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Resources

Handouts

MLA Style for Online Resources: This Composition I handout provides examples of MLA-based works cited entries for electronic sources.

Literary Documentation: This sheet is distributed to Composition II and literature classes to demonstrate appropriate MLA parenthetical and works cited documentation.

The Little, Brown Handbook Quick Cross Reference: For students who are using the 10th edition of the handbook, this reference indicates content differences between the 10th and 11th editions.

Separation Anxiety: Comma Usage: Developed by a lab peer tutor, this handout concisely explains and provides examples for many comma rules.

Resources for Multilingual Writers

Walters State's ESL Coordinator can help meet your advising needs as an international student as you choose courses, particularly those for which improvement of language skills is a principal objective. The Writing Lab's tutors can assist with your learning proper pronunciation of terms or acceptable sentence structure as you complete course activities. In addition, you might want to visit the following web sites for practices, quizzes, and much more.

Dave's ESL Café: Learn idioms and phrasal verbs, study pronunciation, take quizzes, participate in forums.

ESL Resource Center: Complete free lesson and exercises (including spoken activities) or investigate resources and links to other sites.

Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab: Select from among many listening lessons and quizzes arranged by level of difficulty.

Ohio ESL: Choose resources and sites whose links are listed here.

ESL Independent Study Lab: Practice skills of various levels, link to other web resources, read student reviews of web sites.

Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Try interactive exercises, download handouts, link to other resources.

Activities for ESL Students: Select easy, medium, or difficult quizzes in English or try bilingual quizzes to translate from many different languages to English.

Interesting Things for ESL Students: Check out word games, puzzles, quizzes, exercises, slang, proverbs, and more.

EduFind's Online English Grammar: Investigate grammar, writing, and punctuation issues.

Job Application Writing

Walters State's Placement Services in CC-207 offers employment seekers valuable résumé-writing advice, and the Five Rivers Regional Career Center in Talbott offers free workshops on a number of topics, including résumé and cover letter development. Visitors to the center also have free access to computers, printers, and fax machines. Additional job seeking services are provided by the Center for Workforce Development in TECH-260.

As you search for a job, your ability to communicate your qualifications can determine whether you receive an employment offer. Examine each of the following for information and tips that will help you produce effective résumés and letters. You will find links to model documents that can guide you as you produce your own job-winning writing.

Résumé

The purpose of a résumé is to put your job qualifications in the best light while demonstrating the relationship between your experience and/or education and the job you are seeking. The ultimate goal of a résumé is to help you get an interview by persuading potential employers that you can do the job. Prospective employers recognize the effort put into producing a quality résumé and conclude that you will put the same amount of effort into the job; therefore, it is important to consider the following information.

The characteristics of an effective résumé include good organization, careful design, consistent format, legibility, and lack of errors. These same characteristics apply to the cover letter which should accompany your résumé. See this site's section on cover letters for more information.

Elements of a résumé can vary somewhat, but most résumés include personal data, educational background, and work experience. Personal data, usually at the top of the page, may include name, mailing address, telephone number, email address, and fax number. A career objective statement of no more than three lines might be next. A one- or two-line summary may also appear (e.g. An experienced designer of educational software). The résumé writer should determine whether to emphasize education over job experience or vice versa by listing first the element that is most likely to impress potential employers. Work experience entries, which may include volunteer and military positions, should begin with either company names or job titles. Special skills, awards, or hobbies might be given if these relate to the position sought. If references are included on the résumé, be sure to give phone numbers and addresses for the individuals who have agreed to recommend you for the position. Commonly, "Available on request" appears after the references heading. Unless the employer requires you to state salary requirements, you may choose to not address pay on your résumé. You may also use the term "negotiable" or give a range, unless the posting directs you to specify the minimum acceptable salary.

