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Some Do's and Don'ts for Your Written Work

      The following items are based upon the most common form and style errors made by my grad students in the papers I get. When you write for my classes, remember that readability is extremely important in terms of my being able to understand and judge what you write... the more distractions there are, the more likely your key points may be missed by me. Help yourself help me by making these projects readable. Also, remember that the primary thing I am looking for is how well you articulate and apply the concepts, principles, and ideas taught in class. As far as the length of your work goes, ask me in class. (I love to answer this question!) You may find my rubric for assessing your written work here.
  1. Use a cover sheet that gives the pertinent information:
    Name You are Registered Under
    Class Name and Number
    Title of Assignment
    Your Email Address
  2. Do NOT use slip-on binders... they come off when I read them. Staples work just fine.
  3. Double space everything... no exceptions.
  4. Use a readable type-face in terms of standard fonts and size. (Pretend YOU have to read and grade all these papers.)
  5. Use a standard size font. In most cases, 10 pt or 12 pt is standard.
  6. Use reasonable, standard margins.
  7. Use citations when needed and only where needed.
  8. Do NOT use scare quotes! Use quotation marks only when quoting or naming a word or phrase. Examples:
    Carlin said, "Damn." (Right... Quoting)
    The term "damn" is used to denote surprise. (Right... Naming a word or term.)
    Carlin is really "hot" as a social critic. ( WRONG... this is using scare quotes.) It should just be: Carlin is really hot as a social critic. Use either underline, boldface, or italic for emphasis, not scare quotes.
  9. Use good paragraphing... too many papers have endless, run-on paragraphs. Good readability usually (not always) comes from having 3 to 5 sentence paragraphs.
  10. Write using first person language unless I tell you otherwise. Own what you say and say what you own.
  11. Proofread your papers... they represent you.
  12. The word "judgment" has no "e" between the "g" and the "m." In any formal writing of any kind, use "judgment" not "judgement."
  13. When in doubt, use the APA style manual or ask me. (DrRHoo@cisnet.com)