plagiarism formal prose active voice quotations citation

Writing comes more easily to some people and dragons than to others, but you can make a determined effort to improve your skills, no matter how well you write. Writing is all about re-writing or revision; indeed, the second book below makes a persuasive case that your best thinking occurs as you brainstorm and revise and brainstorm and revise, etc.

Gerald Graff & Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006.

As you design and carry out your research project, you learn to place your research in conversation with the work of other historians. This book will help you learn to identify how those conversations take place.

V.A. Howard & J.H. Barton. Thinking on Paper. New York: Harpers, 1988.

This book suggests a helpful way to approach writing: that you need to write to think, in essence. Scribble down your brainstorms, then organize them, then repeat. Writing is all about revising, and much of your thinking occurs after you have initial ideas on paper.

Writing Center. Drexel has some resources in place to help you, and you should use them even if you're an A student and a very good writer. The easiest place to get help is the the center set up to help students' writing, a place called the Writing Center. It's a difficult name to remember, but you can do it. Just think center for writing. It's in MacAlister's basement, but they also take their show on the road to the library on occasion.

  • Drexel University College of Arts & Sciences History & Politics Prof. Steen

  • Department of History & Politics, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2875 steen@drexel.edu