Happy New Year! We hope you had a restful and refreshing holiday as you start a new semester of studies. Professor Randy continues his series on general writing tips, and Michael starts a new series on Word's document collaboration features.
Writing the Introduction
by Professor Randy
First impressions are important when you meet new people and in your writing. What you say in your introduction and how you say it will set a tone for the reader's relationship with you, as the author, and how they view what you say in the rest of the paper. Writing an A+ introduction will often set the stage for a strong grade for the entire paper. This article will help you write great introductions by examining four key aspects of great introductory paragraphs: an engaging first sentence, a statement of relevance, a purpose statement and a brief summary of the main points within the paper.
The first sentence of your introduction should function as a hook that "catches" your reader's attention. Notice the first sentence in this article: "First impressions are important when you meet new people and in your writing." We have all experienced the joys and disappointments of first impressions. By referring to this common experience, I have hopefully stimulated the interest of the reader. Of course, you can do this in many ways such as including relevant quotes, humor and statistics.
The second and third sentences of this article build on the first one by stating the relevance of the article topic. The second sentence clearly states how a great introduction will create a favorable first impression that sets a positive trajectory for the entire paper. This helps the reader understand the significance of my opening statement. The third sentence take it even further by appealing to something that is important to most students: grades. The point I am making is that if you have a great introduction, you will have a better chance of getting a great grade.
The first part of the final sentence in the opening paragraph states the purpose or thesis of the article, which is to "help you write great introductions." As I discussed in my October, 2012 article, it is important to know the purpose of your paper. This is where you clearly state that purpose.
The last part of the introductory paragraph gives an overview of the main topics of the article: "An engaging first sentence, a statement of relevance, a purpose statement and a brief summary of the main points within the paper." By including this summary, I have helped the reader know exactly where we will be going as I seek to achieve the purpose of the article.
In this article, I have described a process for writing great introductions that will help you make good first impressions with your readers. Next month, I will look at writing great conclusions that will help your readers conclude their reading on a positive note.
by Michael Hu
What do Facebook, Twitter, Word 2013, Windows 8, Android, a whole host of new computing technologies have in common for 2013? Integration with the 'cloud', or the sharing of yourself and data. No longer is computing a solitary experience, but the newer, successful technologies are ones that embrace collaboration and social networking.
The same goes for writing. When I was in school, most of my assignments were solitary affairs. But in the workplace, nearly all of my writing were team based affairs. In fact, it was my social skills more than technical skills that lead to professional success. Thus, learning Word's team collaboration features is a must for professional writing.
The first set of tools we will cover in this team collaboration series is Track Changes on Word's Review tab as shown in Figure 1:
Figure 1: Track Changes on the Word ribbon
Click Track Changes to turn it on, and start making changes to your team-mate's document. Click New Comment to add a comment. You should see something similar to Figure 2:
Figure 2: Example of tracked changes
Any text that you delete will have a
strike through it, and any additions will be underlined. Your comment will be prefixed by your initials. To change your initials, click Change User Name on Figure 1 to bring up Figure 3:
Figure 3: Change your initials in Word Options
Track Changes allows you to edit your team-mate's document, and then return it to him in a form that allows him to review only the changes.
Next month's article will go over the features that help you turn this marked up document into the final version.