Keep Calm and Write On:
A Technical Communication Style Guide
Michael J. Amorosa
Gregory Cook
Cody Beacham
Daniela Corteo
Karina Botero
Cori A. Cunningham
DeLana Carter
Michael Diaz
Ryan Flynn
Brian Ma
Wesly Goris
Mark Robinson
David Jackson
Joseph Santos
Matthew Jackson
Joshua Williams
Kevin Worrell
Knights Publishing Association, Inc. is a student run press that reflects
their creativity and organization, and their belief in the core values of
integrity, scholarship, community, creativity, and excellence.
Copyright © 2013 by Knights Publishing Association, Inc.
Published by Knights Publishing Association, Inc.
4000 Central Florida Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32816
First Edition: December 2013
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any
manner whatsoever, or stored in any information storage system, without
the prior written consent of the publisher or the author, except in the case
of brief quotations with the proper reference, embodied in critical articles
and reviews.
Logo is property and trademark of University of Central Florida
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic
or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems,
without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a
reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2365624156
Contents: I. Rhetoric and Written Communication II. Research and
Documentation III. Mechanics, Grammar, and Punctuation IV. Visual
Elements and Graphics V. Page Elements and Design VI. Online
Communication VII. Diversity
ISBN-10: 2365624156
ISBN-13: 753-1593791040
Printed in the United States of America
Dear Readers,
This style manual was written for the use of students,
faculty, and staff at the University of Central Florida. The manual is
intended to teach readers good techniques and practices for
technical and professional communication. Our readers will find
this guide helpful when they are tasked with writing professional
documents such as memos and emails, as well as academic work
such as research papers and presentations. After reading this style
manual, our readers will be well-rounded in their writing abilities
and will gain confidence in producing the academic and
professional documents that they encounter in school or the
In order to meet the needs of the perpetually growing
population of UCF, this style guide is intentionally organized for
quick referencing and solutions. Using the table of contents, our
readers can easily navigate to any of the important topics covered
in the manual.
To produce the body of the manual, our class was divided
into seven committees. Each committee was focused on writing
one chapter of the book, and they decided among themselves how
to split up the work within each chapter. Each team spent a few
weeks doing research on their subject, utilizing the UCF library as
well as searching other online databases for scholarly articles.
Finally, after compiling all the necessary sources and reading them
thoroughly, the authors began the rigorous process of writing their
respective chapters.
In addition to the chapter committees, the team of General
Editors played an important role in the process of writing the
manual. These editors helped to standardize the writing style within
each chapter by creating writing guidelines in the form of a style
sheet. Also, each team of writers had one assigned general editor.
As the members produced portions of their work, they would give it
to their editor for review. The General Editors checked for
overlapping subjects within each chapter, errors in grammar and
spelling, correct use of terms (such as “website” vs. “web site”),
and any other aspect of writing that needed attention.
All of the people that collaborated on this style manual did
enough research to help supplement a wide audience. To make
sure that such a vast amount of information was not reiterated, we
divided each topic and peer reviewed. We were then further tasked
to divide each of our sections and submit each part in three
installations. This was done to improve the continuity of the final
document. Once every member submitted each of our individual
sections we combined it and made improvements wherever
Additionally, each writer included supplemental graphics for
our sections. We labeled where we wanted them in the document
and had a separate folder with all of the assets that would be
added later on. A team of technical editors worked together to
format all completed chapters into one cohesive document. The
technical editors standardized all fonts and headings and
integrated graphics into the text. This method provided functionality
by making it easier to format to the specifications that we all had
agreed upon for the final product.
The Writers of ENC 4293, UCF Fall 2013
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Rhetoric and Written Communication .......................... 1
Chapter 2: Research and Documentation .................................... 53
Chapter 3: Mechanics, Grammar, and Punctuation ................... 113
Chapter 4: Visual Elements and Graphics .................................. 161
Chapter 5: Page Elements and Design ....................................... 187
Chapter 6: Online Communication .............................................. 219
Chapter 7: Diversity ..................................................................... 273
Rhetoric and Written Communication |1
Convincing others of your point of view though argumentation
and discourse is called rhetoric. It is an ancient art dating back to the
classical Greek era. (Wheeler “Rhetoric.”) Argumentation is the act
or process of giving reason for or against a subject. Discourse is the
exchanging of thoughts and ideas through the use of writing or
speaking. Rhetoric could be described as arguments about ideas
using only words to convince people of your way of thinking.
Rhetoric have been discussed by people since ancient times in
Greece. The ancient Greek used terms like: logos, ethos, and pathos
to define methods of rhetoric.
Ethos, pathos, and logos otherwise known as the three artistic
proofs will be discussed in greater detail later in the manual. This is
just a brief overview of them.
Ethos, the person's uses their credibility to change the minds
of their audience. It is the ethical persuasion. ("Ethos, Logos and
Pathos.") An example of ethos would be a guidance counselor. You
trust a guidance counselor credential to help you make career
choices, or even help pick your classes effectively. They have the
expertise to make unbiased suggestions to you about how to pursue
your future goals.
UCF Style Manual |2
Pathos persuades by catering to your emotions. People can
use pathos to persuade others by invoking emotional responses from
the audience. ("Ethos, Logos and Pathos.") The cheerleaders at
sporting events uses pathos to try to invoke positive emotional
responses from their audience. He or she does this by showing their
positive emotions and shouting at the crowds in the stands to cheer
for their team.
Logos is the use of reason as a method to change the minds of
their audience. The citing of facts, analogies, and statistics are used
by logos speakers to persuade people to their point of view. ("Ethos,
Logos and Pathos.") Lawyers who argue in court use logos and
present facts to a jury so they persuade the outcome of the trial.
They logically use the evidence to build a case and changes points of
view. For example when a person is on trial for stealing a car. The
prosecuting lawyer would use a built up of evidence: video footage
from a security camera, witness’s testimony, and motive to convince
a jury of their case.
In modern time the word rhetoric become associated with
negative speech and writing. Any speech or essay that sounds good
to the ear, but shows too little of the author's true beliefs is now
associated with rhetoric. This type of rhetoric is associated with
political wind-blown statements made on the campaign trail that
promise everything with no real authority to provide anything.
(Richards “Rhetoric”.)
A implicit idea of rhetoric is people will sometime disagree
with one another. At other time strongly held beliefs are disagree
upon. When this disagreement comes to a boil two typical results can
happen. They either attack each other or they start debating. Either
we solve our problems by using weapons or by participating in
rational discourse. (Wheeler “Rhetoric.”) Rhetoric changes
altercations from violence to healthy debate. In a democracy it is up
Rhetoric and Written Communication |3
to every citizen to participate in some form of debate to solve their
problems. A good rhetor will judge her audience and find out what
beliefs are held strongly by their audience, and what belief are held
by themselves.
Rhetoric is an ancient art started by the classical Greek
culture. Ethos the ethical appeal, pathos the emotional appeal, and
logos the logical appeal are a part of rhetoric's make up. In modern
time rhetoric have become associated with negative political
speaking. Yet rhetoric has solved people's problems without
resorting to violence because they can debate it out. Rhetoric is an
art that still is relevant today for modern public speakers.
Introduction to Pathos
In normal conversation, pathos is a feeling of pity or remorse
towards someone. In the theory of rhetoric, pathos is one of the
three modes of persuasion, the other two being logos and ethos.
According to the dictionary, pathos is defined as “The quality in life,
literature, and other forms of expression for evoking pity or
compassion” (dictionary). Pathos is given in tragic characters and
rousing speeches.
Why Use Pathos?
Pathos is important in rhetoric because it allows for a release
in emotions. Without pathos, the reader or listener is left unfulfilled
because there is no catharsis. Many of the best movie scenes have a
great deal of pathos. For example, look at the ending of “Return of
the Jedi,” where Darth Vader throws Emperor Palpatine down the
reactor to his death. When all six movies are watched chronologically,
we see how Palpatine has manipulated his way into becoming the
ruler and how he seduced Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side. Because
UCF Style Manual |4
of Palpatine’s ways, Anakin loses his wife, is horrifically burned and
spends the rest of his life in a cumbersome suit of armor, and never
learns of his children until many decades later. After failing to convert
Anakin’s son Luke to the Dark Side, Palpatine tries to kill him with
electrocution. While his son screams in pain and begs his father to
help him, Vader looks at Palpatine and Luke, and sees how much
Palpatine has ruined his life. To save his son and bring balance to the
Force, Vader decides he must kill Palpatine. As the music swells,
Vader uses his great strength to hurl Palpatine down the reactor
shaft, but the electricity Palpatine has been using short circuits
Vader’s armor and he eventually dies. However, by sacrificing his life
and saving son, he has redeemed himself in the eyes of his son as well
as brought peace to the galaxy. The catharsis of Palpatine’s death and
Vader’s redemption is why the ending to the movie is considered one
of the greatest in movie history and shows why pathos is needed in
rhetoric and writing.
How to Use Pathos
You can use pathos in your writing when, for example, you are
writing a story in which the main character is being picked on by
another character. You make him sympathetic, but try not to go
overboard with the abuse, or the audience will stop reading. So after
the main character has been torn down and built back up again, he
confronts his tormentor and gives a devastating speech wherein he
explains why his bully is a terrible person and ideally the bully comes
around and the two become friends. It does not have to be this way,
but an ending wherein everyone learns a lesson and are happier for
that feels like a better ending than one where everyone dies.
Rhetoric and Written Communication |5
Ethos is a Greek word that means “character” which describes
the ideals or beliefs of a community, culture, nation, or ideology. In
rhetoric, ethos is used to create a sense of character, authority, and
credibility of a speaker. It is what empowers a speaker in the
beginning of a conversation by establishing their ethos and giving
themselves an edge by influencing others to have to listen to what
they say. In a general sense, ethos is the way we present ourselves to
others and there are two different types of ethos: situated and
A situated ethos is using profession or reputation for
establishing trust with an audience. We can commonly see this today
such as in formal presentations or interviews where someone begins
by announcing their credentials before continuing the conversation.
