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Page history last edited by Benjamin L. Stewart, PhD 8 years, 4 months ago

Dos and DonĀ“ts of Academic Writing


Consider following when writing an academic/research paper (in no particular order):


  • Writing too much in the passive voice (active voice preferred)
  • Using contractions
  • Using the non-referential it in the passive voice: It has been found..., It was shown..., etc.
  • Overusing sentences beginning with there is/there are
  • Writing body paragraphs with no topic sentence
  • Writing topic sentences that do not align with the thesis statement
  • Capitalizing words for emphasizing ideas
  • Failing to include a source in the references list when citing, and failing to cite a source included in the references list.
  • Failing to assess each sentence as either an original idea or one that comes from an outside source when determining whether or not to include a citation.
  • Including too many indirect citations: As cited in...
  • Failing to include enough primarily research articles (from journals, etc.) that provide the basis for one's research or theoretical framework.
  • Failing to use proper formatting conventions
    • Double space all text
    • Equal double spacing between paragraphs and between paragraphs and headings
    • One-inch margins all the way around
    • 0.5 inch indentation on all paragraphs with the exception of the abstract, which does not include an indentation
    • Times New Roman, font size 12 on all text
    • Single space within each reference (in the reference list at the end of the document) and double space between each reference
    • Font color black
    • Headings (note: usually up to three headings is enough)
      • Level I heading: bold, centered, on its own line, and main words capitalized
      • Level II heading: bold, left-justified, on its own line, and main words are capitalized
      • Level III heading: bold, begins the paragraph (with indentation), first word capitalized, and ends with a full stop
    • Page number beginning with introduction (not on title page, table of contents, abstract, etc.) appearing at the top, right-hand corner of the page
    • First five words of the title appearing in the header (appearing on all pages), in all uppercase lettering, and flush left


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