x
schencka
E-mail Etiquette
Some instructors complain that students don't know how to write e-mails to their teachers. A horribly written e-mail has an element of innocence, though. The problem for me is trying to work out for myself my scatterbrained thought process, all while communicating an idea to a student. One thing I like to do is "consider it a compliment to a student to write to them as an equal, somebody that's smart."

The consequence is turgid writing like the following, a response to a student's e-mail question about how much citation of sources are needed in a research paper. In reality, what do I care!? You get an A!

---

Good question. Two general rules: it's good to support your main points with statistics or referrals to sources. This might mean a quote for most paragraphs. In the abstract, which I would rely more on if I were you, if you do things to _convince your audience_ (which is your peers in an academic setting--see assignment sheet), your paper will be persuasive and you'll do well.

So, maybe you have anecdotes or stories that could bring up a strong emotional response in your audience. That would have the same effect as a source, but it wouldn't be something you could exactly cite unless you did an interview, but I would consider it a "source," since it builds your ethos as a writer.

This is all an overly complex way of saying, Do what you need to do to challenge yourself and make a paper that is interesting to both read and write.

And remember, your sources could be reconstrued to support a new position.

Don't be afraid to write in a literary/personal way. Like: "This is the confession of a hypocrite. While doing research on topic X, I nearly convinced myself that activity X is always bad. Then..." And so on.

I've never liked dry writing; I've never expected students to write that way. But I do think the challenge of writing in an academic setting is to be able to use the limiting conventions and still have the writing be interesting.

Hope this isn't too much verbiage.
--adam
 
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