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10. a. (1) Introduction

This Guide is about how to use words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs to communicate accurately and effectively facts, opinions, interpretations, and analysis in a research paper for a college-level history course. (This includes term papers, seminar papers, theses, etc.) It does not offer help about content. A student's professor will specify the exact character of that content, plus requirements regarding length, choice of a topic, kinds of sources to be used, documentation (footnotes), and bibliography. Suffice it to say here that the paper should exhibit careful research, with respect to sources consulted and used, and should deal adequately with the topic you are pursuing.

A college-level research paper must be more than the product of good research and intelligent interpretation. Also, while the prose you use to communicate this research and interpretation must be without spelling, grammatical, or syntactical errors, good writing is more that that. It is concise, follows sound principles of paragraphing, is organized logically, and displays an appropriate choice of words. Good writing style communicates facts and ideas clearly and interestingly.

This Guide seeks to help a student organize facts and ideas effectively, avoid common grammatical and other usage errors, to follow accepted standards of style for writing a college-level research paper, to know and use sound principles regarding the use of quotations from sources, and to know the importance of revising a paper prior to its submittal. Good writing is difficult work, although it becomes easier with practice. It is worth the effort, for a person spends much of life communicating facts, ideas, and feelings to others. Good writing contributes to clear thinking and effective communication, oral as well as written.

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