Written Assignments Format Requirements
The following are absolute requirements.Papers deviating from them will receive a grade of zero.
Unless otherwise required, all submitted work, big and small, must adhere to the MLA (Modern Language Association) format. Consult The Gordon College Reference Guide, Chapter 58 and http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01/
All out-of-class-work must be typed.Use a black, 12-point Arial or Times New Roman font, and print on blank white paper. Double space all content. Staple all multiple-sheet submissions.
All homework assignments must comply with MLA standards for the inclusion of heading, header with name and page (to appear on all pages of the document), title, and margins, as shown in the example below.Also, include identifying tags to delineate parts of the assignment.
Put separate assignments on appropriately-labeled separate sheets.
John Doe (Class 1, 2, or 3)
10 September 2007 (due date)
Chapter Five: Written Assignments (assignment name)
“Identifying Facts,” pp. 77-78
“What’s Your Opinion,” pp. 78-79
Sample papers for many class assignments are available in The Gordon College Reference Guide and elsewhere, and some will appear on my webpage later. You are strongly encouraged to read these as guides for your own writing.
All major papers/essays must comply with MLA standards for the inclusion of heading, header with name and page (to appear on all pages of the document), title, and margins, as shown in the example below:
John Doe (Class 1, 2, or 3)
10 September 2007 (due date)
Personal Narrative Essay, Final Draft [assignment name and type of document]
Title of Paper (no underlining or quotation marks)
Each major paper will be part of a pack of documents that includes the following
1. a formal, full block-style business letter in which you:
a) explain changes, improvements, continued difficulties, etc., since your rough draft
b) comment on specific strengths, weaknesses, problems, concerns, questions, etc.about your
paper, and tell me where to focus my attention; and
c) give me permission to read and evaluate your paper.
Go to the following website and click on “full block” under the heading “sample letter.”
Follow the format exactly.
2. a signed grading rubric, supplied by the instructor
3. the stapled final copy of the essay, with “Final Draft” written next to the assignment name in the heading
4. a stapled duplicate final copy of your essay, with“Duplicate“ written next to the assignment name in the heading.
5. the stapled instructor-marked and student-revised rough draft of the essay submitted, with“Rough Draft“ written next to the assignment name in the heading.
All materials are to be placed in a pocket folder. Place the new material in the font pocket and the previous (graded) materials in the back pocket.
Use your concept map or plan
Write your assignment using your map or plan to guide you. As you write, you may well get new ideas or think about ideas in slightly different ways. This is fine, but check back to your map or plan to evaluate whether that idea fits well into the plan or the paragraph that you are writing at the time. Consider: In which paragraph does it best fit? How does it link to the ideas you have already discussed?
For every paragraph, think about the main idea that you want to communicate in that paragraph and write a clear topic sentence which tells the reader what you are going to talk about. A main idea is more than a piece of content that you found while you were researching, it is often a point that you want to make about the information that you are discussing. Consider how you are going to discuss that idea (what is the paragraph plan). For example, are you: listing a number of ideas, comparing and contrasting the views of different authors, describing problems and solutions, or describing causes and effects?
Use linking words throughout the paragraph. For example:
- List paragraphs should include words like: similarly, additionally, next, another example, as well, furthermore, another, firstly, secondly, thirdly, finally, and so on.
- Cause and effect paragraphs should include words like: consequently, as a result, therefore, outcomes included, results indicated, and so on.
- Compare and contrast paragraphs should include words like: on the other hand, by contrast, similarly, in a similar way, conversely, alternatively, and so on.
- Problem solution paragraphs should include words like: outcomes included, identified problems included, other concerns were overcome by, and so on.
Some paragraphs can include two plans, for example a list of problems and solutions. While this is fine, it is often clearer to include one plan per paragraph.
Look at your plan or map and decide on the key concepts that link the different sections of your work. Is there an idea that keeps recurring in different sections? This could be a theme that you can use to link ideas between paragraphs. Try using linking words (outlined above) to signal to your reader whether you are talking about similar ideas, whether you are comparing and contrasting, and so on. The direction that your thinking is taking in the essay should be very clear to your reader. Linking words will help you to make this direction obvious.
Different parts of the essay:
While different types of essays have different requirements for different parts of the essay, it is probably worth thinking about some general principles for writing introductions, body paragraphs and conclusions. Always check the type of assignment that you are being asked to produce and consider what would be the most appropriate way to structure that type of writing.
Remember that in most (not all) writing tasks, especially short tasks (1,000 to 2,000 words), you will not write headings such as introduction and conclusion. Never use the heading ‘body’.
Writing an introduction:
Introductions need to provide general information about the topic. Typically they include:
- Background, context or a general orientation to the topic so that the reader has a general understanding of the area you are discussing.
- An outline of issues that will and will not be discussed in the essay (this does not have to be a detailed list of the ideas that you will discuss). An outline should be a general overview of the areas that you will explore.
- A thesis or main idea which is your response to the question.
Here is an example of an introduction:
It is often a good idea to use some of the words from the question in the introduction to indicate that you are on track with the topic. Do not simply recount the question word for word.
Writing the body:
- Each paragraph should make a point which should be linked to your outline and thesis statement.
- The most important consideration in the body paragraphs is the argument that you want to develop in response to the topic. This argument is developed by making and linking points in and between paragraphs.
Try structuring paragraphs like this:
- Topic sentence: open the paragraph by making a point
- Supporting sentences: support the point with references and research
- Conclusive sentence: close the paragraph by linking back to the point you made to open the paragraph and linking this to your thesis statement.
Here is an example of a body paragraph from the essay about education and globalisation:
As you write the body, make sure that you have strong links between the main ideas in each of the paragraphs.
Writing the conclusion:
This is usually structured as follows:
- Describe in general terms the most important points made or the most important linkage of ideas
- Do not include new information, therefore it does not usually contain references
- End with a comment, a resolution, or a suggestion for issues that may be addressed in future research on the topic.
Here is an example conclusion from the essay on education: