Writing FAQs

On Types of Writing

Here are some answers to questions about the different styles or types of writing.

1. What is a critical essay?

A critical essay provides information about a book or article you are evaluating. In a critical essay it is important to establish and support your thesis, a position taken on a topic. Your critical essay can incorporate your feelings towards the piece as well ranging from agreeing or disagreeing with the piece, or the author’s implied values, positive or negative views and etc). Most importantly, your thesis must be supported with evidence from the text and/ or in conjunction by using literary criticisms from writers to further support your critical essay. One of the main goals of a critical essay is to convince the reader, (i.e.: your professor, peers, and etc) of the importance and validity of the thesis.

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2. What is a persuasive essay?

In a persuasive essay, you are trying try to convince the reader and others to agree with the facts. By the end of the essay, your goal is to have the reader accept and respect your arguments and conclusion, and approve of what you have said for the past three to how ever many pages. To be successful at a persuasive essay, it is essential to know what you are talking about and try to stay focused, without divulging into a random topic or contradict yourself within your paper.

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3. What is an abstract?

An abstract is a brief summary of a research article, thesis, review, or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline, and is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper's purpose. Abstracts usually appear at the beginning of a manuscript . Mainly, you can find examples of abstracts when doing research assignments, when looking at scholarly journal articles, reviews and etc; it can help narrow an article to see if it relevant to what you are researching.

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4. What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, journals, articles, documents and any other source one uses. After the citation, a brief summary, usually paragraph length (the annotation) follows which describes and summarizes the central scope of the source (the book or article). This could be done by commenting on the author’s style, showing how it is relevant to your topic, or comments on the work itself.

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5. Do different disciplines have different writing styles?

APA, MLA, Chicago, CBE, style manuals for Sociology, Biology, Music, Geology, AP for journalism majors and everything you could imagine…

Yes, and depending on what you are majoring in, what classes your taking, you will either “master”, be familiar or be briefly introduced and forget one, two or many writing styles. Each disciple has its own set of writing styles, citations and ways to demonstrate understanding and to support claims and evidence. As one takes more classes in their major and/ minor, one must learn and employ the writing styles specific to that discipline.

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