Your Do’s and Don’ts

Don’ts

...let your idea get crowded out by the sources

...Use excessively long quotes or rely solely on quotations

...Be vague, or generalized (simplistic)

...Include floating quotations

...Go nuts with contextualizing info in your introduction.

...Merely summarize your sources

...Panic or rush

...Lead a paragraph with a quote (that’s unconnected to your development of a controlling idea

...Be absolute - qualified language is a way of demonstrating recognition of complexity.

...Include run-on sentences

...Be afraid to ‘write outside the box’ and try new types of structures

...Ignore the other side of the argument

...Ignore the limitations of your own argument

...Rely too heavily on the sources

...Mischaracterize information from the sources (like by taking it out of context)

Do’s

...Have a plan - outline/pre-write

...Have strong claims anchoring

...Paraphrase

...Use small, relevant quotes

...Elaborate on information from the sources (the balance should be tilted towards your analysis, not the sources)

...Make sure you’re squarely addressing the prompt

...Include a counterargument (if appropriate) and/or acknowledge positions that run counter to your own (concede/ refute)

...Use sources to qualify/refute/limit/reinforce other sources

...Be concise

...Annotate the sources

...Be concise and write with clarity.

...Have claims-driven body paragraphs

...Cite things thoroughly


Useful video covering the basics.

On planning & pre-writing. Also useful.


Your great advice!