For example, people are more likely to trust and listen to a doctor
who has a proven medical degree and years of practice for health
advice instead of somebody who does not have the same
Then there is invented ethos, which is a form of ethos that is
created within a situation that requires us to establish our credibility
to be able to continue discussing a topic. This can be established
using a proper tone, such as being serious and professional. An
audience will be more likely to believe what we are saying if we are
not joking around with it and are assertive with our speech. An
example we could think of is a politician speaking about a scientific
topic that we do not normally associate politicians with. For the
politician to get us to listen they will have to use other resources to
cite information from, or perhaps can prove that they also have had
experience in a scientific field that may not have been known before.
UCF Style Manual |6
Logos, put simply, can be viewed as the logical part of a
conversation. It is the appeal of logic, which can be simulated, that
also supplements a speaker’s ethos. This is accomplished through the
use of information such as facts, figures, knowledge, or experience. It
is the use of data which portrays a speaker as knowledgeable and
experienced to their audience.
We can see logos in many conversations where information
and data is used to enhance a speaker’s theory or platform. The most
common form we can probably spot out easily would be the use of
statistical information as justification for a point. This can be observed
in politics when politicians use statistical data to provide means for a
law to be passed, by using this information to show what might be an
outcome and how it correlates. Logos can also be used to amplify
pathos by perhaps using data, or altering it in a means to create an
emotional reaction. The following is an example of a excerpt from a
speech from Ben Bernanke:
"However, although private final demand, output, and
employment have indeed been growing for more than a year, the
pace of that growth recently appears somewhat less vigorous than
we expected. Notably, since stabilizing in mid-2009, real household
spending in the United States has grown in the range of 1 to 2
percent at annual rates, a relatively modest pace.”
Intro to Informative Speeches
Informative speeches are speeches that try to explain a topic
or subject to an audience. They can be about anything, from
explaining laws to making chocolate cake. Despite what a person
imagines when he hears the word “speech,” informative speeches are
not necessarily made from podiums to seated listeners. They can be a
Rhetoric and Written Communication |7
man on the street shouting his views to passerby or a video on
YouTube showing how to play the piano. Informative speeches are
similar to informative essays in that they convey information to an
audience. The main difference between them is that speeches are
spoken while essays are written. While a speaker can actively engage
his audience and answer questions, the essay writer does not have
this opportunity and must be as precise as possible for his readers.
How Much Must You Know?
For an informative speech to be effective, the speaker must be
knowledgeable on her topic. This does not mean that the speaker
needs a degree in her topic, just that she knows how to explain the
topic clearly and simply to her audience. For example, a person may
make a video on how to prepare a family recipe, such as a parmesan
chicken recipe her grandmother made. This person may not have a
degree in culinary arts or know how to prepare many meals, but
because she knows how to make this recipe, she is capable of making
an informative speech about preparing this one particular meal.
How Should I Do This?
If a person wants to share a talent or skill he has, he should go
for it. It really is not hard to write an informative speech. The first
thing the speaker needs to do is pick something he is passionate
about, such as fighting cancer or animal rights, and decide how he
wants to present his speech. Be advised that if you decide to discuss
something that may be considered controversial, such as political
theories or anti-war sentiments, you might want to consider making a
video and uploading it to YouTube. Although you are allowed by the
First Amendment to speak in public places such as parks or street
corners, you could be in danger of someone trying to rob you or
UCF Style Manual |8
someone who does not agree with your views might try to bring harm
to you. Therefore, it is a good idea to consider how controversial your
topic is and if you do decide to speak in a public place, you might
want to consider bringing more people with them. For this article, we
will be discussing doing a private video uploaded to YouTube.
Delivering the Speech-Filming
If the speaker wants to make her views known or wants to
explain a topic, but does not want to hit the street for whatever
reason, she can upload a video to the Internet from the comfort of
her own home. With technology going the way it has been for the last
several years, people do not need to use cameras to upload videos to
YouTube and other social media websites. Indeed, many videos are
shot on Smart phones and directly uploaded to the Internet. But just
because a person can throw together a video in ten seconds, does not
mean that she should make a video without any thought put into it.
Here are tips on how to present an informative speech video.
Knowing What to Say
First of all, know what you want to say. Just going in and
saying things off the top of your head will not go over well. People
who go without a script tend to stammer and struggle for words,
which is not very professional. It is also a good idea to do research if
you plan to quote someone or talk about a historical event. Not only
does it sound professional, but it is one less thing for your detractors
to criticize you. If you are making a recipe for chocolate cake or
showing how to do a backflip, you must know how to make the cake
or do a back flip. It would be a good idea to read the recipe or
practice your skill several times before you put it on the Internet for
the world to see. Also, unless you are discussing a serious and
Rhetoric and Written Communication |9
controversial topic, do not be afraid to inject some humor into your
speech. As Charles Gruner stated in his essay “Effect of Humor on
Speaker Ethos and Audience Information Gain,” ‘If the use of humor
in informative speaking does heighten interest and attention, it
should result in better learning’ (Gruner 228). After you feel
comfortable enough in your speech or skill, you are ready to inform
the world.
Making the Video
Since making your speech could take anywhere from five
minutes to several hours, it is a good idea to devote a day to this
when you have no other obligations to make, such as work or school.
Next, decide how much room is needed for your speech or stunt. If
you are making a speech by yourself, simply find a comfortable place
to sit that is well lit. Nobody wants to see you in the shadows. If you
plan on doing a group debate, make sure that there is enough seating
for everyone and that everyone appears in the frame and can be
heard clearly. If you plan on showing a skill like cooking or martial
arts, make sure that you have a clean, well stocked kitchen and a
roomy, padded area, respectively. It is not a bad idea to have a
camera operator. Not only can the operator move the camera to
focus on things you want the audience to see, but in case something
goes wrong, the operator can help with damage control or can call
emergency services if you get injured. If you have a script, be sure to
study it, but be prepared to improvise if the situation calls for it.
Uploading the Video
So now you have completed your informative speech video.
Although there are many video sharing websites, YouTube is by far
the most well-known and safest. Other video sharing websites may
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 10
have viruses that could wreck your computer and many are obscure,
so not many people would see your video. If you have a YouTube
account, all you have to do is upload it. If you do not have an account,
signing up for one is easy, quick and free. Click login, go down to the
“Create an account” button and the website will help you from there.
Follow the instructions to upload a video and you will have made an
informative speech for the world to see.
Persuasive Speeches
When you have a speech that attempts to change the way an
audience see things this is a persuasive speech. Persuasive speeches
are put together in such a way that causes the listeners to change
some of or all of their opinions on the speech's topic to the opinion of
the speaker. There are times when your persuasive speech will not
change every listener's point of view, or times where just one speech
will not change a person's mind.
The telemarketer sales pitch is an example of a persuasive
speech. The telemarketers often read scripted persuasive speeches
and some are trained in persuading people. Whether they are selling
a vacation or a timeshare, they are using persuasive speech. If the
listener purchase a vacation or time share the sale pitch has worked.
Some people might not buy anything yet this does not mean the
persuasive speech is a failure. Some people may respond to purchase
a product after multiple attempts at the same speech, or different
persuasive speeches about the same vacation package or timeshare
Persuasive speeches have logical and emotional components.
The logic side of persuasive speaking present information that
rationally should be true. Lawyers presenting arguments in a criminal
trial cases in court are an example of the logical side of persuasive
speaking. The emotional side of persuasive speaking will attempt to
R h e t o r i c a n d W r i t t e n C o m m u n i c a t i o n | 11
change the listener's feelings in such a way that will make them agree
with the conclusion of the persuasive speaker. A church sermon
where the speaker is stressing the value of charity and all the people
that could be helped is an example of the emotional side of
persuasive speeches. (“Defining a Persuasive Speech.”)
The main purpose of a persuasive speech is for your listeners
to change their minds about a subject to your point of view on that
subject. You can tailor your persuasive speech three different ways.
Each type of speech has goals for different listeners. Different
speeches can be tailored to convince, actuate, and/or stimulate the
listeners. ("Goals of a Persuasive Speech: Convincing, Actuation,
And/or Stimulation.")
A speech tailored to get the listeners to internalize and change
an ideal that they previously held true is called a convincing speech.
Changing the viewpoint of the listeners to the viewpoint of the
speaker is the main goal of a convincing speech. An example of this
would be to give a speech at the student union building stating that
eating at Asian Chow is better than eating a Burger King. The goal is
to change the viewpoints held by listeners, and not for the listeners to
hear how much tastier Asian Chow is.
A speech made to get the listeners to do some kind of action is
an actuation speech. Actuation speeches has only one goal and that
is to get people doing things. This kind of speech is best used when
your listeners have the same point of view as the speaker. During the
UCF student government elections, for example, the candidates will
reach out to all students to vote for them or to just vote at all.
Stimulation speech is used to increase how passionate the
listeners already feel about something. The audience needs to share
the views of the speaker already. The speech is not there to change
the listeners mind about a topic, but to make him or her more
passionate about the speaker's topic. A football team's pep rally is an
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 12
example of where a stimulation speech can be used. The fans already
share the views of the speaker, which is to win football games and
show the team support. Nobody is trying to change their view of the
football team, but enhance the passion of the fans for the team.
Persuasive speech writing has a standard format: an
introduction combined with a good attention grabbing statement,
called a hook, three points of interest, and a summary. The first thing
a student should do before getting started is write an outline. The
outline should be composed of your hook and your main points.
("How to Write a Persuasive Speech.")
First come up with a greeting. It is the ice breaker that you
use before your introduction. A greeting can be a simple statement
like “Hello fellow students.” After that come the hook an opening
sentence to get the audience fixated upon you. For example the hook
could be a question:
● Have you ever been late to a class?
● Did you get a bad grade on your last paper?
● Would you like to be a part of a fraternity or sorority?