Résumés, typically one to two pages long, may be organized a number of ways, but the usual order is reverse chronological with most recent educational or work experience listed first. One alternative is a functional résumé that lists experience in terms of job skills rather than specific positions held. The appearance of your résumé should be professional, yet reader-friendly, and should result from a simple design that does not overuse highlighting and spaces content so that information stands out. Language in a résumé is concise, marked by the absence of the word "I" and by the occurrence of resulting fragments. Strong action verbs are used to describe current and past activities.

For more information and examples, see The Little, Brown Handbook, 12th ed. Companion Web Site, FreeResumeExamples.net, for Sample Resumes.

Cover Letter

A cover letter (letter of application) gives potential employers a first impression by emphasizing key information from your résumé. Its tone should be articulate, interesting, and professional. It ought to directly and concisely include special reasons for applying, such as specific short-term goals or a particular interest in the company. The contact person's name and address should appear on the letter. Use appropriate titles such as director, manager, vice president, and so forth; if a name may be spelled more than one way, find out how the contact person's name is written.

The cover letter's structure is typically based on a three-paragraph minimum. The introductory paragraph should announce the specific job you are seeking, tell how you heard about it, and include a thesis that states your ability to do the job. The body, which consists of at least one paragraph, outlines your most prominent qualifications and convinces the reader of your claim to be able to do the job. A concluding paragraph states that the résumé is enclosed, asks for or suggests an interview, gives available interview dates, and ends with a positive note.

For further information or to look at some samples, visit The Little, Brown Handbook Companion Web Site, CollegeGrad.com, or CADJobsite.com.

Letter of Thanks

After the interview, you should write a letter to thank the interviewer(s) and anyone else who significantly contributed to your interview process. Name the specific job for which you interviewed and the date of the interview. If you still desire the position, note your continued interest and reaffirm your ability to do the job. Offer to provide more information and conclude with a positive note. If you are no longer interested in the job, let the employer know that you have carefully considered information and perspectives gained from the interview, give logical reasons for withdrawing from consideration, and end with a positive tone.

For further explication and a sample letter, see Top-Career-Resumes.com.
Acceptance Letter

A letter of acceptance should thank the employer and indicate your acceptance of a job offer. To make sure there are no misunderstandings, you should reiterate the salary offered, the start date, and other details about your plans to report for work such as moving, undergoing health exams, or completing entry paperwork. You should conclude the letter with an enthusiastic statement about working with the new employer.

To learn more about acceptance letters, see Top-Career-Resumes.com.

Refusal Letter

A refusal letter should express your thanks for the offer of employment and convey a tactful, courteous refusal. Details of your serious consideration and logical decline of the offer should be presented. You might conclude by articulating something positive about the application experience or interview process with the company.

To see a model letter of refusal/decline, visit Purdue University's Online Writing Lab.

Writing in the Disciplines

Each field of study has developed its unique approach to gathering and presenting information. As you write for various courses, you will need to become familiar with methods specific to these disciplines. Closely follow class assignment handouts and/or examples of writing in your subject area.

One obvious difference among disciplines is their accepted format for documenting research: Modern Language Association (MLA) style is used primarily in English, foreign languages, and some other humanities; American Psychological Association (APA) format is required by psychology, education, and some other social sciences; Council of Science Editors (CSE) style is associated with biological and some other natural sciences. See this web site's Documentation and Sources for further explanation.

To learn more about writing in different disciplines or to find topics for a particular subject area, choose one of the following academic divisions:

Behavioral and Social Sciences

Types of writing for courses in this discipline include summaries or reviews of research, case analyses, problem-solving analyses, research papers, and research reports. These compositions may be expository, analytical, or interpretive. A distinguishing characteristic of this discipline is the use of headings and subheadings. American Psychological Association (APA) format is frequently required by psychology, education, and some other social sciences. See this web site's Documentation and Sources for additional style information. For a complete list of Walters State's academic programs in this field of study, visit the Behavioral and Social Sciences Division.

