A Guide to Effective Writing
I. THE WRITING PROCESS
The art of paper writing is generally a three-step process comprised of planning, writing, and revising. The planning stage includes asking and answering a lot of questions about your subject; the writing stage puts those answers into a developed argument; and the revising stage involves refining your thesis, possibly restructuring your paper, and proofreading.
II. INTELLECTUAL HONESTY
Plagiarism is serious. It can range from using someone’s ideas without giving proper authorial credit to trying to pass off someone else’s work as your own. Don’t underestimate your professor. All are well-versed in current scholarship and are aware of the existence of less credible sources of information in the form of websites and “study aids.” Plus, through the course of a semester, professors get to know your writing style, your writing skills, and your writing potential, and they can often sense when a paper—or part of a paper—isn’t your own. Given this, it is more likely than not that, if you plagiarize, your professor will know and will report you to the Honor Council. The consequences could be as severe as expulsion from the college.
III. GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION
For some, maintaining proper grammar is easy and even instinctive, but many students never feel like they have a firm grasp of the basic rules of grammar—and punctuation—or how to apply those rules to their prose. Below are some basic rules and definitions.