The hook could also be a fun fact or a statistic:
● Students that eat breakfast are more successful than students
that don't eat breakfast.
● Freshmen gain an average of 15 pounds during their first year
of college.
A well written introduction is needed. An introduction that
summarize your main points, and explains why the audience should
keep listening to you. Audiences quickly decide in the first few
minutes whether to be interested or be bored of your speech.
Now you are ready to write the main points of your persuasive
speech. Argue each main point with evidence that support your
statements. Also end all of your main points with a transition
statement that connects main points logically. When you have
R h e t o r i c a n d W r i t t e n C o m m u n i c a t i o n | 13
written your main ideas and have good transition statements, you are
ready for the summary.
The summary should retell your main ideas in an abridged
way. Also it should restate the argument of your essay. Be careful
about repeating yourself when writing your summary.
Defining persuasive speech as a type of speech where your
main goal is changing people's mind about a topic. There are
different goals to persuasive speeches. They can be made to
convince, actuate, and/or stimulate the listeners. Writing your
persuasive speech it is best to keep the format of having a greeting, a
hook, three main points, and a summary.
Demonstrative Speeches
A demonstrative speech is much like an informative style of
speech but the main difference is that demonstrative speeches
provide more “how-to” information regarding a subject, whereas an
informative speech only provides information. Through a
demonstrative speech the goal of the speaker is to inform the
audience of how to do something. There is a large variety of topics
that determine what the purpose of a demonstrative speech may be.
Some examples are listed below:
● How to create something
● How to repair something
● How does something works
● How to operate something
A big help in performing a demonstrative speech is to use
physical items to use as props or to demonstrate with. It also helps to
have visual aids to help give the audience an idea of what you are
talking about, whether it is images on a powerpoint or a large display
poster, which will help keep the audience interested on your speech.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 14
However, when using supplemental material in your presentation, it
is important that your visual aids are not just showing what the topic
is, but keeping with the guidelines of telling the audience the “howto” of your subject. Not only will the use of props or images will help
keep the audience focused, it helps enhance the ethos and logos of
the speaker by showing that the speaker has a knowledge of their
subject and is qualified to talk about it. Visual aids can also be used as
a pathos by inciting certain emotional reactions by the audience to
the speaker’s benefit.
Another important part of a demonstrative speech is the
actual physical movements of the speaker themselves. When giving
your demonstrative speech it is important to make sure you have a
nice standing posture and physical gestures such as moving yours
hands, or even your whole body, to help convey your speech.
However it is important to know your audience and to use physical
movements in moderation and only doing what is necessary and not
going over the top with it. By using your own physical motions you
can help demonstrate the “how-to” part of your speech by simulating
any motions that may be necessary for it. This will keep your
audience fixated on you so that not only are they following your
motions, but also listening to you as well.
However, you want to avoid using visual elements that may
actually end up distracting your audience and taking away from the
point of your speech. By using visual aids that have no relevance to
your speech can merely serve as a distraction from the purpose of
your presentation. Depending on the context of your speech, it may
also help to use a mild bit a humor relevant to your subject to help
keep people focused on your presentation. We have to make sure to
not use these in abundance however, as it may take away from what
the audience will remember from your presentation.
R h e t o r i c a n d W r i t t e n C o m m u n i c a t i o n | 15
Investigative Journalism
Investigative journalism is defined as the process of
researching and reporting on a topic that many would consider
controversial. As typically happens with human nature, governments,
corporations, and organizations often attempt to hide what may
adversely affect their constituency, especially if the effect is a product
of a mistake on their part that would make them look bad. A
journalist reporting on these types of occurrences is the heart of
investigative journalism. The process of investigative journalism
requires a deep investigation of a single topic and in fact, a journalist
may spend months or even years researching a topic before reporting
on it. Investigative journalism is similar to regular reporting of a
story, except the people in the story will not always help you, and
when a topic is particularly controversial, the people at the center of
your story may try to stop you from doing your job. For example a
reporter wants to know if a big tobacco company is purposely adding
chemicals to make their cigarettes more addictive than normal. He
would research the history of the company looking for items of
interest. Interview willing former employees to find out what is being
added to the tobacco. Try to convince current employees to leak
information of the company's wrong doings If the evidence adds up
to prove that the big tobacco company is making cigarettes more
addictive, write a report on it and publish it in a newspaper or a T.V.
news show.
Investigative journalists often aim to report on issues with the
idea of facilitating change. These reporters are arguably responsible
for positive changes for society, whether through reforms, reporting
dangers or uncovering truths the public have a right to know about.
Having good research skills, determination, and a sharp sense of
skepticism are all qualities an investigative journalist should strive for.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 16
Moreover, having the fortitude to try to challenge what appears to be
wrong in society and the desire to ask the question “why?” are good
starting qualifications for the aspiring investigative journalist
("Investigative Journalist."). Researching is important because it is
the first step in creating a story. You can search public databases, or
find old news reports. A good investigative journalism story starts
with evidence that comes from research. Determination helps you
keep working on uncovering the truth. Sometime it takes months or
years to find the evidence you need to write a story. Skepticism will
help you to find truth when other people are trying to stop you from
uncovering it.
According to “Chapter 39: Introduction to Investigative
Reporting.”, investigative journalism is an important method used to
share information with a local community about what may impact its
livelihood. People have the right to know what decisions may affect
them and their environment even if the people in charge would like
to withhold information critical to the understanding of impacts on
the community. Unfortunately, people in power in government,
businesses, or other societal bodies can abuse power. Typical abuses
of power occur in the form of corrupt politicians, corporations that
steal money, and people that break laws. Ultimately, an abuser of
power can be anybody that does things that would harm other
people. What adds complexity to the situation is that it is not always
a simple case of someone purposely performing acts that are adverse.
Really, some of these people may simply be incompetent and unable
to do their job properly. Investigative journalists aim to expose such
power abusers while understanding the context of why people abuse
power, how this abuse happens and what solutions are possible.
Finally, investigative journalists often observe people elected into
public office checking on whether or not these officials are keeping
the promises they made during their campaign, having society’s
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interest in mind, or fighting for the issues of their voters. It is up to
the investigative journalist to expose issues that need discussion by
society (“Chapter 39: Introduction to Investigative Reporting.").
"FAIR." provides some interesting tips for investigative
● Before starting an investigation, conduct preliminary research
and pitch the idea to your editor to ensure his support in
exploring the topic.
● Learn about the law so you do not break any in the course of
your investigation and know ways to use the laws to help
● Use documentation to validate your work whenever possible
and learn what kind of documents you may need for this
validation and how to find them.
● Do not start doing interviews until you gather all of the
information that you can to ensure that you are
knowledgeable enough about the topic to know whether or
not your subject is telling the truth.
● Develop intelligent questions and be ready to challenge
evasive answers.
● Check the facts on everything from documents to information
that comes from sources.
● Do not, unless absolutely necessary, like when it is the only
way to acquire more information, do ambush interviews and
undercover investigations rather give the subject of your
investigation an equal and fair chance to respond to your
● Do not hold on to your story when the evidence contradicts it
and be ready to admit that your story idea may be wrong.
● Be in contact with your sources regularly.
● Always check up with your stories at a later date.
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Investigative journalism is a form of journalism that finds,
reports and presents news that other people may try to hide. Using
tools like interviews, research, and informative sources. Its reporters
deeply investigate a single topic of interest to the community and
carefully report on the topic. Arguably, investigative journalists
reporters have influenced discussion that has resulted in positive
changes for society.
Science Journalism
The science journalist attempts to take highly detailed and
jargon filled information reported by scientists and turn it into an
explanation that non-scientists can understand. It is critical that they
do this without losing information that describes the topic while
translating for the layman. The science journalism field typically
involves communicating between scientists, journalists, and the
common people that make up the public.
The ratio of scientists to lay people is very large and the
amount of scientific breakthroughs that should be of interest to
society is great. Experiments being conducted in academic
institutions, industrial laboratories, and other private venues are not
always public knowledge. What these scientists achieve could affect
everyone while the populace is often completely unaware of how this
work might impact them and society as a whole. Therefore, a
considerable need exists for the science reporter to bridge the gap
between scientists and the greater public to communicate these
impacts as well as publicize the overall evolution of science. For
example, helium filled hard drives. Hard drives are what computers
use to store information. By filling them up with helium instead of air
creates less drag and friction for the hard drive. This means the hard
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drive will consume less power and have greater capacity to store
information than traditional air filled hard drives.
Despite what one might expect, a highly detailed knowledge
of science is not necessarily the most important requirement for the
science journalist. Many editors agree that the formula for a good
science writer is 80 percent good journalism skills and 20 percent the
aptitude to learn and communicate science effectively ("How Do I
Become a Science Journalist?").
Getting started down the pathway into science journalism has
no one single road. Many of the current science writers in all parts of
the world are self-taught in their writing ability. However, there are
some specific ways to explore science journalism, such as acquiring a
journalism degree at a recognized college or university. While a
journalism degree does not have to focus specifically on science
journalism to work in the field, there is an increasing amount of
schools offering postgraduate degrees in scientific communication,
which will help hone the skills necessary to be successful.
Another way to help secure a job in the science journalism
field is to have written about science previously in venues that
demonstrate your skill at the task. Prospective employers will be very
interested in seeing your previous works and writings. In turn,
keeping a portfolio of your writings and published works could help
you land your first job. No published work should be excluded, even
if it was in a community newsletter, school newspaper, or similar
lesser publication
According to "Six Tips for Beginning Science Writers” there are
some beginner tips you can follow when writing a science story:
● Break the science down so that people can understand it. The
job of the journalist is to bring the scientist's work to the
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● Make the scientist more human like. Bring to light parts of the
scientist that others can relate to. What does he or she do in
their off time? Maybe they go fishing or collect coins. Why did
they choose to become scientists in the first place?