The following may help you find information for topics in behavioral and social sciences:

  • Databases specialized by subject area may be accessed either on campus or off campus at Walters State library. Most databases to which Walters State's library subscribes contain primary sources that have been peer reviewed or refereed by experts in the field before being published in scholarly journals. Simply select a database, enter keyword(s), select "peer reviewed" or "refereed" and "full text" if these options are available, and then click on "search." Entering keyword(s) + "database" in commercial search engines enables you to search many online databases, some of which are sponsored by government agencies and may serve as primary sources of information.
  • Subject directories, especially academic and professional directories that are compiled and often annotated by experts, can yield favorable results. To find directories, you can visit UC Berkeley's Recommended Subject Directories. One such directory, The Librarians' Index to the Internet, allows users to select from hundreds of topics and subtopics for various disciplines.
  • Specific sites for writing about behavioral and social science topics include:
    • Best of History Web Sites
    • The Educator's Reference Desk
    • PsychCrawler
    • Social Science Information Gateway
    • Infomine

Business

Writing in this discipline often analyzes or interprets processes, organizations, or trends and typically incorporates charts, graphs, and tables to convey information. American Psychological Association (APA) format or CSE style, established by the Council of Science Editors (formerly the Council of Biology Editors), is used to document most business writing. See this web site's Documentation and Sources for additional information. For a complete list of Walters State's academic programs in this field of study, visit the Business Division.

The following may help you find information for topics in business:

  • Databases specialized by subject area may be accessed either on campus or off campus at Walters State library. Most databases to which Walters State's library subscribes contain primary sources that have been peer reviewed or refereed by experts in the field before being published in scholarly journals. Simply select a database, enter keyword(s), select "peer reviewed" or "refereed" and "full text" if these options are available, and then click on "search." Entering keyword(s) + "database" in commercial search engines enables you to search many online databases, some of which are sponsored by government agencies and may serve as primary sources of information.
  • Subject directories, especially academic and professional directories that are compiled and often annotated by experts, can yield favorable results. To find directories, you can visit UC Berkeley's Recommended Subject Directories. One such directory, The Librarians' Index to the Internet, allows users to select from hundreds of topics and subtopics for various disciplines.
    • Academic Info: Business Administration
    • Resources for Economists on the Internet
    • Virtual International Business and Economic Sources

Health Programs

Writing within this discipline includes literature reviews, analyses or interpretations of information, and reports of direct observation or experimentation. American Psychological Association (APA) format, CSE style, established by the Council of Science Editors (formerly the Council of Biology Editors), or The American Medical Association (AMA Style) is used to document much of the writing for health sciences. See this web site's Documentation and Sources for additional information. For a complete list of Walters State's academic programs in this field of study, visit the Health Programs Division.

The following may help you find information for topics in health programs:

  • Databases specialized by subject area may be accessed either on campus or off campus at Walters State library. Most databases to which Walters State's library subscribes contain primary sources that have been peer reviewed or refereed by experts in the field before being published in scholarly journals. Simply select a database, enter keyword(s), select "peer reviewed" or "refereed" and "full text" if these options are available, and then click on "search." Entering keyword(s) + "database" in commercial search engines enables you to search many online databases, some of which are sponsored by government agencies and may serve as primary sources of information.
  • Subject directories, especially academic and professional directories that are compiled and often annotated by experts, can yield favorable results. To find directories, you can visit UC Berkeley's Recommended Subject Directories. One such directory, The Librarians' Index to the Internet, allows users to select from hundreds of topics and subtopics for various disciplines.
  • Specific sites for health programs topics you might consider include:
    • American Medical Association
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Hardin MD
    • World Health Organization

Humanities

Compositions for humanities courses include argumentative essays, literary analyses, interpretations, summaries, and direct observations. Modern Language Association (MLA) style is used primarily in English, foreign languages, and some other humanities. See this web site's Documentation and Sources for additional style information. For a complete list of Walters State's academic programs in this field of study, visit the Humanities Division.

The following may help you find information for topics in humanities:

  • Databases specialized by subject area may be accessed either on campus or off campus at Walters State library. Most databases to which Walters State's library subscribes contain primary sources that have been peer reviewed or refereed by experts in the field before being published in scholarly journals. Simply select a database, enter keyword(s), select "peer reviewed" or "refereed" and "full text" if these options are available, and then click on "search." Entering keyword(s) + "database" in commercial search engines enables you to search many online databases, some of which are sponsored by government agencies and may serve as primary sources of information.
  • Subject directories, especially academic and professional directories that are compiled and often annotated by experts, can yield favorable results. To find directories, you can visit UC Berkeley's Recommended Subject Directories. One such directory, The Librarians' Index to the Internet, allows users to select from hundreds of topics and subtopics for various disciplines.
  • Specific sites for humanities programs topics you might consider include:
    • Internet Public Library: Online Literary Criticism
    • Arts and Humanities Data Service
    • Artnet
    • Guide to Philosophy on the Internet
    • McCoy's Guide to Theatre and Performance Studies

Mathematics

Analyses, interpretations, and research reviews and reports constitute much of the writing for this discipline. American Psychological Association (APA) format or CSE style, established by the Council of Science Editors (formerly the Council of Biology Editors), is used to document most of the writing for mathematics. See this web site's Documentation and Sources for additional information. For a complete list of Walters State's academic programs in this field of study, visit the Mathematics Division.

The following may help you find information for topics in mathematics:

  • Databases specialized by subject area may be accessed either on campus or off campus at Walters State library. Most databases to which Walters State's library subscribes contain primary sources that have been peer reviewed or refereed by experts in the field before being published in scholarly journals. Simply select a database, enter keyword(s), select "peer reviewed" or "refereed" and "full text" if these options are available, and then click on "search." Entering keyword(s) + "database" in commercial search engines enables you to search many online databases, some of which are sponsored by government agencies and may serve as primary sources of information.
  • Subject directories, especially academic and professional directories that are compiled and often annotated by experts, can yield favorable results. To find directories, you can visit UC Berkeley's Recommended Subject Directories. One such directory, The Librarians' Index to the Internet, allows users to select from hundreds of topics and subtopics for various disciplines.
  • Specific sites for mathematics programs topics you might consider include:
    • Math on the Web
    • Internet Mathematics Library
    • The Mathematical Atlas

Natural Science

Common to this discipline are reviews of literature, analyses, and research reports of direct observation and experimentation. Reports rely heavily on headings and subheadings. Much of the writing in this area requires extensive citation because the information it incorporates is not common knowledge. Council of Science Editors (CSE) style or American Psychological Association (APA) format is associated with biological and some other natural sciences. See this web site's Documentation and Sources for additional information. For a complete list of Walters State's academic programs in this field of study, visit the Natural Science Division.

The following may help you find information for topics in natural science:

  • Databases specialized by subject area may be accessed either on campus or off campus at Walters State library. Most databases to which Walters State's library subscribes contain primary sources that have been peer reviewed or refereed by experts in the field before being published in scholarly journals. Simply select a database, enter keyword(s), select "peer reviewed" or "refereed" and "full text" if these options are available, and then click on "search." Entering keyword(s) + "database" in commercial search engines enables you to search many online databases, some of which are sponsored by government agencies and may serve as primary sources of information.
  • Subject directories, especially academic and professional directories that are compiled and often annotated by experts, can yield favorable results. To find directories, you can visit UC Berkeley's Recommended Subject Directories. One such directory, The Librarians' Index to the Internet, allows users to select from hundreds of topics and subtopics for various disciplines.
  • Specific sites for natural sciences topics you might consider include:
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • American Institute of Physics
    • American Geological Institute
    • American Chemical Society
    • Biology Online

Public Safety

Writing in this discipline may include analyses, interpretations, literature reviews, and observational reports. American Psychological Association (APA) format is used to document most public safety writing. See this web site's Documentation and Sources for additional information. For a complete list of Walters State's academic programs in this field of study, visit the Public Safety Division.

