Excellence in Writing

Resources for & Expectations of
Written Class Assignments
last update: 24 February 2007

BASICS: When writing any paper, keep in mind the following:

  1. Written assignments are statements of your point of view with an aim to persuading the reader.  Simply making assertions is not persuasive; give your evidence and rationale.  E.g., cite sources you have read, argue from practical experience, give sociological or historical data.  Answer the questions of the critical reader:  Why should I agree with this?  Why is this a convincing interpretation of the issue/situation?
  2. Know the meanings of the terms you use. Provide definitions of key terms.
  3. Watch grammar, punctuation, spelling—all the rudiments of writing.  If you are unsure of your skills, ask a friend or teacher who writes well to proofread for you—or consult a writing tutor.
  4. Avoid contractions and overuse of colloquialisms in formal prose.
  5. The standard expectation in college courses is that all papers and take-home assignments will be typewritten, double-spaced, with one-inch page margins. If a set number of pages is indicated, and unless otherwise specified, 12-point Courier font is the standard used for determining the length
Features of Acceptable Written Assignments:
Additional Notes for Research Papers: