Week 9 - Tuesday
Why do we write?Why do grammar and spelling matter?Why do citations matter?
A few common issues
Manypapersstill had comma splices and sentence fragmentsSee earlier slides or come talk to me for help on thoseMany papers contained contractionsMany papers contained repetitive statements, either grouped together or sprinkled throughoutOnce a person has been introduced, a standard practice is to refer to that person, especially the subject of a paper, by his or her last name:"Samuel L. Jackson is an actor famous for playing violent roles. Jackson graduated from Morehouse College in 1972."However, it is also acceptable to use the pronouns "he" or "she" for variety when the antecedent is clear
This problem was so common that it deserves its own slideThe pronoun "this" allows writing to be vague and confusing:"These assassinations were commissioned by the rich.Thisleftmillions ofpoorpeoplefearing for their lives."What does "this" refer to?Better:"These assassinations were commissioned by the rich.This unequal access to justiceleft millions of poor people fearing for their lives."
The pronoun "it" has the same problem:Darth Revan forced his apprentice towait three days in the snowbeforegranting him an audience.Itwas a symbolic act.What is the symbolic act? Forcing him to wait? The fact that it was in the snow? The audience itself?Better:Darth Revanforcedhis apprentice towait three days in the snowbeforegranting him an audience.This humiliationwas a symbolic act.Guidelines:Always put a noun after "this"Never use "it" unless it's crystal clear what "it" referstoNever use "it" or "this" as the subject of a sentence
Keep it simple
Students have a terrible temptation to write words that sound fancy:besoughtathwartelucidateetc.Or overly complicated:"Thedifferences inbanking technologyandsophisticationin both countries are miles apart in advancement."Better:"England has a more advanced banking system than Bolivia."
A strong research paper supports every piece of information that isn't common knowledge with a citation:These robots are able to kill hundreds of snakes every minute (citation).The support is not necessarily made stronger by using direct quotes:"After tabulating data for hours, our lab is able to report that the VX98tyranobotskill three to five snakes per second" (citation).The paraphrase is simpler and likely contains all the information the reader needsOnly use direct quotes when there is special value in the exact wordingNever butcher the grammar of your own sentences to shoehorn in a direct quote
The two main citation styles are MLA and APAI don't care which you use, as long as you're consistentMLA requires author and, if available, page number, using the smallest amount of information needed to identify the source from your works citedAPA requires author and year but only requires page numbers for direct quotes (still encouraging for paraphrases)In either case, there is no need to repeat information (like the name of the author) in the citation if it's already in the sentence
The period ending your sentencealwaysgoes after the citationMany students got this wrongParaphrase (MLA):Dillon Beresford was interested in the damageStuxnetcould do with PLCs (Zetter144).Paraphrase (APA):Dillon Beresford was interested in the damageStuxnetcould do with PLCs (Zetter, 2014).Direct quote(MLA):"The news in August 2010 thatStuxnetwas sabotaging Siemens PLCs caught the interest of a twenty-five-year-old computer security researcher in Austin, Texas, named Dillon Beresford"(Zetter144).Direct quote(APA):"The news in August 2010 thatStuxnetwas sabotaging Siemens PLCs caught the interest of a twenty-five-year-old computer security researcher in Austin, Texas, named Dillon Beresford"(Zetter,2014, p. 144).
Formatting works in the reference list
For both MLA and APA, alphabetize by the last name of the first authorUse the title if there is no authorPut last names first but don't change the ordering of other items that are not the names of peopleIndent all lines after the first line, a hanging indentWord can do this automatically for youThere aremany details: ReadMLA or APAreferences and look at examples
There are many online references for APA, but here is one from my alma mater, Purdue:https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.htmlAnd one for MLA:https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_general_format.htmlAnd other reference for MLA, maintainedby Cornell:https://www.library.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/mla_style_revised.pdf
Software Development Plans
Until the end of the semester
I'll meet with each group on Tuesday so that we can plan what we want to get done by ThursdayOn Thursday, you'll show me what you got doneIt's fine if you miss deadlines, but the planning is importantUpdate your Trello accordingly
Project 3, the initial implementation and unit testing, is due Friday, March 22Assignment 5, the final draft for your papers, is due Friday, March 29