● Explain how the science you are writing about is of value to
regular people. When interviewing the scientist ask them to
explain what changes their research could do for society as a
● Use metaphors to make the science easier for everybody to
understand. Create strong images, by using metaphors, of
normal life so that people can relate to the science. Be careful
not to use metaphors that are used too much and have lost
their originality.
● Help your readers visualize numbers by comparing them to
everyday things. Like how many football fields are in a mile,
or how many cars a Blue whale weighs. Do not leave the
numbers at face value.
● Explain every scientific term to your readers. Do not assume
your readers will understand them. Explain the jargon
without being too simple. This is a snare that writers
sometime get caught in.
Science journalism is the process of taking the world of scientific
discoveries and explaining it to everyday people in a way that they
can understand. The science journalist must manage to convey the
point of a story without losing key information in the translation
process. A good scientific journalist will do this without being
oversimplifying the topic or being misunderstood.
Intro to Narrative Essays
A narrative essay is an essay that tells a story. Unlike
persuasive and informative essays, which can involve stories in the
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form of anecdotes but otherwise try to get a point across, a narrative
essay is basically an anecdote that encompasses the whole paper.
Narrative essays also differ from short stories in that they are about
factual events instead of fiction. A narrative essay can be about an
event that happened to you, a relative, or even a truncated historical
Why Write a Narrative Essay?
In her report on narrative and personal essays, Hayley Mitchell
Haugen argues that “We need to promote students’ ruminations
about life, rather than explaining it, in a space that allows for
vulnerabilities on their paths to discovery” (Haugen 51). While it can
be helpful to reflect on life through writing, sometimes writing it
down like a story and reading it later can be beneficial. While you may
remember narrative essays as busy work from elementary school, it is
important you know how to write them. A narrative essay can tell a
person a lot about you. For example, scholarship foundations will
have the applicant write essays about how he overcame hardships in
his life to get where he is today. Graduate schools may want essays
requiring a prospective student to give reasons why she is the best
applicant. In a competitive degree program, a well written narrative
can give her the competitive edge. On a more personal level, a
narrative essay can be a journal entry that you write to chart your
progress. Imagine you are going through mood swings and part of
your treatment includes writing in a diary. By writing down your daily
events, you can see how the medicine and other treatment options
improve your mood, and if the medicine does not, you can work with
your doctor to find alternatives.
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Getting Started
For this section, we will focus on writing a narrative essay for
a scholarship application. With college tuition rising dramatically
every year and more students determined to get scholarships, it is
essential to know how to write a winning scholarship essay. While it is
ultimately up to the student how he writes his essay, here are three
tips to use to make the essay stand out.
Think Outside the Box
Scholarship essays ask two questions, the explicit and the
implied. The explicit question is the one you are writing about, such
as an event that shaped you into the person you are today. The
implied is just as important even though it is not asked out loud: Why
do you deserve this scholarship the most? As you will be competing
with several other students, your essay needs to grab the judges’
attention. So think of an event that shaped your life that may not be
written about. Anyone can write how she worried about the big math
test, studied really hard, and came out with a stellar grade. Since it
seems like every topic ever written has been covered, how can you
come up with something that has never been done before? While it
might seem hopeless, there is a way to make your essay stand out.
Since the topic is the same for everyone, try putting a fresh spin on an
old topic. Take the above example where the student is apprehensive
but overcomes her fear through dedication and hard work. You could
write about a time where you were apprehensive about an event but
it worked out well. Say you had a grandparent you never met before.
You could write about how you may have had all these preconceived
notions about your grandparent, like maybe they were senile or that
they would not understand the way you speak. Write about how as
you approached the house, you may have still been worried or maybe
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you started thinking you were being foolish. Then you met the
grandparent and your fears completely melted away. You describe
what happened and end with learning never to have preconceived
notions of others. Now that you know how to write, be sure to write
Write Clearly and Concisely
This one should come as fairly obvious, but year after year,
otherwise well written and original scholarship essays are thrown into
the rejection pile because they were too long, confusing, or somehow
did not stay on point. Or the essays were riddled with grammatical
errors that made sentences confusing. If your essay feels too long, try
to see if there are unnecessary details to remove. Make sure that if
you take a detour in your story, that it is brief and relates to what you
are saying. To make sure no one is confused, try to avoid using large
words unless you can work them into your essay in a way that makes
sense. When it comes to grammar, you can look up proper
punctuation yourself or you could visit UCF’s Writing Lab, located in
the library on the first floor. When your essay is complete, be sure to
send it in prior to the deadline.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Unfortunately, not every scholarship essay you write will be a
winner, especially when you are first starting out. Although it does
not happen often, if your essay is sent back and there are suggestions
on the essay, take them to heart instead of personally. This way you
can see what you did wrong and not make the same mistakes. If the
scholarship judges do not pick your essay, you need to understand it
is okay to feel disappointment. After these feelings subside, see what
you can learn. Maybe your essay was too long; read through it
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carefully and decide if there are details that if taken out would not
impact the essay. If your grammar was less than perfect, read about
proper grammar and practice. If you need help writing an essay or
want to know how to improve your grammar, do not be afraid to visit
UCF’s Writing Lab. In fact, by visiting before you submit your essay,
you could sculpt the essay into the powerhouse that wins the
Descriptive Essay
A descriptive essay is an essay that describes something. A
descriptive essay could describe anything in great detail. Examples of
things that can be described are: objects, places, people, situations,
or experiences. According to Purdue OWL, the descriptive essay
genre allows artistic freedom in painting an image in vivid detail and
affecting deeply the mind of the reader. If the reader is not able to
vividly form an impression of what you are describing try again.
("Descriptive Essays.")
There are some guidelines you can follow when writing
descriptive essays. Please keep these guidelines in mind.
● Brainstorm your topic. Try writing down key words and ideas.
If you are describing pumpkin pie write down key words like
crust, filling, whip cream, hot, cold, spices.
● Use as many senses as you can. Explain how the pie tasted,
looked, felt, smelled, and sounded. Embellish the senses in
your description.
● Describe your emotions on the topic. The taste of the pie
gave me joy. Looking at old rundown old house at the end of
the block made me sad.
● Write vividly with the language you are using. For example,
instead of writing the pie tasted good write the pie tasted
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marvelous, or instead of the house looking old the house
looked run down and dilapidated.
● Make sure you use clear and concise words. Carefully pick out
word for their relevancy to what you are trying to describe.
● Do not be disorganized in your writing. Write an outline for
your paper.
● Do not ramble on incoherently in your descriptions. Try to
present your descriptions logically.
The use of imagery, and metaphors are more important than
the use of hard facts or data. Descriptive essays do not always need
to be factual. For example: the sunset cast amber colored hues
across the horizon. The candy color sky look like I could almost reach
out and touch it, and pull out a hand full of it to eat. The sun set can
be colorful but we all know we cannot eat the sky, but describing the
sun set like this is more vivid and descriptive than writing the sunset
look nice.
The descriptive essay uses creative and artistic ability to
make a vivid picture. There is a large amount of creative freedom in
writing a descriptive essay. Brainstorm your topic. Use carefully
chosen words. Be careful not to use short simple descriptions.
Describe your topic using your senses, and if possible describe using
your emotions as well. Do not ramble on in your descriptions.
Expository Writing
The purpose of expository writing is to inform news, explain
instructions, and describe events. It aims to analyze writing by
presenting relevant information, an idea, and discussion. Some of
the most common type of expository essays are news reports,
textbooks, and instructions manuals.
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News Reports
News articles are one of the most common types of expository
essay. News articles present information in a relevant order to the
target audience. The information is presented in the reverse pyramid
fashion. The reverse pyramid resembles an inverted wedge, and
illustrates when the facts should appear. The most important
information appears at the top or beginning of the article. While
secondary information and less important facts appears later on or at
the very end of the news article. The less important the facts are the
lower point it appears on the reverse pyramid.
Figure 1.1: Inverted Pyramid of Journalism
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Also it is important to address the five W's and H when writing news
articles. Who, what, when, where, why, and how are questions you
need to answer when writing a news article. Who is involved, what
happened, when did the incident take place, where did it happen,
why did it happen, and how did the story came to be? For example:
the UCF football team won a football game. Who, the UCF football
team. What happen, they won a game. When Saturday night. Where,
at the UCF arena. Why, because of better playing skills. How, by
making plays and capitalizing on the other team's mistakes. These
are the questions that need to be answered to write a good news
article; because, it will keep your readers well informed of what
happened in your article.
Text books are another common example of expository
writing. The text book presents information as instruction and
encourage learning. A math textbook provides many examples of
informative diagrams and pictures to aid in understanding the
concepts seen in the texts of the book. While a history text book
presents information in long explanations of facts and dates, but both
math and history textbooks are forms of expository writing. The
math and history textbooks both educate the reader in different
Instruction Manuals
Instruction manuals such as recipes, how to guides, and
assembly instructions are commonplace, and most people have seen
these manuals in one shape or form. Recipes are instructions on how
to cook a particular dish. They are often full of jargon such as
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tablespoons, teaspoons, cups, and pounds. You would already have
to have a knowledge of the jargon used in the recipe order to
properly cook the dish. The jargon that is used for cooking is the
same across all recipes making it easy to follow all of the recipes once
the chef has learned it. How-to manuals are written with the idea
that the reader know nothing about the subject matter. How-to
manuals cover a wide number of topics, such as how to build a
garden shed, how to write poetry, or how to write a computer
program. They ease the reader into the topic by slowly building the
reader's knowledge of the topic such as: explain what jargon terms
are, show examples of how the jargon is used, and educate the
reader enough so they can execute the topic that the manual is
written about. Assembly instructions are often found in constructed
furniture, such as shelves, chairs, and desks. All the materials are
already cut, sized, and measured. Assembly often just require
screwing or nailing the pieces together for the finished product. The
instructions usually have pictures and a step by step guide on how to
assemble the final product.
