Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Advice from McKinze: Know Your Format!

In my recent appointments, I have noticed that many students are unaware of the writing format required by their professors for certain assignments. This is important because the format determines how the entire paper is set up and how the in-text citations and works cited/bibliography is structured.  Most English, Writing, and Humanities courses use MLA format, and most Communication, History, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Nursing courses use APA format. There are a few courses at RSU that use Chicago or Turabian style writing, but those are not as common as the MLA and APA utilizes courses. Many students also do not know that the Writing Center offers templates for MLA, APA, and Chicago papers. Those links can be found in the Writing Center section on the RSU page under the Online Resources tab. Here’s a link: Along with the templates, the Writing Center offers other resources that can be beneficial to a specific format or the writing process in general. There are links to websites that students can use to figure out how to cite sources in specific formats and there are also links that help with proofreading strategies.

While these resources are very helpful, it is most important to understand how a particular professor wants a paper formatted. This is important because knowing the format of the paper determines the structure, citation format, and type of in-text citations, which can greatly affect your grade if not done correctly. If you do not know for sure, ask them! You should always keep an open line of communication with your professors and know that they are there to help you. In the Writing Center, sometimes we do not know what type of formatting a professor so it is difficult for us to help you if we do not know the format. So always ask questions and know that there are many resources that can help you figure out a specific format, and the Writing Center is always here to help. 


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