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                        Kinch's Essay Writing Guide
  The purpose of writing is to communicate ideas to the reader in a clear and straightforward way. 
    Express yourself in a brief manner, while using significant evidence to prove the main thesis. 
    What follows is a general outline of rules that, if followed, will produce a quality paper worthy of your abilities.    


(Summaries do not cut it here. Your ideas should be original!)

                Before writing:

                        -Decide on the main thesis of the paper.

                                                (What you are trying to prove?  This may change over the course of the writing process.)

                                                        To write an effective paper you must make an Argument.

                                                                Original ideas (no regurgitation)

                        -Decide what evidence you are going to use.

                                        You have limited space. Use it well.


                        -Title----------- Catch the reader’s attention.

                        -Introduction- Begin the paper by stating your thesis in a clear powerful manner         
                                                        State your argument!

                                                              Explain what you are arguing, but do not use evidence or examples yet.

-Body-----------Prove you argument, using examples and specifics from the various readings.

                                                        Focus on proving your thesis with both ANALYSIS and EVIDENCE
                                                               (Evidence: names, dates, facts, #s, quotes, examples)                       

     -Conclusion---Do not just restate your thesis, drive the nail into the coffin of your argument.
                                                                Avoid new information, you are trying to sum up your points here.


                        -When you have finished writing:
                                 Change the font / Print it off / Read the paper out loud
This will trick your mind into thinking you have never seen the text before and help you catch mistakes.                                                 -or-             
                                    Have someone else read over it.


                        -Use spellcheck.

                        ****Check your Grammar.****
                                        You will lose credit for grammatical mistakes.

                        -Read for the message.
                                        Ask yourself: "What did I prove here?"
If your essay argues something different than your introduction states, then go rewrite the introduction.
                                                                                                (I do this on a regular basis.)


                        -There should be quotes and examples from primary sources in your paper.

                        -Do not fill the paper with quotes: 2-3 per page max.

                        -It is better to put the writers ideas in you own words and cite him/her.


-A full citation of all ideas, not your own, need to be cited in footnote form. - -

-Chicago Style citations are appropriate and necessary in historical writing.


        Kinch’s Pet Peeves.

            Necessities of formal writing

                        -Always use past tense when discussing the past.

                        -Avoid passive voice=  "have been"/ "will be"/ "is going to be" = Be Assertive!

                        -Never write in the first person:  “I”  or “we.”          

                        -Never use contractions:  can’t / shouldn’t / it’s.

                        -Never begin a sentence with the word “Because.”

                        -Never use the phrases: “In conclusion” /"In summary" /"across time" /"throughout history"
Never write about your experience!
                                                        Readers do NOT care about you! 
                                                                    People will care about your argument if you can convince them!

           Required Format.

                -12pt.  font

                - Calibri

                -1 in. margins

                -Double spaced


Brevity is the key to good writing!

                                                        TREES NEED LOVE TOO!


 +Do not be afraid to ask me for help at any time. I will read rough drafts if given to me well in advance.

Your grade will reflect any failure to observe the rules of this Guide.

        Other helpful writing advice:


                -Charlie’s History Writing Center


-Campus Writing and Learning Centers:



 Rubric for Essay Grading: 

-Clear original Argument
-Well proven with evidence from primary and secondary sources
-Historically accurate
-Well written/ good grammar/ correct citations
-Uses all required sources with citations
-Incorporates specific evidence
-Historically accurate
 -Historically accurate or Specific details with no argument
-Lacking clear writing or organization
 -Clear & Honest attempt.
 -Has citations
D= -Little effort, Short/unsubstantial, or Weak attempt
-Does Not follow directions (length, subject, use of documents)
-Did not do correct assignment
-Minimal effort
-Not historically accurate


Use of AI Technology:

Tools such as Turnitin and ZeroGPT will be used to detect and flag instances of plagiarism and potential use of AI writing in your assignments.  Students must complete their own work and provide attribution when using the words or ideas from a source.  Unless otherwise explicitly instructed, students must not use AI writing and composition tools. If you are asked or required to use tools like ChatGPT, these must be cited in your submission. 
----Any suspected violations will need to be justified in an oral interview with the professor.

Appropriate Use

Inappropriate Use

Audio-to-text transcription tools

The use of AI programs to generate ideas and brainstorm

Spell check, grammar check, style check, and thesaurus tools, like found in MS Word and Google docs

The use of AI to obtain answers on any assessment

Google Translate for individual words and phrases

Google Translate for entire sentences, paragraphs or assignments

Automatic citation or bibliography generators

Any application or tool that writes or rewrites entire sentences or paragraphs

Online tutoring services linked from the NOVA website

Any application or tool that writes a draft for you

Any application or tool recommended by your instructor