• Writing Help: General

    Other Helpful WebsitesThe Center for Writing Studies (University of Illinois): A great grammar summary and some writing tips as well.
    Grammar Girl: "Quick and Dirty" grammar tips.
    Northwestern University's Writing Place: Help with writing a thesis.
    Purdue OWL Grades 7-12: Information on developing an outline, getting over writer's block, coming up with a thesis, evaluating sources of information, and a lot more.
    Taft College Evaluating Internet Resources: Some great tips on evaluating if a website is a good source of information for your classwork or not. 
    Wikipedia: Pros and Cons for Research: As even an article on Wikipedia says, Wikipedia has clear strengths and weaknesses (and the weaknesses affect its use for academic research). The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, agrees here

    How to Write a Research Paper

    So you have been assigned a research paper.  Now what do you do?  Click the button below to learn the basic structure of a research paper,  how to write in text citations, and how to write your citations using MLA 8 format.

    Research Organizer

    Let's get organized with your research project!  This form will help you stay on track, and give your teacher insight on your research process.

    How to cite your sources 101.

    Website Tools
    Purdue OWL MLA Formatting  (If you need APA citations, go here).
    CitationMachine (Helps format and build any citations).
    Citation Maker MLA Formatting (For APA citations click here).
    Noodle Tools to create citations, notecards, and organizing your research paper.
    Cite Fast provides an easy way to create citations in various formats.

    If that doesn't help, come to the library and go to call number 808 M for the MLA Handbook, 2009 edition. 
    Remember, if you use information but don't cite it, it is plagiarism

    Here are the very, very basics:   


    Author. Title of Book. City of Publication: Name of Publisher, Year of <strong "mso-bidi-font-weight:="" normal"="">Publication.

    Crisfield, Deborah and Mark Smith. Winning Soccer for Girls. Detroit: Facts on Facts on File, 2003.
    Reference Book (Encyclopedia, Almanac, etc.)

    Author of Article (if given). “Title of Article.” Title of Reference Book. Ed. Editor’s Name (if given). Volume No. (if given). City of Publication:  Publisher, Year of Publication.

    Allen, William Hand. “Electric Light.” World Book Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. Chicago: World Book, Inc., 2003.

    Internet Site (regular site, not fee-based database)
    Author (if given). <em "mso-bidi-font-style:="" normal"="">Web Page Title. Day Month Year of Latest Update (if given).  Name of Organization  (if given). Day Month Year that you found the information  <web address>.


    Cystic Fibrosis. 9 Dec. 2002. Yahoo!Health. 10 Sept. 2004 <>. 

    Fee-based Database (Gale Science in Context, Student Research)

    Author (if given). “Title of Article.” Title of Magazine or Newspaper Day Month Year of Article: Page Numbers (if given). Name of Database. Name  of Service. Name and Location of Library. Date Information was    Found <web address of service’s     main page>.


    “Busted Big Time.” Maclean’s 16 Dec. 2002: 15. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale Group. Baltimore County Public Lib., Perry       Hall, MD. 20 Dec. 2003 <>.


    Here are the basic copyright rules:
    1) Copyright covers original, tangible works.  "Original" means it must have at least a small amount of creativity.  "Tangible" means it must be physical.  These are things that are physical: books, computer files, CDs, a list, a work of art, etc.  These are things that are not: ideas, thoughts, speeches that are not recorded and don't have a script.  This means many things that students and teachers commonly come across are copyrighted. For example, if you, a student, write a paper, that paper is copyrighted and anyone who wants to use it for more than "fair use" must get your permission. 
    2) You do not have to apply for copyright. As soon as something original and tangible is created, it's copyrighted.  The work does not have to be published to be copyrighted.  This means a scribble that a student does on her notes in class is copyrighted.  A creater can choose to register his or her work with the Copyright Office, but it is not required in order for it to be copyrighted. 
    3) Fair Use lets people use copyrighted works without asking permission of the copyright holder.  Teachers and students, for example, can parody classic art works because of the Fair Use Exemption to copyright. 
    4) Copyright guidelines are NOT the law.  They may help you stay within the law, but courts will make rulings based on the law, not guidelines (even if Congress comes up with the guidelines). 

    Those are just the very, very basics.  There is much more to learn about the Fair Use exemption and copyright in general. 
    Here are some more good sources:

    The library has some great resources on copyright.
    Complete Copyright: An Everyday Guide for Librarians (PRO 346.73 R)  This book is really great.  It actually has a nice design (it doesn't look like a dry academic book) and the information is at a good level--detailed, but not overwhelmingly so.
    The Complete Copyright Handbook: How to Protect and Use Written Works (PRO 346.73 F)
    Copyright or Wrong: Learning About Digital Ethics (346.73 C) (DVD)
    Downloading Copyrighted Stuff From the Internet: Stealing or Fair Use? (346.7304 GOR)

    Here are some good websites:
    Cornell Public Domain Chart: To figure out if a work is in the public domain (anyone can use it) or not.
    U.S. Copyright Office Handout on Fair Use: Basic, but trustworthy information, about the fair use exemption.
    National Association for Music Teachers: Copyright information specifically for music teachers.
    U.S. Copyright Office Factsheets: Fairly dry and many of them won't be applicable, but information from the government.
    Harvard's Copyright for Librarians: A huge wiki with lots of links and case studies.  For librarians, but most of the information is relevant to anyone.

    Image from Creative Commons by MikeBlogs.

    For Teen Writers


    Places To Publish

    An easy way to get started publishing is to create your own blog or micro-blog (e.g. Twitter).  Here are some popular blog sites:
    Blogger: A basic free blogging site that's owned by Google (so it's really easy to sign on if you already have a Google account).
    Tumblr: Another smaller microblogging site than Twitter.  It is more focused on media posts (about half of people's posts are pictures).
    Twitter: A microblogging site (each entry can only be 140 characters long).  You can also link to pictures, respond to other's tweets, and give basic information about yourself.
    WordPress: Another free blogging site with lots of layout and widget options.

    These are places to post your work and get feedback from other teens.

    FictionPress: Not specifically young adult, but they do have a place for young adult writers.
    Figment: A new place (that looks really cool!) to post your work, read others' work, and get reviews.
    Mibba: A specifically young adult place to post work and get other to read and review it. 

    Contests: Enter your writing to earn fame and fortune!

     Contests for Teen Writers

    Creative Communication: Contests several times a year for poetry and essays. Deadline: Ongoing.
    Fire Escape Writing Contests: This is a contest for poetry or prose written by immigrants or children of immigrants. Prizes: publication on the website and 1st=$50, 2nd=$35, and 3rd=$15.
    Remember Pearl Harbor Writing Contest: An essay contest asking "Why should we remember Pearl Harbor?"
    Prizes: 1st--$1000, 2nd--$750, 3rd--$500. 
    Shout Out Magazine Contest
    : The winning entry each month gets published in The Next Step magazine and $100.  Deadline: Ongoing.

    Teen Ink: Writing contests for nonfiction, poetry, fiction, and more.  Deadline: Ongoing. 

    Figment: Many writing contests that are changing all the time.  Check out the website to see what contests are currently happening. 

    Photo from Creative Commons by J. Paxon Reyes.