Last Word on Citations
Rule of Thumb:
If you are not sure whether you need a citation after any particular statement in your paper, it is better to cite than not. You will not be marked down or accused of plagiarism if you have too many citations, but you could be marked down or accused of plagiarism if you have too few.
You should cite when:
- You give statistics.
- The information is unique and not known by most people.
- The reader might ask, “How do you know that?”
- You use a direct quotation from someone else.
- You use someone else’s ideas.
- You paraphrase a direct quotation from someone else.
You don’t need to cite when:
- The information is commonly known (either by the general population, or commonly known within the particular discipline).
- When most or all of your sources say the same thing on that particular point.
- When it is your own original thought or opinion.
What if you’re not sure?
If you are not sure, as stated under “Rule of Thumb” above, it is better to include a citation. You will not be accused of plagiarism for citing something you didn’t need to.
Conclusion Strategies Review:
The Simple Summary:
What it’s for: To recap what you have said.
Use this approach when you have a long or complex essay or an instructional text that focuses on concepts.
Caution: In a short, easy to follow essay, a summary conclusion can be dull or even annoying to readers. A brief summary followed by a more artful concluding strategy can sometimes be effective.
Larger Significance Conclusion
This draws the readers’ attention to the importance to or the applications of your argument.
Good for: when you want to elaborate on the significant of your problem by showing how your proposed solution leads to understanding a larger conclusion or brings practical benefits to society.
Good for: Call to action, or call for future study.
Often used in analysis or argument papers, this conclusion states the action that needs to be taken. It also briefly explains its advantages over alternative actions, or it may describe its beneficial consequences.
In a call to action, if your paper analyzes the negative consequences of shifting from a graduated to a flat-rate income tax, your conclusion might recommend an action such as modifying or opposing flat taxes.
In a call for future study, your conclusion might indicate what else needs to be known or resolved before a proposal can be offered. Common in scientific writing.
Scenic or Anecdotal Conclusion
Good for: when you want to use a scene or a BRIEF story to illustrate your theme without stating it explicitly.
This strategy is often used in popular writing. It can help the reader experience the emotional significance of a topic. Example: a paper favoring public housing for the homeless may end by describing a homeless person collecting bottles in the parl.
Hook and Return Conclusion
Good for: when you want to return to something mentioned in the beginning of the essay.
If your essay begins with a vivid illustration of a problem, the conclusion can return to the same scene or story, but WITH SOME VARIATION to indicate the significance of the essay.
Delayed Thesis Conclusion
Good for: stating the thesis for the first time at the end of the essay.
This can work if you are writing about complex or divisive issues and you don’t want to take a stand until you have presented all sides. In this case, the introduction of the essay merely states the problem, giving the exploratory feel.
Conclusion notes from Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing, 4th Edition, Florida International University Edition, pp. 616-617