Writing tips from Advice to Writers.
Category Archives: Writing and Blogging
There have been a few questions about how to type up equations in Word. A colleague shared this today, so I thought I would pass it along. It’s an equation editor embedded in Word 2010. It is LaTeX-style; LaTeX is the program I use to type your exams and answers. I hope it’s helpful.
Remember to comment on your blogging partners’ posts and respond to the comments on your posts. Posts are due on Fridays at 9am. Comments are due on Mondays at 9am.
As you all are getting your bibliographies ready this week, I thought it might be useful to point out how we cite blogging in academic work. This is a pretty new space for most people, so I encourage you to read this blog post for specific instructions on how to cite.
Whether to cite, though, is a quite different answer. Recall that any time you use someone’s ideas or words, you should be citing it, giving proper credit. Blog posts are of varying quality, so I caution you against taking facts away from a blog post. Statistics, figures, numbers, and other factual information that you cannot back up using a peer-reviewed or otherwise published work should not be taken from blogs. If you find one of these things on a blog and it seems compelling, see if the author links back to another source, or if you can find it elsewhere. It’s perfectly reasonable to email the author and ask where they got the information. If you cannot confirm it though, it’s probably better left out.
Blogs are a great source of ideas. They might help you think better about your paper, the variables in your model, the way you talk about a certain aspect of your results. In this case, you should always cite the blog, just like you would cite any other published work.
As a side note, this includes citing yourself. If you take words directly from a blog post and put them into your paper, they should be in quotations and cited as originally published on your blog.
Your outline and bibliography are due next Friday, March 2, so this week’s blogging assignment is small. You don’t have reading in either of the books to do, but I would like you to read and write, still. For Friday, by the time class starts, please find an article in the news that pertains to your research paper. Link to the article in your blog post and give a short (2-3 paragraph) explanation of how reading the article has helped you think about your research question. Does it bring up additional variables you need to control for? Does it suggest alternate sources of data or additional reading that can be done? What else?
Also, make sure to comment on someone else’ post from last week. Try someone new, whose blog you haven’t read yet.
As a reminder, blog posts and comments are due on Friday by the time class starts. Late assignments will not receive credit.
I wanted to point out one of your classmate’s blogs today. He’s declared Wednesdays to be “Milton Friedman Wednesdays” in which he’s going to post something about Milton Friedman each Wednesday. This is a very common, and useful, blogging trick that I suggest you all try. I know of bloggers who engage in similar posting with titles like “Friday Links” or “Monday Humor” or “Friday Faces of India”. The point is that it gets them searching for content and things to write about each week in addition to keeping readers coming back.
Particularly if you’re having trouble thinking of a research topic, it presents a good incentive to give yourself a deadline and force yourself to think about a topic that interests you.