Intro to Persuasive Essays
A persuasive essay is an essay that attempts to persuade the
reader to agree with the author. Persuasive essays are written by
authors who want to convince others that their viewpoints are
correct and try to bring the readers to understand why they feel this
way and to convince the reader to come to their side. As stated in an
earlier section, essays are written as opposed to speeches, which are
spoken. Reviews, which we will cover later, are a form of persuasive
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Why write a Persuasive Essay?
There are many reasons to write a persuasive essay, and it
does not have to be for school. If you are in a club or organization
that is trying to recruit new members, you could write an argument
that convinces them to join your organization. Or you might read an
opinion piece in the newspaper that conflicts with your views, and
you could write a rebuttal as to why the author might be wrong.
Cynthia King argues that we should view readers as the opposition.
She explains, “By viewing readers as opposing the orator’s goals,
implicit goals are made explicit” (King 70). This means that by seeing
our readers as the ones we wish to convert, we become aware of
what we want to express in our arguments.
Getting Started
For argument’s sake, we will say that you are a Technical
Communications major looking to join an organization that is both fun
and can help you with your career. Your choices are the Future
Technical Communicators (FTC) and Sigma Tau Delta, which is an
English honor society. You want to join FTC and your friends, who are
also Technical Communications majors, want to join Sigma Tau Delta.
As you all are Technical Communications majors, FTC is the more
beneficial club and you want your friends to join with you. So in order
to show not only them but also those who are undecided that FTC is
the better club, you need to write a persuasive essay to convince
them. To write a good persuasive argument, you need to know your
audience, back up your argument, and know how to get the word out.
Know Your Audience
Because the audience you want to reach has a different view
than you, it would be beneficial to try and understand why they feel
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this way. You could visit Sigma Tau Delta, see what their organization
has to offer, and compare them to FTC. Ask questions, listen to what
they say, and try to keep an open mind. While you want to convince
others to join FTC, the leaders at Sigma Tau Delta may bring up good
points you may not have thought of before, such as doing community
service or holding fundraisers.
Back up Your Argument
No matter how well you write your argument, if you cannot
back up your views with reasons to why your side is better, then
people will not take your argument as seriously. Find reasons online,
in the newspaper, at the library on television, and especially from the
organization itself. Examples you could use in FTC’s favor include the
lower dues to pay as well as the chance to find internships and job
opportunities. However, these are just examples for this article.
Always make sure to do proper research for your persuasive essay
and cite your sources. If you do not do this, not only will your
argument be seen as invalid, but it could be dangerous. If you say that
Sigma Tau Delta is a scam or make false accusations about them, such
as they haze new members, you could get in a lot of trouble for it. So
make sure you know what you are saying.
Getting out the Word
In this day and age of digital media, getting your views out has never
been easier. As a UCF student, you can submit your paper to the
“Your Voice” section of or to the Orlando Sentinel. If
your organization has a blog or Facebook page, you can upload it
there, as well. If you have a cause you are passionate about and you
have many different topics to discuss, you could start a blog. While
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the options may not be endless, you certainly have a lot from which
to choose.
A Final Word
While persuasive arguments are a great tool to show others
your views and why your organization is more desirable, not everyone
can be persuaded to your views. Some people may not have time for
your organization, think your views might be too out there, or any
number of reasons. You can try to convince them, but after a while, it
is better to leave them be and focus your efforts on the people who
can be persuaded and those who are already on your side.
An abstract is typically a short paragraph that summarizes the
main point of a much longer text. These texts can be research articles,
reports, periodicals, a speech, or a conference transcript. It takes the
major points and conclusion and presents that information as short as
possible so that the reader can decide whether or not to read the full
text. In this section we will go into further detail about what abstracts
are and how to compose them.
Identifying the proper word length
The most obvious quality of many types of abstracts is that
they are all relatively short. On average, most types of abstracts are a
minimum of two paragraphs or less. With such few words to work
with, it is important to construct a clear and concise abstract to
highlight the longer document. Most research articles and journals
have a word-count between 150 and 200 words. The U.S. standard
for Ph.D dissertations have an abstract word-count limit of 350
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words. Conference abstracts tend to vary in length; these abstracts
may be 500 words or longer. The IEE (Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers) strive to have just 50-word abstracts that are
very brief communications. An abstract word-count may vary
depending on the type of document, but it is safe to stick with the
average of 150 - 200 word length. However, different organization
have different standards so it is best to research into any specific
guidelines they have for writing.
Introduction to the procedure
There are five important steps the writer needs to take when
creating an abstract. Since the word limit on an abstract is relatively
small, it is important to gather the information necessary to clearly
communicate what the document details. Below is a table describing
each of the steps that are used in forming an abstract. Each step will
be described individually with a couple examples of how each step
should work.
Step #
Implied question to answer
Introduction to
background/situation and
describe the research/purpose
What is the topic, what do
we know about it, why is it
Description of the purpose
The purpose of this
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Describe how it was done
What was performed and
Declare the results / findings
What was the result or
what did you find?
The conclusion
What do the results mean?
Who/What does this
Table 1: Steps to forming an abstract.
Step 1: Forming the Introduction
The introduction of the abstract is the most important part
because it tells the reader what the subject of the abstract is about
and why it is important. If the introduction is not properly written and
does not clearly communicate the subject then the reader may
choose to stop. The introduction can be one or two sentences in
length but should not be any longer than two sentences.
Step 2: Presenting the purpose
There are four types of introductions that are useful for an
abstract. Listed below are the four types of introductions and a
couple of examples of each of them. It is best to choose an
introduction type that best relates to the subject of the document.
Some examples feature a second sentence to detail the purpose of
the document, after the first sentence introduces the topic.
(The following are only examples, and not factual statements.)
Type 1: Start with a real-world occurrence or
common/standard practice
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● ex: Literacy levels vary in different countries around the world.
● ex: Food production in first-world countries has become
heavily industrialized. To assess the impact of food quality we
examined four major food companies.
Type 2: Starting with a purpose or objective
● ex: The goal of this research is to determine the effects of
global warming on the natural environment.
● ex: The goal of this experiment is to find a possible correlation
between obesity and people diagnosed with diabetes.
Type 3: Starting with researcher action and goal
● ex: We examine the before and after effects of several
different vaccines in the combat of malaria in several different
African communities.
● ex: We analyze the material endurance of a traditional rocket
booster and a 3D printed one in several firing tests to
determine whether or not the 3D printed method is safe to
Type 4: Start by stating the problem or an uncertainty
● ex: The relationship between violence depicted in movies and
videos and violence performed in the real world remains
● ex: The rises cases of violence and crime in the community
and the correlation to the recent law banning firearms has yet
to be found.
Step 3: Describing the procedure
Immediately following the introduction is one or two
sentences describing the procedure or method used in the report.
This is where you describe what materials were used, what location
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this was performed at, what kinds of people participated or were
questioned, or describing what type of data you are going for. The
sentences in this section are most likely written in a past tense and
passive voice. Below are a couple of examples showing condensed
information describing actions taken.
● ex: We had used 20 isolated lab tests, all concurrently on the
same type of flu virus, within a two-week period to determine
which vaccine would prove the most effective at preventing
the flu this year.
● ex: We visited 10 different oil drilling rigs to examine the
safety conditions and to survey the current crew members on
their daily operations.
Step 4: Presenting the results and data
Right after we describe the procedure/method is when the
resulting data or discovery is presented. Obviously in a longer
document the data will be more plentiful, but for the sake of the
abstract we must use only the most important piece of data that
mostly support the topic and the conclusion. This will require many
important pieces of data to be condensed, while excluding other
information that may not be as supportive as others.There are two
questions to consider when trying to present data:
● How will the data and results be organized? Should we talk
about the results in general and then move on to specific
● How should be present quantitative data such as precise
numbers and percentages? Is it better to provide them as they
are? Or to make approximations from them?
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Examples of presenting data:
● ex: The experiments have shown that classrooms with 20
students or less have an 80% passing rate of all students in the
class, compared to that of larger classrooms. It was also
observed that students tend to be more involved and have
better attitudes when in smaller class-sizes.
● ex: The testing cases with 30 participants has shown that
eating meals with 20% or greater levels of high-fructose corn
syrup increases chances of obesity by 80%. 26 of 30
participants have gained around 67% more weight.
Step 5: The conclusion
Finally we have the conclusion following the resulting data, it is in
this section where the purpose and data is discussed, any implications
are made, or where any recommendations are suggested. The last
line of the conclusion is the very last line the reader will see, so it is
crucial to say something of importance that the reader will associate
with the document. Listed below are some examples of conclusionary
lines in an abstract.
● ex: We conclude from our study that these treatments given
by this method increases patient survival rates.
● ex: The new reactor design will triple the energy output of
nuclear reactors with no increase to radioactive byproducts.
● ex: With these results, we highly recommend the reduction of
classroom sizes to increase student performance.
Introduction to the Glossary
A glossary is a part of a document or book that has definitions
to terms in alphabetical order. The glossary is usually at the end of a
book, after the appendix, but before the index. It is like a dictionary,
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only it focuses on terms used in a work, as opposed to all words in the
English language. When used in the text itself, the term being defined
is in bold text and has a definition on the side or bottom of the page.
While this is handy, since the terms are not in alphabetical order, a
person may not recall which page the term is on. The index is helpful,
but it does not contain the definitions, and the person may not have
time to scan the page to find the word if there are no definitions
listed on the side or bottom of the page. This makes the glossary an
invaluable time saving tool, without having to waste time looking
through a dictionary to find a term and definition.
How to Make a Glossary
Making a glossary is quite easy when you know what you are
doing. If possible, get all the terms you will need and sort them in
alphabetical order. To do so, start with “A” words and look at the
second letter in each word to determine the order in which they go.
