Writing style, research and citations differ by discipline. There are three main disciplines: Humanities ( i.e. English, Religion, Philosophy, Art), Social Sciences (i.e. Political Science, Economics, Law, History), and the Sciences (i.e. Biology, Environmental Science, Math, Chemistry). In some cases you will find your research topics fall into more than one discipline. So when conducting research it's important to check with your teacher to determine the proper Writing, Structure and Evaluation and Citation Style.

List of 3 items.

  • Humanities

    Writing- Humanities as a field of study deals with questions for which there are no definitive answers. Consider the questions that have haunted the humanities for centuries: What is justice? The nature of friendship? The essence of God? The properties of truth? While scholars in this field certainly hope to address these questions in ways that are compelling and authoritative, they don't write first and foremost to establish consensus among their peers. In other words, they do not expect to create in their work a reliable, scientific truth. In the humanities, paragraphs are longer in the paper. Sentences are longer, too - and more eloquent. They will juggle long and complex thoughts by using parallel structures. They will resonate with images and metaphors. They will be active, not passive, in their voices. In short, they will be anything BUT scientific in their style. 

    This doesn't mean that a humanities paper can present the reader with a jumble of thoughts and images. On the contrary, when writing a humanities paper, language and the way it is used in a paper is nearly as important as that paper's content. You will manipulate language to emphasize importance, to show the subtle relationships between ideas, and so on.

    Structure and Evidence- There is no formula for structuring Humanitites papers. In both the sciences and the social sciences, papers must follow a rather rigid format. In the humanities, however, form is dictated by content. In other words, what you intend to say will determine how you are going to say it. Figuring out the best of all possible structures for your argument is among the most difficult challenges a student writing in the humanities will face. Evidence in the humanities is textual. In other words, scholars in this field work most often with written documents, though films, paintings, etc. are also understood as "texts." Humanities scholars read texts closely, looking for patterns, examining language, considering what is not present in the text, as well as what is. The pattern of discourse in the humanities usually goes like this: a writer makes a claim, supports that claim with textual evidence, and then discusses the significance of the passage he has just quoted. This pattern of claim / textual support / discussion is repeated again and again until the writer feels that her argument has been made. What distinguishes the humanities from the sciences and the social sciences is that each claim is supported and discussed before the next claim is considered. In the sciences and social sciences, discussion is held off until methods and results have been supported in full.
  • Sciences

    Writing- A scientific paper is a written report describing original research results. The format of a scientific paper has been defined by centuries of developing tradition, editorial practice, scientific ethics and the interplay with printing and publishing services. A scientific paper should have, in proper order, a Title, Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion. The purpose of your work is to describe and measure phenomena.

    In the sciences, for example, sentences and paragraphs are usually short. Adjectives - except those that are absolutely necessary - are avoided. The passive voice is regularly employed. First-person pronouns are suspect. And rhetoric - or the kind of language that one uses to convince others that your argument is correct - is outlawed.

    Structure and Evidence- The sciences exist to examine the phenomena of nature. Truth in the sciences is crafted out of fact. How does a scientist know whether or not she is working with facts? She tests them. Scientists establish fact by working with empirical evidence - in other words, evidence that is both observable and verifiable. Experiments must therefore be carefully crafted, conducted, and reported, so that their results can be verified by other scientists. Only after an experiment has been verified and re-verified will its results be considered true.  In your science classes, you are likely to be asked to write one of two kinds of papers: the lab report and the review of the literature.  Because the purpose of most scientific writing is to present evidence that is verifiable, it's important to write with an almost mathematical precision. It is not important when writing a scientific paper to be eloquent. It is absolutely important, however, that you be clear. Finally, it is important to understand that scientific writing is often a collaborative effort. More than one scientist will contribute to a lab report or journal article. Accordingly, it's important to avoid any sense of individual style. The very consistent voice of scientific writing makes collaborative efforts seem seamless, permitting them to read as if they were all "of a piece.“

    Citation Style- APA
  • Social Sciences

    Writing- In the Social Sciences, students are often asked to come up with a question, to develop an experiment that will explore that question, and then to report the findings of the experiment objectively. The social scientist's evidence must be either quantitative, based on statistics, or it must be qualitative, based on observation. Social scientists make it their business to examine behavior - sometimes the behavior of an individual, other times the behavior of a system, society, or culture. Social scientists believe that careful observation of behavior will reveal patterns in that behavior, indicating that behaviors aren't random but are in fact driven by certain forces. For the social scientist, behavior is something that might be defined and understood. 

    The Social Sciences address many of the questions that concern the Humanities (i.e. What is the nature of friendship?) But these scholars would not examine how the qualities of friendship are important to a fictional character, nor would they deconstruct ancient texts on Platonic love. Instead, the social scientist would consider how he might objectively measure some aspect of friendship. He might construct a study, for example, that indicates how economic or geographical conditions determine (or don't determine) the quantity and quality of friendships. Or he might survey individuals with an abundant circle of friends to see if they report better-than-average psychological health. 

    The social scientist doesn't aim to come up with a definitive answer about the behavior of a system or an individual. He is not concerned, as the scientist is, with discovering facts. He doesn't focus, as the humanist does, on the construction and deconstruction of meaning. His interest lies in defining behavior, and in discovering its tendencies and its possibilities. 

    Structure and Evidence- When a social scientist makes a claim, he cannot go to a text for his evidence. Instead, he must construct a method of acquiring the necessary evidence. He will choose from the following methods:

    *Surveys and questionnaires * Controlled experiments or observations *Interviews *Field Work
    Once the method is constructed, the social scientist begins his work, observing, processing, and recording carefully as he goes along using a lab notebook, a field notebook, or a tape recorder in order to keep track of his results. When the research process is over, the social scientist will want to report his findings. The format for the social science paper is formal and relatively fixed, saving the writer the challenge of having to invent a structure. The paper should be structured as follows:

    First is the abstract, which in 100-200 words summarizes for the reader the purpose of the study, its methods, and its results. Next the introduction, whose purpose is to define the problem that is to be explored and review the literature on this problem and note the gaps in the literature and tell how this study intends to address these gaps.  Next describe the methods. Did he conduct a survey? If so, who was surveyed? When? How? What was asked? Etc. After the methods have been clearly and thoroughly described, the writer will declare his results. These results need to be presented coolly and without rhetoric. Discuss the results.In this section, the writer will interpret her results. She will make relevant connections or distinctions between her findings and the findings of others. In short, she will present an argument to her reader concerning what these results can, and cannot, tell about the problem at hand. Conclusion. The writer will summarize briefly her results and their implications. 

    In the Social Sciences, sentences must be well-crafted but they mustn't be "flowery." The reader mustn't feel that the writer is relying more on rhetoric than she is on evidence. Paragraphs must also be well-crafted and coherent, but they mustn't belabor the point. Digressing to interesting but not immediately relevant observations is discouraged. In short, the Social Science paper should report clearly, concisely, thoroughly, and objectively the writer's findings.

    Citation StyleChicago
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