The following may help you find information for topics in public safety:

  • Databases specialized by subject area may be accessed either on campus or off campus at Walters State library. Most databases to which Walters State's library subscribes contain primary sources that have been peer reviewed or refereed by experts in the field before being published in scholarly journals. Simply select a database, enter keyword(s), select "peer reviewed" or "refereed" and "full text" if these options are available, and then click on "search." Entering keyword(s) + "database" in commercial search engines enables you to search many online databases, some of which are sponsored by government agencies and may serve as primary sources of information.
  • Subject directories, especially academic and professional directories that are compiled and often annotated by experts, can yield favorable results. To find directories, you can visit UC Berkeley's Recommended Subject Directories. One such directory, The Librarians' Index to the Internet, allows users to select from hundreds of topics and subtopics for various disciplines.
  • Specific sites for public safety topics you might consider include:
    • Legal Information Institute
    • Loyola's Political Science Links

Technical Education

Technical education writing may include analyses, literature reviews, explications, and reports of observations or experimentations. Council of Science Editors (CSE) style is associated with some of the branches of this discipline. See this web site's Documentation and Sources for additional information. For a complete list of Walters State's academic programs in this field of study, visit the Technical Education Division.

The following may help you find information for topics in technical education:

  • Databases specialized by subject area may be accessed either on campus or off campus at Walters State library. Most databases to which Walters State's library subscribes contain primary sources that have been peer reviewed or refereed by experts in the field before being published in scholarly journals. Simply select a database, enter keyword(s), select "peer reviewed" or "refereed" and "full text" if these options are available, and then click on "search." Entering keyword(s) + "database" in commercial search engines enables you to search many online databases, some of which are sponsored by government agencies and may serve as primary sources of information.
  • Subject directories, especially academic and professional directories that are compiled and often annotated by experts, can yield favorable results. To find directories, you can visit UC Berkeley's Recommended Subject Directories. One such directory, The Librarians' Index to the Internet, allows users to select from hundreds of topics and subtopics for various disciplines.
  • Specific sites for technical education topics you might consider include:
    • IEEE Computer Society
    • National Academy of Engineering

Common Errors

A 1992 study by Connors and Lunsford analyzed 3000 college essays and found that 91.5% of all grammar mistakes are of only twenty error types (qtd. in "Twenty Common Errors"). They are listed here in decreasing order of frequency; this order has no relationship to the seriousness of each error type. To review these topics, click on the numbered links to the right of the error types or read The Little, Brown Handbook 12th edition sections shown on the left.

28b: No comma after introductory element   1   2   3   4

19: Vague pronoun reference   1   2   3

28a: No comma in compound sentence   1   2   3

37—40: Wrong word   1   2   3

28c: No comma in nonrestrictive (nonessential) element   1   2   3

Glossary: Wrong or missing inflected endings   1   2

12c: Wrong or missing preposition   1   2   3

18: Comma splice  1  2   3   4

30a: Possessive apostrophe   1   2   3   4    5

20b: Tense shift   1   2   3   4

20a: Unnecessary shift in person   1   2   3

17: Sentence fragment   1   2   3   4   5   6

14a—h: Wrong tense or verb form   1   2   3   4   5

15a: Subject-verb agreement   1   2   3   4   56

28f: Lack of comma in series   1   2   3   4

15b: Pronoun agreement   1   2   3   46

28j.4: Unnecessary comma with restrictive (essential) element   1   2   3   4 5

18: Run-on or fused sentence   1   2   3      4 5

21: Dangling or misplaced modifier   1   2   3   4   56

30c, Glossary: Its/it’s error   1   2   3   4   5