For example, if you were writing about political beliefs for a
Government class, you would put anarchist before apolitical in the
glossary. Keep this up until you have completed your glossary. As for
the definitions, instead of trying to copy what someone else wrote,
try to put the term in your own words. Katherine Murray
recommends that you add glossary terms as you complete the
process because, “It will save you many hours and you will be more
consistent with your terminology” (Murray). The hardest part is
getting started. After you start, writing is easy and you will be done
before you know it
Lab Reports
A lab report is very important document in scientific fields that
will be commonly used for biology, chemistry, physics, engineering,
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and many other areas. The lab report is typically a large document
with several sections providing all the necessary information
regarding the research or experiment the report encompasses. In a
university environment, lab reports will be created quite frequently,
especially in science-related majors, so it will be important to know
how to properly structure and form a quality lab report. In this
section we will analyze all the various sections of a lab report and give
guidelines on how to create one.
References and Citations
● Know your citation format. It is important to know what style
to use when citing any sources referenced in the lab report. A
commonly used citation style used in lab reports is the APA
format. However, there are several different formats used by
specific scientific communities so make sure to research which
one to use.
● Use Peer-reviewed sources. When the report requires some
background information and research, it is important to use
credible sources to reference. Published textbooks and
encyclopedias are good sources to use. When searching the
internet, many library databases will have an advanced search
option to search for articles that have been peer-reviewed.
More in-depth information regarding finding sources can be
found in the Research and Documentation section of this style
General Writing Tips
● Try to be concise in writing. In a lab report it is important to
be as informative as possible while also trying to write the
least amount of words necessary. Make sure to avoid using
jargon and redundancy, while being clear and straightforward.
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● Write in third person. Avoid writing in a way that references a
person performing any particular action such as “I” or “We”
○ Avoid: We tested the new chip design under extreme
○ Do this: The new chip design was tested under
extreme heat.
● Write with correct verb tenses. Listed below are some
○ Use past tense for procedures that have already been
■ The purpose of this experiment was to
determine if pigs can fly.
■ A waterproof coating was applied to the
computer chip.
○ Use present tense for things that still do exist. (Such as
the report itself, equipment, theory, and others.)
■ This report is to illustrate the importance of…
■ Test tubes and beakers are used for…
The Lab Report Structure
The structure of the lab report is the most important detail as
it keeps the entire report organized. Occasionally lab reports will be
called an “Eight page lab report” most notably because there are
typically eight sections in the report. However, reports are not
confined to eight pages. In this section we will go through each
section of the report and describe what information belongs in each
section. Refer to Table 1 provided below to get a quick overview of
the structure.
Section Name
Basic Description
Table 2: Lab Report structure
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Title Page
Name of the report, list of authors, date
Brief summary of the report
Describe the background and purpose of
List all the materials that were used
Methods and Procedure
What actions were taken during the
Results and Data
The happened from the experiment,
including numerical data
Discussion / Analysis
What the results mean and their
importance. How the results differ from
original theory.
Short summary of the experiment; result of
Appendices /
Supplemental material; list of references
The Title Page
The title page consists of the name of the report, the authors,
and the date when the experiment/research was conducted. The title
page may also include a graphic that mostly relates to what the
report is about. Although the title page is the simplest part of the
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document, there are many things to take note of; these things are
listed below.
● Try to use a declarative title, rather than a neutral one. For
“‘Influence of aspirin on human megakaryocyte
prostaglandin synthesis.’
John Vane, in his classic paper published in Nature in
1971, put it more expressively:
‘Inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis as a mechanism
of action of aspirin-like drugs.’” (Björn, 50)
● Avoid using abbreviations. Type a word out in entirety rather
than abbreviating it. An example is the word abbreviation
itself, which can be abbreviated as abbrv.
● Avoid using a title that is in the form of a question. Since
many reports will be searched for, a potential reader would
prefer seeing a title that is straighter to the point rather than a
● Begin with keywords from the report. This will make the topic
and purpose of the report immediately clear for those who
glace over the title. Below is an example of how a well worded
title can be effective:
“The effect of calcium antagonist felodipine on blood
pressure, heart rate, working capacity, plasma renin activity,
plasma angiotensin II, urinary catecholamine’s and
aldosterone in patients with essential hypertension.’ When
the keywords are placed at the beginning of the title, it is
immediately clear what disease was studied:
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‘Essential hypertension: The effect of . . .’ ” (Björn, 50)
The Abstract
The abstract of the report is a very brief summary that details
the background information of the report, the purpose of the report,
what actions were taken, what the results were, and what the
conclusion is. As a general tip, it is best to save the abstract as the last
section to be done when creating a report. Once you have all the
other details of the report written, it will be much easier to get an
overview of what the abstract needs to cover. To get more
information and examples in forming an abstract refer to the
Abstracts section in this style manual.
The Introduction
The introduction to the report is where any background
information on the topic is presented, but be careful not to be too
heavy with it. This section is supposed to be short and concise and
typically answers the two following questions.
1. What is the problem?
2. What is the proposed solution?
Here is an example of an introduction that is very clear and concise
about its topic and purpose while being relatively short in length:
“Michael Crichton, the author of Jurassic Park and other bestsellers,
has a background in medicine. He once wrote the following
introduction for a paper published in the New England Journal of
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‘Most medical communications are difficult to read. To
determine why, contributions to three issues of the New
England Journal of Medicine were studied and the prose
analyzed.’ ” (Björn, 61)
The materials section mostly just consists of a formatted list of
all the items that were used in the experiment/research. Graphics
that illustrate more complex setups can also be placed in this section.
Methods and Procedure
In this section is where every step taken is described in written
paragraph(s) and is typically best written out in the order that they
were performed. There should be no results or data present in this
section as that information is explicitly covered in the section
following this one. Below is an example of reversing the order of
“Cell growth was stopped with colchicine after
incubation for 65–70 hours at 37 °C.
After the incubation of cells for 65–70 hours at 37 °C,
their growth was stopped with colchicine.” (Björn, 63)
Results and Data
This section of the report is where all resulting data from the
experiment is presented. It is important to have the data formatted
so it is organized and easy to examine. Listed below are typically the
types of data that is included in this section:
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● Raw Numerical Data: measurements such as weight,
temperature, or distance.
● Calculations: samples of any calculations made.
● Important Results: results that are more elaborated on in
written form.
Discussion and Analysis
This is the most important section of the report because this is
where the results of the experiment are explained and discussed
upon. This is where the results are elaborated on and answer some of
the following questions that may arise, such as the ones listed below:
● How do the actual result compare to what was expected?
● What was the effect of any experimental errors?
● How can our method/procedure be improved for any
following experiments?
● How do the results relate to the purpose of the experiment?
● How do our results compare to that of other experiments that
have been done?
The conclusion is supposed to be a very brief section with just
a few sentences. This is where the results of the experiment and final
definitive conclusions are made. The main question in this section
would be: What have we gained as a result from this experiment?
Appendices and References
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This is an optional sections as it depends on whether or not
the report has cited external sources or has extra information that is
supplemental to the report. If there is extra information that is
supplemental to the report, organize them into separate appendices.
Appendices are labeled using capital letters in alphabetical order.
(Example: Appendix A, Appendix B) The references page(s) list all the
cited works, in alphabetical order by the first letter, in the proper
citation format. (ex. APA format)
Intro to Reviews
A review is a persuasive essay wherein a person either
recommends or criticizes a product or service and gives reasons for
why they did so in written form. While a review can also be done on
television or in an Internet video, this section will focus on the written
form. When a person hears the word review, they almost always
think of the late Roger Ebert, who singlehandedly made reviewing an
art form; the man did win a Pulitzer for his work. That said you do not
need to win Pulitzer to make a convincing argument.
Why Write a Review?
A review is a way to get your point across and inform others
about it. It is also a great way to change things up. For example, if you
go to a restaurant and everything is great, you write a good review
and more people come and the restaurant stays open. However, if
your experience at the restaurant is miserable and you write a bad
review, then the restaurant loses business and they either clean up
their act or go out of business. It’s a way to show people that the
place or product is or is not worth their time or money without having
to experience it themselves. After reading your review they can
decide for themselves.
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Getting Started
In order to review a product or service, you must experience it
yourself. Find a movie you want to see or a restaurant you want to
visit. While watching the movie or eating at the restaurant, notice
what you like and dislike. Are the acting and story great or terrible?
Were the service and food passable or abysmal? Also describe how
the theater or restaurant looks. Is the building in great shape or is it
decrepit? After your experience, remember how you felt and if
possible, take notes for later.
Writing Your Review
If you want, you can jot down ideas on Microsoft Word or on
paper with a pen or pencil. One good point to remember include do
not use profanity, no matter how upset you are. Using profanity
makes your argument look less civilized and using too much of it may
turn off your readers. In addition, give reasons why you did or did not
like what you are reviewing. Not only will your readers understand
you better but it will give more credit to your argument. Finally, give
your honest opinions, but try to be civil about it. Unlike the profanity
example, wishing death upon someone is not only morally wrong but
in certain cases, it can be illegal. So watch what you write.
Posting Your Review
There are many places to post a review, such as the Internet
Movie Database (IMDb). If you buy a movie from Amazon, it would be
a great place to write your review. Try to make sure that there are
peripheral clues in your review. According to Hyunmi Baek,
“Peripheral clues are noncontent cues used in information
processing” (Baek 5). These include your real name, ranking and
rating. These are helpful because they let people know who you are
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and your credibility. Also, if you post on Amazon and your reviews are
recommended enough, you gain reviewer credibility. According to
Baek, “Credibility plays a role in adopting online information,” (Baek
6). This means that the more credible you are, the more people read
your reviews and either recommend or do not recommend a product
or service.
A Final Word
Remember that not everyone has the same opinions as you
do. A movie you consider worthless could be someone else’s guilty
pleasure and vice versa. A restaurant you enjoy might be considered
terrible by another person. If you read a scathing review of something
you love, do not take it personally and if you write a positive review
of something someone else hates, tell them they should not take it
personally and that you respect their opinions. Everyone has different
opinions and reviews are not concrete truth.
