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The Final Effort

 

 

I. Bibliography

Once you have the body of your paper in its final form with all of your notes in place, it is time to do the bibliography. As with footnotes or endnotes, there are many bibliographic forms used in academic circles. Among the most popular are the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the Chicago Manual of Style. Either of these or some other form is acceptable for this paper. This important point is to be consistent and to make sure all the required information appears.

Bibliographies are customarily broken down into two sections: primary and secondary sources. Make sure that all works cited in your notes appear in the bibliography. The entries should be in alphabetical order according to the last name of the author or first major word of the title if there is no author. It is also customary to skip a line between entries.

Under MLA guidelines, a typical entry would look like this:

    Flintstone, Fred. A Guide to Bowling in Bedrock. Barney Rubble, trans. Bedrock: Univ. of Bedrock Press, 23,000 BC.

For more complex entries, see the MLA Handbook or The Chicago Manual of Style. Both volumes can be found in the library.

II. Proofreading

You may be surprised at how often an otherwise good paper is marred because the author failed to proofread the manuscript. Typing errors, missing punctuation and computer glitches can detract from the brilliance and insights in your work. Reading through the manuscript after you've typed it or after you've had it printed can save you some needless embarrassment.

Some tips on proofreading:

    1. If you can, have someone else proofread for you. You are so used to looking at the text that you are likely to miss mistakes.

    2. If you are using a computer, print out a copy to proofread before you print the final copy. It is much easier to detect errors on the printed page than it is on the monitor.

    3. When proofreading, don't read the paper. Rather than reading the words, look at the words as objects. Try to notice things that look strange.

    4. Be sure all of your punctuation is consistent. If you put commas between the author of a source and the page number, be sure you do this throughout the paper.

    5. If you are using a computer, be sure to look over the printed copy before handing it in. Printers can do funny things and if you don't at least look through the manuscript, you might miss them.

    6. Do not rely exclusively on a spell checker. It cannot distinguish between "to" and "too" or between "become" and "becomes." Moreover, it can't help with punctuation at all.

III. And Finally. . .

    1. Staple the pages together. Don’t use a plastic report cover.

    2. Take a deep breath. Do some stretching exercises.

    3. Be sure to turn the paper in on time.

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