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The Big Idea: Asking the Essential Question

An essential question makes you...

  • Think very, very hard
  • Search for information and evaluate data
  • Produce original ideas
  • NOT just memorize facts but do critical thinking

Types of essential questions often begins with:

  • Which one...?
  • Should...?
  • What if...?
  • How...?
  • Why...?

Examples (and non-examples) of essential questions.

   Topic: Alternative Energy Sources

Ask: Is nuclear energy a safe form of energy?

   Not: What is nuclear energy?

Ask: Should renewable energy sources replace fossil fuels?

   Not: What are examples of alternative energy sources?

Ask: Should solar energy systems be implemented on a widespread basis?

   Not: How is solar energy used?

Avoiding Plagarism

  • Purdue OWL: Avoiding Plagiarism
  • The Writer's Handbook: Avoiding Plagiarism
    When using sources in your papers, you can avoid plagiarism by knowing what must be documented.
  • Plagiarism 2.0: Information Ethics in the Digital Age (Video)
    For a generation raised on the ideology of “open source” and the ability to quickly cut and paste, the concept of plagiarism may seem foreign or passé. And that, of course, can lead to trouble. This video examines the behaviors that constitute plagiarism, their consequences, and the best ways to avoid them. Showing how accidental copying as well as willful plagiarism can occur, the program lays out the dangers of cheating, then illustrates the pitfalls of non attribution and patch writing while showing how to properly attribute and paraphrase a lengthy quotation.
  • Internet Detective
    Tutorials and activities will help you learn how to "stay on the right side of the law" by respecting copyright, avoiding plagiarism and properly citing sources.

Editing and Revising Your Research Paper

  • Revision and Completion (Video)
    Good writers proofread line-by-line and revise as much as necessary because good writing is re-writing. Flow, meaning, correct grammar, and usage are important elements of the final paper.

Graphic Organizers

These visualization methods highlight individual pieces of information and their characteristics.  They make micro patterns apparent.

How to Write a Good Essay Introduction

Writing Strong Thesis Statements

APA Citation How-to/Examples

MLA Citation How-to/Examples

Creating Bibliographies

Creating a bibliography never got easier!  Here are simple applications that you can use to create your bibliographies. 

For Citation Machine, you will need to open up a Word document and cut and paste your cited resources to make your bibliography.   

For BibMe, you can enter whatever resource info you have (example:  title, author) and it will do a database search.

For Citefast, you can create your bibliography and not even have to open up a word document. 

Can't find the citation format in Citation Machine?  Try Landmark College's APA Style  examples. It will give you APA citation examples for photographs, maps, etc.

Important!  All of our databases automatically provide you with citation information, but some will not give you the option to have it done in the APA format.  Just use the citation info and manually input the information in any of the tool templates.

Suggestion:   Making a bibliography should be an ongoing activity.  Enter the various resources and references you use as you use them so that it does not become an overwhelming task at the end.

Subject Guide

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Ronnie Van Iperen

Expository Essays

What is expository writing?
A type of discourse that is used to give information or inform.

Find help writing an expository essay:

Descriptive Essays

What is descriptive writing?
A type of discourse that is used to describe something--object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc. This genre encourages the student’s ability to create a written account of a particular experience.

Find help writing a descriptive essay:

Narrative Essays

What is a narrative essay?
Writing a narrative essay is like telling a personal story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal.

Find help writing a narrative essay:

Argumentative/Persuasive Essays

What is an argumentative or persuasive essay?
These essays are meant to persuade the reader into the writer's standpoint of an issue. They inform about an idea but usually for one standpoint over another.

Writing a Thesis Statement

What is a thesis?
It tells the reader (in a single sentence in your introduction) what to expect from your paper, your interpretation of the subject or your standpoint. The thesis is the main idea or central message of your essay. The body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

Write a strong thesis:

How to Write a Outline

Outlines are road maps in writing.  Check out this informative presentation on how to write one.  You will need to elaborate on it, for this information is for essay writing.