announces that a quote will follow to provide evidence for the sentence’s claim.

Introduce or conclude the quote by attributing it to the speaker. If your attribution precedes the quote, you will need to use a comma after the verb.

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. He states, “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

When faced with a twelve-foot mountain troll, Ron gathers his courage, shouting, “Wingardium Leviosa!” (Rowling, p. 176).

The Pirate King sees an element of regality in their impoverished and dishonest life. “It is, it is a glorious thing/To be a pirate king,” he declares (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).

Interrupt the quote with an attribution to the speaker. Again, you will need to use a comma after the verb, as well as a comma leading into the attribution.

“There is nothing either good or bad,” Hamlet argues, “but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet 2.2).

“And death shall be no more,” Donne writes, “Death thou shalt die” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).

Dividing the quote may highlight a particular nuance of the quote’s meaning. In the first example, the division calls attention to the two parts of Hamlet’s claim. The first phrase states that nothing is inherently good or bad; the second phrase suggests that our perspective causes things to become good or bad. In the second example, the isolation of “Death thou shalt die” at the end of the sentence draws a reader’s attention to that phrase in particular. As you decide whether or not you want to break up a quote, you should consider the shift in emphasis that the division might create.

Use the words of the quote grammatically within your own sentence.

When Hamlet tells Rosencrantz that he “could be bounded in a nutshell and count [him]self a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2), he implies that thwarted ambition did not cause his depression.

Ultimately, death holds no power over Donne since in the afterlife, “death shall be no more” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).

Note that when you use “that” after the verb that introduces the quote, you no longer need a comma.

The Pirate King argues that “it is, it is a glorious thing/to be a pirate king” (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).

How much should I quote?

As few words as possible. Remember, your paper should primarily contain your own words, so quote only the most pithy and memorable parts of sources. Here are guidelines for selecting quoted material judiciously:

Excerpt fragments.

Sometimes, you should quote short fragments, rather than whole sentences. Suppose you interviewed Jane Doe about her reaction to John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She commented:

    “I couldn’t believe it. It was just unreal and so sad. It was just unbelievable. I had never experienced such denial. I don’t know why I felt so strongly. Perhaps it was because JFK was more to me than a president. He represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

You could quote all of Jane’s comments, but her first three sentences are fairly redundant. You might instead want to quote Jane when she arrives at the ultimate reason for her strong emotions:

    Jane Doe grappled with grief and disbelief. She had viewed JFK, not just as a national figurehead, but as someone who “represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

Excerpt those fragments carefully!

Quoting the words of others carries a big responsibility. Misquoting misrepresents the ideas of others. Here’s a classic example of a misquote:

    John Adams has often been quoted as having said: “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.”

John Adams did, in fact, write the above words. But if you see those words in context, the meaning changes entirely. Here’s the rest of the quotation:

    Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company—I mean hell.

As you can see from this example, context matters!

This example is from Paul F. Boller, Jr. and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (Oxford University Press, 1989).

Use block quotations sparingly.

There may be times when you need to quote long passages. However, you should use block quotations only when you fear that omitting any words will destroy the integrity of the passage. If that passage exceeds four lines (some sources say five), then set it off as a block quotation.

Be sure you are handling block quotes correctly in papers for different academic disciplines–check the index of the citation style guide you are using. Here are a few general tips for setting off your block quotations:

  • Set up a block quotation with your own words followed by a colon.
  • Indent. You normally indent 4-5 spaces for the start of a paragraph. When setting up a block quotation, indent the entire paragraph once from the left-hand margin.
  • Single space or double space within the block quotation, depending on the style guidelines of your discipline (MLA, CSE, APA, Chicago, etc.).
  • Do not use quotation marks at the beginning or end of the block quote—the indentation is what indicates that it’s a quote.
  • Place parenthetical citation according to your style guide (usually after the period following the last sentence of the quote).
  • Follow up a block quotation with your own words.

