Mistakes We Made….

In Referencing your sources

Some of you made mistakes in terms of what you called the source. Generally you’ll be using articles and monographs. Other options are listed here.  Generally speaking, don’t write out the full title of an academic article–they are usually long and wordy and end up cluttering your prose. In contrast, do mention book titles. You can reference the whole title the first time you mention it: e.g. Jeffry Frieden’s Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century, but in all subsequent mentions, you’ll just say Frieden’s Global Capitalism argues, or even (in a paper under 10 pages), Frieden argues…..

You needn’t always give us the title of the book. The determining factor of whether you should mention a detail like the book’s title is whether or not it serves your argument. If Frieden’s title was a vague one like Twentieth Century Finance it wouldn’t necessarily be as helpful.

Reminder of MLA style, where the signal phrases have been marked in red:

Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (263).

Romantic poetry is characterized by the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Wordsworth 263).

Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).
The first two are short quotations, the last is a paraphrase. For a review of the more complicated situations you’ll come across and handy examples of what to do, please click through to this link.

In Referring to your authors or key figures.

The first time you reference the author of a text, tell us who they are. Imagine what it does for your argument to say, “According to the five year old who lives next door….” versus, “According to economic historian Jeffry Frieden,…..”

The latter lends credulity. Being specific about who the writer is helps us to know why we care what they have to say on the matter. That’s why “Historian” is better than “author” and “Economic Historian” is even better.

When you first introduce us to the person, use their first and last name; in all subsequent mentions of them, use only their last.


You are required to use eight academic sources.  If you don’t understand what makes a source academic, please ask me, or click through to the page that discusses that very issue.


The purpose of this paper is for you to persuade me of your opinion. Polemical argumentation (such as the use of straw-man opponents, where the nay-side is reduced to its simplest and weakest points) and polemical vocabulary can feel very satisfying to write, but your papers must present a more balanced view if you want to be persuasive. This doesn’t mean you need to produce a dry paper but your arguments must demonstrate an honest engagement with both sides of an argument. This means quoting fairly from both sides of a debate and using academic research on the topic. Papers that do not use scholarly research will not pass.


Several of you worked really hard to make sure every quotation had its own frame, which was just great. A mistake this led to, however, was that the “E” part had the tendency to merely restate the content of the quotation rather than Elaborating or even Expanding on it. The quotation is important because it provides strong external evidence for your argument. Making it work for your argument is what you’re doing in the E part–you’re pointing out something we might have missed (a consequence of the quote, or a logical connection, or an impact of it). If SIE is a dive, for example, S is the step onto the diving board, I is the power we get from the jump, and E is the actual dive itself–the flourish of it, the style.

In the Works Cited

  • Print vs. Web — What does these terms actually mean? Why do we include them?
  • Use Purdue Owl to check your citations.
  • Take out all caps
    • Even if the newspaper itself printed the article with all caps, it’s gentler to change them. Instead of:

Atwood, Margaret. “JOIE DE VIVRE OF MONTREAL.” New York Times 13 Mar. 1983: A.77. Web.

It should be:

Atwood, Margaret. “Joie de Vivre of Montreal.” New York Times 13 Mar. 1983: A. 77. Web.


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