Generic Paper Guidelines
Dr. Paul Werth
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The following guidelines should govern all of the papers that you submit
to me. Each infraction of these guidelines will result in point
reductions on the paper grade. If you are unfamiliar with any of the
terms and concepts below, you will have to consult the necessary resources
(including me) in order to familiarize yourself with it. Ignorance of the
law, as they say, is no excuse.
- My general expectations for paper submissions
- Standards for bibliographic citation
- All papers must have a title, preferably one that says something
about the contents and argument of the paper.
- All pages must be numbered consecutively.
- Do not ever use contractions in your paper. The only exception to
this rule is when you cite a passage that contains a contraction in the
original. In such a case, the issue is beyond your control.
- Do not use the second person (you, your, etc.) anywhere in the
paper (unless, once again, you are citing another source).
- Do not use passive constructions in your paper unless it is
absolutely unavoidable (which is almost never the case).
- Avoid split infinitives at all costs. This means that you should NOT
place modifiers, usually adverbs, between "to" and the verb. For example,
instead of writing "to carefully consider," write "to consider
- Give reference (at least author + page number) immediately
following any and all citations from source texts (either using
parentheses or a footnote below).
- Include references to any sources that you use in putting together
specific portions of your paper, even if you do not actually cite any
passages from those sources.
- All book titles must be underlined or in italics (not "in
- If you use any sources beyond those on course's reading list, you
must cite those works in full, either in a bibliography or in footnotes.
- Make absolutely certain, when you quote from another source, that
you have cited the text exactly as it appears in the original and that you
have not taken the quote out of context.
- Proofread with great diligence whatever you write before you
turn it in to me. A good test of your writing is to give it to a friend or
spouse and see if he or she can make heads or tails of it. If you
submit a paper that has obviously not been proofread, you can
expect me to treat it in a most savage fashion.
More on Grammar. Good grammar is of course essential to your papers
across the board, but the following problems occur with truly remarkable
frequency and thus aggravate me more than anyone can possibly imagine.
This list by no means exhausts the infractions for which you
may be penalized, but these are in fact the problems that occur the
- Students seem to think that apostrophes are optional, and
unfortunately our grammatically illiterate culture does much to deepen
this impression. In fact, this is not the case. Make absolutely
certain that you have not neglected the apostrophes!
- This may sound like a radical proposition, but the subject and
verb of a sentence must agree in numerical terms. That is, if the subject
is in the plural, then the verb must be in the plural as well. Words like
"one", "each", and "neither" are always singular. It is thus incorrect to
write, for example, "Each state tried to protect their interests."
(Correct: "Each state tried to protect its interests.")
- Another popular notion is that one can just splice two separate
sentences together with a comma and come out grammatically unscathed.
This is also not true. If you splice two separate sentences together with
a comma, you are guilty of a "comma-splice."
- Slezkine, Yuri. "The USSR as a Communal Apartment, or How a Socialist
State Promoted Ethnic Particularism," Slavic Review 53. 2 (1994):
Book with one author
- Clark, Katerina. Petersburg: Crucible of Cultural Revolution.
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995.
Book with two authors
- Koenker, Diane P., and William G. Rosenberg. Strikes and Revolution
in Russia, 1917. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989.
Edited volume (one editor)
- Fitzpatrick, Sheila, ed. Cultural Revolution in Russia,
1928-1931. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978.
Edited volume (two editors)
- Rosenberg, William G., and Lewis H. Siegelbaum, eds. Social
Dimensions of Soviet Industrialization. Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 1993.
Article in edited volume
- Davies, R. W. "The Management of Soviet Industry, 1928-1941." In
Social Dimensions of Soviet Industrialization, ed. William G.
Rosenberg and Lewis Siegelbaum. Blooming: Indiana University Press, 1993,
Note that if you are citing a work in a footnote, then the author's name
should be in the correct order (i.e., first name then last name).
The question of plagiarism is frequently a source of confusion,
but the basic definition is the use of other peoples' ideas and words
without proper attribution or acknowledgement. We all use other people's
ideas to develop our own thinking. Indeed this is how scholarship
develops. There is just one very small requirement: that we acknowledge
the source from which the idea came. We usually cite books and articles,
but it is also proper to acknowledge an idea that you received from a
friend or colleague in a conversation. This also means that if you do
cite someone else, you must be absolutely certain that you have done so
accurately. You must make sure not only that you have cited the passage
verbatim (if indeed you choose to cite), but more generally that you have
not taken the citation out of its context--that is, that you have
represented the author's view fairly and accurately. If you are not sure,
then ask me before your turn it in; afterwards is too late.