So, using the above example from John Adams, here’s how you might include a block quotation:

    After reading several doctrinally rigid tracts, John Adams recalled the zealous ranting of his former teacher, Joseph Cleverly, and minister, Lemuel Bryant. He expressed his ambivalence toward religion in an 1817 letter to Thomas Jefferson:

Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company—I mean hell.

    Adams clearly appreciated religion, even if he often questioned its promotion.

How do I combine quotation marks with other punctuation marks?

It can be confusing when you start combining quotation marks with other punctuation marks. You should consult a style manual for complicated situations, but the following two rules apply to most cases:

Keep periods and commas within quotation marks.

So, for example:

    According to Professor Jones, Lincoln “feared the spread of slavery,” but many of his aides advised him to “watch and wait.”

In the above example, both the comma and period were enclosed in the quotation marks. The main exception to this rule involves the use of internal citations, which always precede the last period of the sentence. For example:

    According to Professor Jones, Lincoln “feared the spread of slavery,” but many of his aides advised him to “watch and wait” (Jones 143).

Note, however, that the period remains inside the quotation marks when your citation style involved superscript footnotes or endnotes. For example:

    According to Professor Jones, Lincoln “feared the spread of slavery,” but many of his aides advised him to “watch and wait.” 2

Place all other punctuation marks (colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, question marks) outside the quotation marks, except when they were part of the original quotation.

Take a look at the following examples:

    The student wrote that the U. S. Civil War “finally ended around 1900”!
    The coach yelled, “Run!”

In the first example, the author placed the exclamation point outside the quotation mark because she added it herself to emphasize the absurdity of the student’s comment. The student’s original comment had not included an exclamation mark. In the second example, the exclamation mark remains within the quotation mark because it is indicating the excited tone in which the coach yelled the command. Thus, the exclamation mark is considered to be part of the original quotation.

How do I indicate quotations within quotations?

If you are quoting a passage that contains a quotation, then you use single quotation marks for the internal quotation. Quite rarely, you quote a passage that has a quotation within a quotation. In that rare instance, you would use double quotation marks for the second internal quotation.

Here’s an example of a quotation within a quotation:

    In “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Hans Christian Andersen wrote, “‘But the Emperor has nothing on at all!’ cried a little child.”

Remember to consult your style guide to determine how to properly cite a quote within a quote.

When do I use those three dots ( . . . )?

Whenever you want to leave out material from within a quotation, you need to use an ellipsis, which is a series of three periods, each of which should be preceded and followed by a space. So, an ellipsis in this sentence would look like . . . this. There are a few rules to follow when using ellipses:

Be sure that you don’t fundamentally change the meaning of the quotation by omitting material.

Take a look at the following example:

    “The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus and serves the entire UNC community.”
    “The Writing Center . . . serves the entire UNC community.”

The reader’s understanding of the Writing Center’s mission to serve the UNC community is not affected by omitting the information about its location.

Do not use ellipses at the beginning or ending of quotations, unless it’s important for the reader to know that the quotation was truncated.

For example, using the above example, you would NOT need an ellipsis in either of these situations:

    “The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus . . .”
    The Writing Center ” . . . serves the entire UNC community.”

Use punctuation marks in combination with ellipses when removing material from the end of sentences or clauses.

For example, if you take material from the end of a sentence, keep the period in as usual.

    “The boys ran to school, forgetting their lunches and books. Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”
    “The boys ran to school. . . . Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”

Likewise, if you excerpt material at the end of clause that ends in a comma, retain the comma.

    “The red car came to a screeching halt that was heard by nearby pedestrians, but no one was hurt.”
    “The red car came to a screeching halt . . . , but no one was hurt.”

Is it ever okay to insert my own words or change words in a quotation?

Sometimes it is necessary for clarity and flow to alter a word or words within a quotation. You should make such changes rarely. In order to alert your reader to the changes you’ve made, you should always bracket the altered words. Here are a few examples of situations when you might need brackets:

Changing verb tense or pronouns in order to be consistent with the rest of the sentence.

