FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT WRITING ESSAYS

GENERAL INSTRUCTION FOR RESEARCH ESSAYS:
You are expected to complete one conventional research essay. Your essay should be 5 pages or 1250 words excluding notes and bibliography, and should cite at least three major sources and five minor sources not used on class. These may be books or articles but not web pages. We encourage you to discuss outlines and sources with us before you begin writing. Essays may be submitted at any time, by delivering one hard copy to Dr. Barker, in class, but are due no later than September 26 (Research Essay).

WHAT SHOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
Your research essays should be about 1250 words (about 5 pages) excluding notes, figures, and bibliography. It should be double spaced, in a 12 point font like Times Roman. You may use any recognized style for notes and bibliography. You should prepare it in standard format with 1" margins and numbered pages. Do not use a separate page for ID and title. Put your name, ID number, and the number of the course before the title at the top of the first page. For more ideas about the things we expect in a research essay, see the grading scheme posted on the course CANVAS site.

SUBMISSION FORMAT
Print one hard copy and deliver it to Dr. Barker during a regular class session. Keep a paper copy and backup the file on your computer.

HELP! I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE!
Get help -- online or in person -- from the OU Writing Center (http://www.ou.edu/writingcenter/) or call (405) 325-2936), which offers free, confidential writing assistance for students, staff, and faculty. The Center is located in Wagner Hall, at 1005 Asp Avenue, near OMU.

I'VE DONE THIS BEFORE BUT I'D LIKE A REFRESHER:
For basic information on writing essays see:

http://www2.actden.com/writ_den/tips/essay/index.htm

A more detailed presentation is:

http://members.tripod.com/~lklivingston/essay/index.html

This site may be slow to load but is worth waiting for (also - ignore the ads)

HOW MANY SOURCES DO I NEED
How long is a piece of string? It depends on the size of the package you want to wrap...
Your bibliography should include at least three major books and articles you have found in addition to course materials,
plus at least five other minor sources. The difference between a major and a minor source is the number of times you cite it.
Major sources should be cited more that three times; minor sources may be cited only once.
If you have many fewer than three, you should probably look further. If you have more than
half a dozen, you should list only those you actually consulted.

MAY I USE WEB PAGES AS SOURCES?
NO - web sources may be used to find other sources but do not score themselves -- for reasons that will be explained in class.
You may, however, use the web to access articles and books that have already been published in print format.
If you want to work seriously with web sources, consider doing the Internet report option for the Resecrh Essay.

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THE CORRECT FORMAT FOR NOTES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY.
The History of Science program expects you to use Chicago Style for citations. You may use either bottom-of-the-page footnotes
for references, or citations in the text in parentheses giving author, year and pages. Remember that you need to include page numbers,
especially if you give a direct quote. In either case you must have a bibliography as the last item in your paper.

For information on format for bibliographies see the Chicago Style Guide material available on the course CANVAS site or visit:

https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

http://www.ou.edu/writingcenter/guides/citation_guides/sub_nav_3

SHOULD I KEEP A COPY OF WHAT I TURN IN?
Yes! Always!