Overview Of The Tutorials By Harvard On Writing Papers For Assignments.
These tutorials provide in a very detailed manner, the correct way of writing an assignment paper. The questions addressed are very important, for example What is paraphrasing? How and what sources are to be cited? What is plagiarism and how to avoid it? and others.
When you are asked to write a paper on a particular topic. You mostly end up looking for material that has already been published on that topic. This is done for multiple reasons sometimes to help yourself get a better image of the subject, sometimes because referring to the “material” makes your argument stronger, and so on. The first thing to do is to locate a “source” for your topic, If it is not assigned by the Professor one has to ask themselves, What exactly am I looking for, What kind of material do I need, and how deep of a research is required and then one should consult a library, the web or any other mode of acquiring sources. Once the sources have been pointed out the next step is evaluating them. The guide clearly stated that Not every source is worth citing, one has to make sure that the source is reliable and appropriate.
While evaluating a source one must take in account the
a) Author’s credentials
What is his affiliation? Has he published any other material, if yes then how authentic or reputed it was?
b) Purpose of the source
Was the material written for a personal purpose? Or was it written for academic purposes?
c) Scope of the source
Does the source actually support your case?
d) Publisher of the source
Was the source published by an organization with a political interest in the field?
e) How current is the source
One must always make sure that the source is up-to-date.
And if the source is web based a few more checks must be performed before the source is deemed appropriate. What is the site owner’s and the site’s reputation and validity furthermore what was the source of the article on the site and most importantly the writer’s expertise in the field. At this moment it is important to consider that some sources might contradict you original assumptions, in scenarios like this sometimes you change your assumptions if the source is reliable enough or other times you might quote the source and compare it and argue about it.
After evaluating a source once you’ve decided to include the material into your project it’s important to decide which of the three methods to use. In order to include a source one can either
• Quote a source
To use the exact same wording as used in the source enclosed in inverted commas.
• Summarize the passage
This focuses only on the main idea behind the text and not the details.
• Paraphrase the text.
This means to write the main point of the source keeping in account the details too.
Unless you choose to quote the source, you must ensure that you use your own sentence structure and wording. And that the original meaning is correctly expressed. At this point is it pretty evident that using sources is a very helpful and is well practiced but the most important thing to note about using a source is that it must ALWAYS be cited honestly and precisely, otherwise using a source which has not been cited correctly with the author’s name and date of publication is considered Plagiarism. Plagiarism is considered a serious offence and always ends up at least to the student’s being disqualified for the particular assignment and usually to much serious punishments. Moreover citing the wrong source is also considered immoral and leads to problems; hence one must always cite the correct source precisely. Another thing to avoid is submitting the same assignment to more than one class.
It is really important that you cite your sources not only as an anti-plagiarism method but also for the further reading of an interested reader. The citation information should be clear enough to lead to the source effectively. There are multiple formats of citing a source: namely MLA (Modern Language Association, APA (American Psychological Association) and others. Usually in an assignment you will be instructed to use a particular format if not specified you can use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for papers on humanities, APA (American Psychological Association) style for papers on social sciences or Chicago Manual of style and others for your particular field. [It is to be noted that in APA style and MLA style the citation is done within the body of the article whereas in Chicago style the citation is done in the form of footnotes at the bottom of the article]