Suppose you were quoting a woman who, when asked about her experiences immigrating to the United States, commented “nobody understood me.” You might write:

    Esther Hansen felt that when she came to the United States “nobody understood [her].”

In the above example, you’ve changed “me” to “her” in order to keep the entire passage in third person. However, you could avoid the need for this change by simply rephrasing:

    “Nobody understood me,” recalled Danish immigrant Esther Hansen.

Including supplemental information that your reader needs in order to understand the quotation.

For example, if you were quoting someone’s nickname, you might want to let your reader know the full name of that person in brackets.

    “The principal of the school told Billy [William Smith] that his contract would be terminated.”

Similarly, if a quotation referenced an event with which the reader might be unfamiliar, you could identify that event in brackets.

    “We completely revised our political strategies after the strike [of 1934].”

Indicating the use of nonstandard grammar or spelling.

In rare situations, you may quote from a text that has nonstandard grammar, spelling, or word choice. In such cases, you may want to insert [sic], which means “thus” or “so” in Latin. Using [sic] alerts your reader to the fact that this nonstandard language is not the result of a typo on your part. Always italicize “sic” and enclose it in brackets. There is no need to put a period at the end. Here’s an example of when you might use [sic]:

Twelve-year-old Betsy Smith wrote in her diary, “Father is afraid that he will be guilty of beach [sic] of contract.”

Here [sic] indicates that the original author wrote “beach of contract,” not breach of contract, which is the accepted terminology.

Do not overuse brackets!

For example, it is not necessary to bracket capitalization changes that you make at the beginning of sentences. For example, suppose you were going to use part of this quotation:

“We never looked back, but the memory of our army days remained with us the rest of our lives.”

If you wanted to begin a sentence with an excerpt from the middle of this quotation, there would be no need to bracket your capitalization changes.

    “The memory of our army days remained with us the rest of our lives,” commented Joe Brown, a World War II veteran.
    Not: “[T]he memory of our army days remained with us the rest of our lives,” commented Joe Brown, a World War II veteran

Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. The Modern Researcher. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2004.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2003.

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 6th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Credits: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Advanced level argumentative essay

The essay below provides an example of an advanced level argumentative essay. As you read through
the essay, notice how the author effectively incorporates elements of argument, has a strong thesis
statement which takes a stand on one side of a debatable topic, and utilizes the classical model of
argumentation with effective incorporation and utilization of support.


Writing a Policy Paper

A policy brief is a common advocacy and policy-making tool that is generally used to
communicate and persuade policy-makers and decision-makers on a certain course of action.
This type of persuasive, evidence-based, and structured writing represents one of the most
powerful ways of contributing to policy debates and in influencing policy/decision-making
processes and is commonly used by a variety of stakeholders including, non-governmental
actors, such as think tanks, philanthropists, activists, government, and even private sector
organizations. Policy briefs are typically authored by an organization not an individual.
Policy briefs are different than policy memos. The table below highlights the main
differences between the two:

Policy Memo Policy Brief
Author: Government advisor Non-governmental stakeholder: thinktank, private sector organization, NGO
Availability: Internal document Public document
Audience: Government officials only Government officials,
parliamentarians, general public
Content: Action-oriented; weighing and
comparison of alternatives; focus
on policy recommendations

