Paper Writing Guide


You should choose a thesis pertinent to the topic of the course and argue cogently for it. An argument consists of several premises or reasons followed by a conclusion. The conclusion is marked by such words as "therefore", "thus", or "hence". Reasons are marked by such words as "because" or "since". The conclusion should follow from or at least be supported by the reasons provided. Hint: write out the arguments in outline form like this

Then rewrite the argument as a paragraph, marking the conclusion with "hence", "therefore", etc.


Papers should be based on outside library research. As a rule of thumb, at least five extra sources should be consulted. Your grade will be based, in part, on the relevance of these sources and on your proper understanding of them. You are welcome to consult me at office hours for clarification.


All quotations and ideas borrowed from other sources must be annotated with proper textual references. The bibliography should be at the very end of the paper. Bibliographical references look like this:

The number in parentheses is the most recent publication date for the book (located in books on the publication information page prior to the table of contents). In journal citations, the number before the colon is the journal volume number (usually on the spine of the jounral, as well as on the first page). The numbers after the colon are page numbers on which the article occurs. Page numbers are considered mandatory by publishers.

When a source is used in the text, refer to it right in the text as follows. Note that the reference occurs before the period that ends the relevant sentence.

I will be happy to give specific advice about papers during office hours prior to the due date. Try to formulate focused questions ahead of time (you may find that you know the answer once you formulate the question clearly).