Sally Documents Her Sources

Sally, who was very tired by now, started a new page:

Student 5
Bibliography (18)
Anonymous. "What X Means to Our Community." Internet. (19)
Brown, Janet. "Urban Growth and Situation X." Situation X

     in America. Ed. Fred Nelson. New York: MacGrow, 
     1974. (20) 120-121, 180. (21) 
Smith, Joseph. "What the Experts Are Saying About 

     Situation X." Time 19 Dec. 1999: 43, 45. (22) 

(18) This should be a works cited page, not a bibliography.

(19) Date? Author? The exact title (and URL) of the page you cited? You have merely given the home page.  There could be hundreds of documents on this site.

(20) Brown's article is almost 30 yrs old! You lean heavily on it, but you don't bring its findings up to date.  If this article is important, surely later scholars will have commented on it (correcting it in some areas, agreeing with it in others).  If not, then the article is probably not as important as you make it seem.  You can probably find a better source.

(21) You misunderstand the function of the page numbers. When writing a "Works Cited" entry, you do not list the specific pages where you found quoted material.  You only list the pages when you are citing one complete, separate section (an article from a journal, or a chapter from a book). You have already given the page numbers in the body of your paper; there is no need to repeat that information here.

(22) Time is a news magazine, not an academic journal. You should refer directly to publications written by the researchers and scholars quoted by the Time reporter.

Sally -- you are obviously a talented writer.  Your grammar and punctuation are extremely good, especially for a first draft. Yet you said virtually nothing of consequence in the first four pages.   I wish you had started with the "Group Y" example as your thesis, and gone into much more detail about that group's unusual approach to the subject.  You've shown that you possess the mechanical skills to be a good writer, and I'm sure you can do better next time... but this time, you didn't build your whole paper around your strongest ideas, so you really achieved very little for your effort.

Sally was a little shocked to see how much her professor had to say... she had thought that she would get a good grade, since she had always been good at spelling and grammar. But she realized that the biggest problem with her paper was that she hadn't thought about it before she started to write it.

"Gosh," said Sally. "I'm going to have to start over almost from scratch!  I really wasted my time on those first four pages. I should have waited until I found a really good approach to my topic. I guess that's what an outline is for!"

Fortunately for Sally, it was early in the semester, and she had plenty of chances to show her professor that she was willing to learn how to be a better writer.

Sally Resolves to Do Better! [ Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 ]

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