Components of a Policy Brief
A policy brief needs to include a balance between describing an issue in a compelling way
and providing convincing recommendations to solve the issue. To achieve this, your policy
brief should feature five general elements (Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge,
a. Problem and policy-oriented: A policy brief is practical and action-oriented. Its
content must focus on the problem as well as the practical solutions that can be
offered from a specific perspective.
b. Analysis-driven: Building on facts and evidence, your policy brief must demonstrate
analytical thinking on the range of possible solutions for the given problem. The
arguments you put forward should be the result of a measured and balanced
consideration of the possible solutions that you derive. They should take into account
the potential costs and benefits of suggested policies for different stakeholder groups that you meet. Your arguments should not be based on your opinion or
unsubstantiated ideas.
c. Evidence-based: To convince policy-makers, it is important to demonstrate that your
ideas are well researched and make sense. You will need to provide and cite
convincing examples such as data, scholarly and other literature, information and
observations draw from stakeholders we visit, and possibly comparisons with action
or inaction taken in other situations/places. Provide evidence from multiple reputable
sources and cite these sources properly using a consistent referencing format.
d. Offers viable recommendations: The goal of your policy brief is to persuade a
decision maker to address a specific issue and implement the policy that you have
devised. You have to be convincing and ‘hit the right note and tone’ (i.e. not to
argumentative and not to passive).
e. Appealing layout: A professional looking layout will help to draw your audience into
reading your policy brief. Your policy brief should include several short paragraphs
and sub-headings, which make the brief easy to read and the messages clear. You may
use bullet points, graphs, tables, or other illustrations to get your point across. Be
careful though not to distract the reader from your arguments.

How to Write a Book Review

Technical Requirements:

Reviews should be a minimum of two pages long (meaning it must spill onto a third page for full credit), typed in Times New Roman 12 pt font, double-spaced, with 0 pt spacing Before and After, one-inch margins,  with no errors in punctuation, grammar or spelling. At the top of the review, write the name of the author, the title of the book, the place of publication, the name of the publisher, the year of publication and the number of pages. An example follows:

Meyer, Milton W.  Asia A Concise History.  Latham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. Pp. 603.


Suggestions as to the Contents of the Review:


There are generally two parts to any review: (1) summary of the book and (2) critical comments. A skilled reviewer usually weaves these together. The reviewer must generally answer four basic questions to succeed:


First, what is the book about?
This query, of course, leads to others. Does the book have a central theme or themes? Does it argue a thesis? What is the author’s purpose? Is it stated explicitly in a preface or conclusion, or is it implied within the body of the text? Did the author accomplish his/her purpose? Did the author do more than accomplish the purpose? At some point in the review, attempt to summarize both the theme and thesis in a single sentence.


Second, is the book reliable?
The critical reviewer is reluctant to accept the printed word without a frank appraisal. He/she must ask: Who is the author? Has he/she written any other books? If so, what was the opinion of the critics? Is the author a professional writer, journalist, college professor, or in some other occupation? Where did the author get his/her information-from travel, from careful research through manuscripts and documents, from interviews, or from secondary authorities (what others have written about the subject)? How does the author indicate where he/she obtained his/her material-bibliography, footnotes, preface, or by a casual reference within the text? Once the reviewer has determined where the author obtained the information, the reviewer must determine whether these sources are reliable. Why or why not? Does the author use his/her evidence and sources with care and discrimination? Does the author read into the evidence interpretations which do not fit the findings? Does he/she decorate the narrative to pervert the facts? Is the author swayed by a definite bias or prejudice? Is he/she fair to all sides? Are the author’s facts and interpretations valid ones? Do you believe the thesis is convincing? Has the author persuaded you to accept his/her point of view? The skillful reviewer, being fair to the author, carefully explains the basis for all criticism.


Third, is the material presented well?
Is the book readable and well organized? Is this material introduced in simple terms, or does the author plunge the reader into complexities which presuppose a general knowledge of the subject on the part of the reader? Does the book convey the excitement of the original historical event? Or is the writing lifeless?


Fourth, what, if anything, did the book contribute to your knowledge and understanding of history?
Would you recommend the book to another student in this course? Why or why not?