Cover Letters and Resumes
The cover letter and resume are one of the most important
parts of anybody’s profession career. These are a way to represent
yourself professionally and will be the first thing that most employers
will look at, even before they actually meet you, so it is best to
present yourself in a written way as professionally as possible but also
personalized in a way that you stand out unique amongst others.
When writing we want to present ourselves as professional and
knowledgeable about the position and company we are applying for.
An employer will want to make sure you know what it is you are
applying for and that you are taking the effort to get the position. In a
way, the cover letter can be considered a first impression chance that
you get as if you were meeting them in person. We want to present
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ourselves professional in writing, as if we were in person. In this
section we will cover both the cover letter and resume individually by
going over what the purpose of each is, what information to use, and
what things to avoid.
Creating the Cover Letter
The cover letter is the first thing an employer will read and is
your one chance to present yourself to the employer in a professional
yet personalized matter. In the cover letter it is important to make
sure you have zero grammatical and spelling errors, as well as having
a professional tone and avoiding using slang. Illustrated below is a
basic format guide on how the cover letter should be structured.
Your contact information
(in the following order)
City, State, Zip Code
Phone Number
Email Address
Employer’s contact information
(in the following order)
City, State, Zip Code
Beginning salutation
“Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name” It is helpful to know the
name of who will be reviewing your resume. Never use
“Mrs.” as you shouldn’t assume someone’s marital
status. Generally if you do not have a name to use,
“Dear Hiring Manager” is typically used.
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Introduction paragraph
In this paragraph is where you introduce
yourself and what position you are
applying for. Say where you found the
position listing, as well as include any
names of a mutual contact that you know
in the company.
Qualifications paragraph
This paragraph is where you briefly
describe your background and
qualifications for the position that you are
applying for. (Remember, your are briefly
describing yourself and not listing
everything, that is what the resume itself
is for.)
Concluding paragraph
Here is where you thank the employer for
considering you for the position you
applied for. This is also where you say
how you can be contacted by the
employer for a follow-up.
At the end you should include a
complimentary close (ex. Respectfully
yours, ) along with a typed or written
Table 3: Cover Letter Structure
Creating the Resume
The resume is a document that lists all your professional
experience, education, and any other supplemental information that
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is used for presenting your qualifications for a position. The resume
should only be two pages maximum and free of any grammatical,
spelling, and formatting errors. You want to list out all information
that will be important, but not elaborate on them that there will be
paragraphs of information. It is important to keep in mind when an
employer views a resume they will most likely be initially glancing
over the topic and if they see too much text they will most likely
ignore it. You want to keep all your listed qualifications short and
concise so that it will be quick to read and easily understandable. We
will go further into details on what type of information should be
included, what should be excluded, and what format to use as a
Content and Structure
The content of a resume will vary as there are many different
professions in the world and they all have individual important
aspects about them. Since there are various types of information
important to every career field we will go over what the more general
sections that can be found in all resumes. We will cover the most
basic content that should be included in your resume and what
hierarchy to list all your information. However, it is also important to
be a little creative with your resume to make it stand out by applying
some visual design techniques to it. To read more information about
visual design and formatting refer to the Visual Elements and
Graphics section of this style manual. Listed below is a traditional
structure of a resume with descriptions of each section:
Heading and Contact
This is where you list your name and necessary contact
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Objective / Summary
A brief paragraph stating what your professional
intention or goals are. What you hope to accomplish.
Education credentials
Here is where you individually list all your educational
experience in chronological order. (With the most
recent being the first) Such as what degrees you have
earned, and what institutions that you have earned
them from.
Work experience
This section is where you list all past companies that
you have worked for. (In chronological order as well
with the most recent being first.)
Related skills
This is a small section where you can list additional
skills that you may possess that may beneficial to an
employer looking at your resume.
Related experience
Any related experience that you may have regarding
your profession, but is not exactly considering a past
Table 4: Resume structure
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Research and Documentation
There are many methods of conducting research both inside
and outside the university. In the academic arena, you may need to
conduct research in order to supplement theses, dissertations, or
reports with scholarly evidence. In the professional arena, you may be
required to conduct research in order to complete a project or give a
presentation. This chapter will teach you how to distinguish between
credible and questionable information on the Internet, how to use
the library for research, how to avoid academic and professional
plagiarism, and will give you guidelines for formatting documentation
in common citation styles, such as MLA and Chicago.
World Wide Web
The Internet is an excellent source of information, but
understanding how to determine credible sources against unreliable
sources can be challenging. UCF faculty, staff, and students can find
all the information they need with the world wide, but you will learn
to differentiate between primary sources and secondary sources and
how to find these sources in the following sections.
Primary Sources
A primary source is information or an object that was put
together during a specific time period. The document’s author(s) have
access to personal accounts of the event and can provide credible
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 54
information. According to the website, primary sources
provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic
under investigation (Yale University, 2008).
Some examples of primary sources include: The United States
Constitution, George Washington’s diary, Plato’s Republic, and a
journal article reporting new technology. You should understand that
primary sources recount an event from the perspective of people that
witnessed the conflict and have first-hand perceptions of the event.
For example, a soldier that fought in the Vietnam War goes to a bar
and tells the people in that bar about the horrors of the war; this
retelling is considered a primary source. The reason is that the soldier
directly witnessed the events of the Vietnam War. These are just a
few examples of a primary source, but you can understand that these
examples are reliable and provide credible information. You need to
understand that having primary sources as part of your paper or
report can promote your research and can provide specific answers
regarding your topic.
Secondary Sources
The secondary source interprets and analyzes primary
sources. Secondary sources do not take place at the time of the event
but can still provide information that can by analyzed such as, quotes
and pictures. Secondary sources can provide much needed
information to assist primary sources and can help provide
information that the primary source might not have. You will have a
better chance of finding secondary sources than primary sources
because secondary sources are more widely available to the public.
Information from secondary sources has been gathered over a period
of time.
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 55
The following are examples of secondary sources: textbooks,
magazine articles, and encyclopedias. You will find that secondary
sources try to explain the conflicts in an event from an analytical
point of view. A teacher explains the effects of the Vietnam War to
his students; a trusted history book helps him do that. You should
understand that secondary sources can provide accurate information
if they are written by authors with credibility. For example, an essay
about the effects of the Vietnam War written by a historian is more
accurate than an essay on the same topic written by a high school
Tertiary Sources
A tertiary source compiles, analyzes, and digests secondary
sources. Tertiary sources provide support to a secondary source that
requires clarification. Examples of tertiary sources are: dictionaries,
manuals, fact books, and chronologies. You should use tertiary
sources to find certain vocabulary words, to support dates of a battle,
or find specific facts about an event in history. For instance, imagine
you have a book about the Vietnam War, and you find that you
cannot understand some complex vocabulary. You use a dictionary to
provide you the definition of the words. You think that the date of a
battle might be wrong; you can use a fact book to affirm the date of
the battle. Tertiary sources just provide extra support to secondary,
and some primary, sources that you think might not be accurate or
are missing certain information.
Finding Reliable Information
You can use the search engine to find your
information, but for reliable sources, you might want to use JSTOR
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 56
and LexisNexis Academics. These are online databases that contain
journals, e-books, and documents that are trustworthy. You want to
find information about the Vietnam War, but you do not know where
to start. You go to the search bar of one of these academic databases,
and you can type the name of an author, book title, or simple
keywords to find information that correlates with your specific topic.
The information in the databases is updated every day, which means
that you will never be without the newest and greatest information
You should be aware that Wikipedia is not a reliable website
to use in a research paper. The reason you should not consider citing
Wikipedia is that the website is not considered a place to find reliable
information. The information provided is not proofread by
professionals, but instead by the online community. Second,
Wikipedia’s information is public; anyone in the online community
can contribute to or edit a source. On the other hand, sources in
databases have to be reviewed by scholars and professionals, making
them more accurate and credible. However, you can use Wikipedia as
a reference or as a starting point for your research. For example, you
want information about the psychological effects of the Vietnam War
on American soldiers, so you go to Wikipedia’s page about this topic.
You scroll down to the entry’s source list and follow the links of each
source to see if you can use them in your research. Wikipedia should
never be cited in your research paper, but you can certainly use it as a
place to start your research.
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Questionable Websites
The Internet has a lot of information and resources, but you
need to understand that not everything on the Internet can be taken
seriously. You go to the search engine, you type
information about the Vietnam War, and Google provides about five
thousand possible matches that have information about the war. You
find a link that catches your eye. You click the link, and you find a
website that has a lot of images, videos, and text about the war. You
find the images and videos on the website interesting, so you might
consider the website a possible secondary source. You start reading
the information on the website and as soon as you start reading the
information, a red flag image pops in your head. The reason is that
the information has a lot of grammatical errors, misspelling, uncited
information, and quotes that you cannot find anywhere else. The
website looks good with lots of images and videos, but you find that a
teenager with basic computer skills could have written information on
the website, and you decide to close the webpage. If you cannot find
the author, publication date, or where the author found his sources,
you should not use the site in your research. You should never go by
the appearance of a website, but check who wrote the information,
the organization that supports the information, and the date the
information was published.
Understanding Information
Now you have found many primary, secondary, and tertiary
sources. You need to understand that each source is important to
writing your paper, but understand that different sources have
different value. Primary sources are the best, but are hard to find on
the Internet. The best sources you will find on the Internet, your local
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 58
library, or any database will be predominantly secondary sources that
describe and analyze events that were a primary source. Tertiary
sources help provide that extra support to your secondary sources. In
addition, remember that you have to be cautious when using specific
sources for your paper because that information might not be
Using the Library for Research
There are various ways to find information on a specific topic,
but the university library is a good place to start. Every student,
faculty, and staff member has access to the thousands of books,
journals, references, and illustrations contained in the university
library. Even better, modern technology has made accessing the
library’s resources much easier than in the past through the
introduction of online databases. Many times, you won’t even have to
step foot in the library to find strong support for your writing. In fact,
studies have shown that “about three quarters of undergraduate
students conduct their research over the Internet as opposed to
being physically in the library” (Mbabu, Bertram, and Varnum 189).
