• anonymous
I'm writing an APA format style research paper. I had to get a scholarly article and popular media article. I'm confused! I just recently started college, after 21 years, and all this plagiarism and citing is making me fearful. My question is, do how do I word the paper meaning do I use the scholarly article, as my wording?
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • jamiebookeater
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  • jagatuba
First of all, have no fear. Citing is pretty easy and as long as you cite anything that is not your own ideas your will be safe. The main rules of thumb are a) if the ideas you have written are not your own conclusions and/or b) if the ideas are not common knowledge, CITE your source. Now I'm not totally sure I understand your question, but I'll take a stab and you can clarify it if I got the wrong idea. When writing your papers you need to word them in a way that is appropriate for your audience. In other words, you are going to write a paper explaining why it rains differently if you are writing it for 6th grade students versus college students versus meteorological professionals. Most of the time in college your audience is simply going to be your professor, so you should word your paper accordingly, using terminology that has been introduced in the class. However, sometimes you will get an assignment that asks you to write for a specific group. For example, XYZ Company want s to upgrade their computer network. Write a cost analysis report for XYZ executives that outlines initial upfront costs and recurring maintenance costs of this investment. Include a breakdown of expected monetary gains that can be had from the upgrade form such things as increased productivity and improved network efficiency. Also include a complete ROI schedule. As you can see in this example, your audience will not be the professor, but rather executives of a company, therefore, the report should be concise and should not contain any unnecessary terminology that the executive may not be familiar with. Remember, they don't care what a network interface card is, they just want to know how much it costs. No matter who your audience or what the paper is about, keep your writing simple and straight forward. One of the biggest mistakes of new college students is to use "twenty-dollar" words in their papers. What I mean by that is using bigger, complex words and phrases when smaller, simpler ones will do. Most instructors that I have encountered hate this. It makes your writing sound pretentious as well as makes simple ideas cloudy and unfamiliar. For example, The demographic of smart phone users has become capacious. - Bad. The number of smart phone users has grown. - Much better. Strunk and White (1935) had this to say about it: "Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, and the cute. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy, ready and able. Anglo-Saxon is a livelier tongue than Latin, so use Anglo -Saxon words. In this, as in so many matters pertaining to style, one’s ear must be one’s guide: gut is a lustier noun than intestine, but the two words are not interchangeable, because gut is often inappropriate, being too coarse for the context. Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason. "If you admire fancy words, if every sky is beauteous, every blonde curvaceous, every intelligent child prodigious, if you are tickled by discombobulate, you will have a bad time with Reminder 14. What is wrong, you ask, with beauteous? No one knows, for sure. There is nothing wrong, really, with any word all are good, but some are better than others. A matter of ear, a matter of reading the books that sharpen the ear." If I ever have to pick up a dictionary while reading a student's paper, it's an automatic 10% deduction in mechanics. If the paper is riddled with these types of words it's 30%. I don't know if this answered your question at all, but I hope it was at least helpful. If I didn't answer it, maybe you can respond with some clarity and perhaps some specifics about the assignment.

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