(*excerpted from the History Department Methods Manual, 2007)

An easier way to Study Hard

Editing Checklist for Grammar in Assignment

Organizational Requirements

¨Each paragraph has a topic sentence that tells your reader exactly what each paragraph is
about (that is, each paragraph states explicitly one of the defining features of feminism)—
ask yourself: Will Luke have a clear idea what this paragraph is about, if he is to read
only my topic sentence?
¨ Each paragraph explores one of feminism’s defining features—do not include several of
the main ideas in each paragraph, only one main idea—ask yourself: How many main
ideas are in this paragraph?
¨ Each paragraph has at least five sentences
¨ Sentences connect in idea, that is, your paragraphs flow from one sentence to the next,
and sentences build from one to the next—read your sentences aloud, and ask yourself:
Does each sentence connect to the next sentence in a logical, clear way?
¨ Paragraphs do not end with new information; instead, the last sentence ends by wrapping
up the paragraph—ask yourself: Does this last sentence introduce a new idea, or does this
sentence wrap up the paragraph in a clear, logical way?
¨ All quotations are contextualized, introduced, and cited properly
¨ No paragraph has a quotation in its topic sentence
¨ No paragraph ends with a quotation

Class-Specific Rules/Principles

¨ Assignment must be in present tense, and you must introduce the quotes in the present
tense (e.g., “Sumner states”—not “Sumner stated”)
¨ Assignment does not have any of the banned words/phrases discussed in class (e.g.,
“interesting[ly],” “society,” “stuff,” “thing[s],” “to get” [or conjugations thereof], “we,”
“us,” “our[s],” “my,” “I,” “mine,” “me,” “you,” “your,” “in conclusion,” “in sum,”
“true,” “truly,” “in truth,” “in fact,” etc.)
¨ “This”/“That”/“These”/“Those” have a noun directly following them
¨ No absolute language (e.g., “never,” “always,” “forever,” “perfect,” “everyone,” “for
certain,” “will,” “for sure,” etc.)
¨ No contractions
¨ Do not end a sentence with a preposition
¨ No emotive/emotional language (e.g., “sadly,” “disappointingly,” “awesome,” “great,”
¨ Do not use the imperative tense, that is, do not command your reader (e.g., “Imagine you
are walking through a room”)
¨ Do not use hedgers (e.g., “kind of,” “maybe,” “sort of,” etc.) or intensifiers (e.g., “very,”
“really,” “so,” etc.)
¨ Numbers under 100 are to be written out (e.g., you must say “eighty,” not “80”)
¨ Do not use vague phrases (e.g., “this quote,” “this idea,” “this concept,” “this topic,” “this
phrase,” etc.) and, instead, be specific
¨ Be cautious out for words like “also,” “lastly,” “next,” “first,” “second,” “third”—they
can sound listy

¨ No clichés or colloquial phrases
¨ No large spaces between paragraphs
¨ Paragraphs are indented

Grammar Requirements

¨ No run-on sentences (remember to punctuate properly if you are joining independent
clauses [complete sentences] together with conjoining words like “and,” “but,” and/or
¨ No comma splices (remember: if a sentence ends, put a period/full stop at the end of it,
not a comma)
¨ No sentence fragments (make sure your sentences are complete and can stand on their
¨ Apostrophes are properly used

The purpose of this discussion is to evaluate the Interpersonal Leadership Model and the basic framework for building effective teams and apply these to team leadership and leadership communications among the project team.

Review the Project Leadership Model and consider the Personal Skills and Interpersonal Skills level in this model; one level relates to self-awareness and the second level relates to motivating, guiding, and empowering individuals and groups. Now, review the basic framework for establishing effective teams (see Exhibit 10.1 in Barrett). Both the Interpersonal Leadership Model and the basic framework leads to the same conclusion; higher-performing/effective teams. As a result of higher-performing teams, you are likely improving project success.  Select one of the characteristics from the basic framework (skills, accountability, or commitment) and the personal or interpersonal skills required in the project leadership model and explain how these work together to improve (1) performance results, (2) personal growth, and (3) collective work products.

Allen, M., Carpenter, C., Dydak, T., & Harkins, K. (2016). An Interpersonal Project Leadership Model. Journal of Information Technology & Economic Development7(2), 24-39.