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  1. What kinds of writing assignments can I expect in Geology courses?
    • Minute papers (short, in-class writing)
    • Field and laboratory notebooks
    • Hand sample, thin section, and fossil description
    • Abstracts and literature summaries
    • Annotated bibliographies
    • Laboratory reports
    • Essays
    • Scientific papers
  2. What are the qualities of good writing in Geology?
    • A good paper is clear, cogent, concise, and has a logical flow of ideas.
    • The scientific ideas expressed should be accurate.
    • Observations and data reported should be accurate and complete
    • For many papers, synthesis of ideas, observations, and data is particularly important
    • Correct grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure is important in producing a finished product.
  3. How will I be graded? In grading your writing, your professor will consider some or all of the following, depending on the nature of the assignment:
    • Understanding of course material – have you demonstrated that you understand the topic about which you are writing?
    • Accuracy – have you accurately portrayed the data, observations or arguments?
    • Completeness – have you included all relevant data, observations, arguments, and literature citations?
    • Synthesis – have you demonstrated that you understand the connections between the elements of your argument?
    • Format & style – is your paper properly constructed and free of grammatical or spelling errors? Also, is it concise – expressed in a minimum number of words, without extraneous material?
    • Citations & references – does your paper contain adequate and properly cited references from the literature?
  4. What citation conventions should I use in Geology papers?
    • Generally, you should use the citation and reference conventions of the Geological Society of America (http://www.geosociety.org); refer to a recent issue of the journal Geology or GSA Bulletin for formats.
    • For some courses, you may use a different convention (e.g., Paleontological Society). Your professor will inform you if the citation convention will be different.
  5. Citation & plagiarism
    • Plagiarism is the use of another person’s words or ideas as your own. If you quote, paraphrase a passage, or use an idea or conclusion, you must cite it.
    • Failure to properly cite your sources or copying material from someone else is academic dishonesty and is grounds for failure in the course.