Using library databases is a relatively faster and easier way to
conduct research; it allows you to search through multiple resources
at the same time. However, it is important to remember that not all
of the books in the library can be found online, so it is still a good idea
to know how to locate a book on the shelves. In the following
sections, you will learn how to use UCF’s library website to both check
out a book and access online databases to find information on
specific topics.
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Finding a Book in the Library
Oftentimes, you will want or be required to use print books
for your research before you delve into any additional information
found online. For this reason, we will first focus on learning how to
perform a basic catalog search for printed books on a specific topic.
You can find where a book is located in the library from your personal
computer so that your search is more efficient once you get there.
You can also check if a book is available before you make the trip to
the library, sparing you the unnecessary headache of searching for a
book that has already been checked out.
Searching the Online Catalog
Traditionally, libraries use a card catalog, or a case of drawers
containing cards, in order to keep track of the different materials it
owns and where each item is located within the library. Patrons of
the library can consult the card catalog to find specific materials. At
the UCF library, the card catalog is also available in an online format.
To access this online version, you will need to go to
This is the library’s homepage. To the right of the homepage, you will
see a tab that reads “Books/Catalogs.” This tab will narrow your
search so that it only generates results for printed books.
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Figure 2.1 UCF Libraries Home Page
This next page is where you will enter the topic you want to
search for. In this example, Jane wants to find books containing
information about substance abuse and its effects on the human
brain for a paper she is writing in her psychology class. She enters the
keywords “substance abuse effects on the brain” into the search bar.
Figure 2.2 Search Bar Example
To maximize the amount of generated results, Jane leaves the
dropdown box next to the search bar set to “Anywhere.” Notice that
Jane can search for books by title, author, or ISBN using the
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 61
dropdown box as well. When she clicks Search, Jane receives a list of
books located in UCF libraries related to the topic of substance abuse.
Notice that the search does not produce results for other libraries or
the open Internet, only from UCF libraries.
Jane looks through the search results and finds a book entitled
Substance Abuse and Emotion that she feels might be helpful for her
paper. She clicks on the book’s title to see more information about it.
Figure 2.3 Search Results
Here, she reads the comments about its contents so that she has a
better understanding of whether the book is useful for her paper or
not. Jane decides that she wants to use the book and can see that it
has not been checked out yet, so she looks for its location
information toward the bottom of the page.
Figure 2.4 Library Location
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Each book has a specific identification number, or a call number, that
is used to locate its “home” in the library, much like we use street
addresses to specify the location of our homes in the city we live in.
The call number is comprised of both letters and numbers derived
primarily from the Library of Congress Classification System.
Jane finds that her book can be located on the fourth floor of
UCF’s main library at the call number RC564.S8265 2010. To find the
book on the library’s shelves, she goes to the fourth floor and looks
for the row of books identified by the first two letters of the call
number, in this case “RC.” Then, she can locate the book by the rest
of the digits in the call number. If you are having trouble locating the
book using only the call number, take another look at the book’s
location information and click the “Locate” link; it will show you a
map of the book’s general location within the library, and also shows
you how the shelves are labeled by letters.
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Figure 2.5 Map Example
Once you have gathered research from physically visiting the
library, you may want to supplement those materials with additional
information from other resources, such as those than can be found in
the UCF libraries’ databases.
Using an Online Library Database
It is no news that the Internet has made finding and sharing
information much faster and easier than it has been in the past—you
can use Google to find a video of the president’s inaugural address
and share it with your friends on Facebook with just a few clicks of
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 64
the mouse. In the academic world, online databases are used to keep
up with growing Internet trends and to encourage students to
conduct more research by making the process less daunting. Using an
online database is similar to performing a search in Google, but there
certainly are differences. The biggest difference between the Internet
and a database is that a database will provide you with much more
accurate, updated information than the Internet will. Research
conducted through a database is generally more accepted by
professors and employers because it provides information about the
author and documentation of its sources; ultimately, the information
is more credible. This chart outlines the basic differences between
library databases and websites found on the internet.
Figure 2.6 Database Chart
A library database contains a collection of published works in
a digital format including but not limited to:
 peer-reviewed articles: articles which the author(s)
sends to experts in the field for revisions and critique
of its content and quality; if the article passes the
review, it is published in an academic journal with
other peer-reviewed articles.
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academic journals: a collection of peer-reviewed
articles in a particular subject; for example, scientific
journals or literary journals.
 magazine and newspaper articles
 encyclopedias and other references
 works of literature and literature critiques: you can
find an author’s original works as well as any
scholarship that analyzes or critiques it.
The UCF library has many different databases organized by
subjects such as Art, Environmental Engineering, and Chemistry.
However, locating specific information through the library databases
has never been easier thanks to the OneSearch discovery tool found
on the library’s homepage. This tool allows you to search all of the
libraries’ databases at once, so that you don’t have to go through one
specific database to find the information you are looking for. In order
to access OneSearch or any of the library’s digital archives, you must
first log in to the UCF library’s website.
Logging In
Go to and click “Log in now” in the right tophand corner of the page.
Figure 2.7 Log In Menu
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 66
You will then have the option to log in using your library ID
number or your PID. Once you have logged in, you will be redirected
to the “Databases for Articles and Other Information” page. Here you
can see how the databases are organized by subjects and even by
colleges within the university.
Figure 2.8 Database Subject Search
From here, you can either use the OneSearch tool to search all the
databases at once or you can choose a particular database and
perform a search within it.
Using OneSearch
OneSearch is an excellent tool because it allows you to search
through all of the libraries’ databases at one time. It makes research
completely virtual and easy to use, even sparing you a trip to the
library in some cases. To perform a general search using OneSearch,
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 67
click the OneSearch link located on the left-hand side of the
databases page.
Figure 2.9 OneSearch
You can then type your topic into the search bar.
In this example, John wants to research the effects of global
warming for a presentation he is giving in an environmental science
course. He types the keywords “effects of global warming” into the
search engine which produces multiple pages of results. To the left of
each result, John can see in what format the information is
presented. We can see that John’s search has provided him with
sources in different formats, such as a video recording, an academic
journal, and an ebook.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 68
Figure 2.10 Search Results
John can refine his results by checking the boxes on the lefthand side of the page. For example, if he wants to find articles
provided in full text online, John can check the appropriate box. He
can also refine his search by publication date or type of source.
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 69
Figure 2.11 Refining Results
Improving Search Accuracy
To make searches more specific, you can use the “Advanced
Search” option located under the OneSearch bar. Here, you can add
limitations to your results before you conduct a search. You can also
use Boolean searches, which combine keywords and operators like
AND or NOT, to produce more relative information. For example, if
you want to find information about how women’s rights is
represented in the poetry of the Victorian era, you can perform a
Boolean search for “Victorian age poetry AND women’s rights.” The
search would look like this:
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 70
Figure 2.12 Search Accuracy
If you search for “Victorian age poetry” or “women’s rights” on its
own, you may spend a lot of time reading through articles that do not
provide information that is specific enough for your research needs.
Using Specific Databases
You have now learned how to search all of the UCF library
databases at the same time for a topic of interest. However, you can
also search databases by subject. Go back to the “Databases for
Articles and Other Information” page and choose a subject. For
example, if you’re an English student trying to find discussion about
Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, you may choose the “English” subject
under the “Arts and Humanities” category. From there, you can select
a specific database you want to explore, such as Literature Criticism
Online, which provides critical discussions of authors and their work.
Each database has its own search tool. In most databases, you can
limit your searches or use Boolean phrases like you would using
MLA Style
If you are pursuing a degree or career that requires a
substantial amount of writing, research, and documentation, you may
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 71
be asked to use MLA style. MLA stands for the Modern Language
Association, which provides guidelines widely used in the humanities,
especially in writing on language and literature. You will notice that
much of the work found in literary journals, magazines, and many
university and commercial presses is written or documented using
the MLA style. This style tends to be simpler and more concise than
some of the other styles discussed in this chapter, requiring brief intext parenthetical citations that refer to an alphabetical list of works
cited included at the end of your work (“What is MLA?”). The
conciseness of this style makes it easy for a reader to identify
supplemental information in your writing and allows him to reference
your sources for further reading if he is interested in your topic.
The Modern Language Association publishes two manuals for
using its style: The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and
The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. Both of
these handbooks provide detailed explanations for formatting and
citation guidelines; it is a good idea to keep a copy of either one of
these handy if you will need to use this style frequently. In the
following sections, we provide you with an overview of MLA style that
will help you to become more familiar with it. You will learn how to
format a research paper and cite information from four common
sources—books, articles in online scholarly journals, websites, and
online images.
Basic Formatting for Research Papers
There are some general guidelines for preparing a research
paper in MLA style. Your work must be typed on white, 8.5 x 11-inch
paper using a legible font, such as Times New Roman or Calibri (See
more about what makes a font legible in Chapter 5). Use italics for the
titles of longer works, such as novels, and only when absolutely
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 72
necessary to provide emphasis on a particular word or phrase. The
font size should be 12 pt and your margins should be 1 inch on all
sides. Your work should be double-spaced. When you start a new
paragraph, indent the first line one half-inch from the left margin;
instead of tapping the space bar five times, MLA recommends that
you use the Tab key to indent to ensure that all indents are consistent
throughout your paper. You should create a header that numbers all
pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner. Your last name
should be at the top of each page, one space to the left of each page
number. Lastly, if you have any endnotes, create a separate page
called “Notes” and include it before your last page, or the “Works
Cited” page.
A title page is usually not required in MLA style, but check
with your professor or employer. Otherwise, the first page of your
paper should include a double-spaced header in the upper left-hand
corner that lists your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and
the date. Your work should also have an original title. Center your
title and be sure to double space between it and the first line of text.
Below is an example of what the first page of your research paper
should look like.
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 73
Figure 2.13 Proper Formatting
Works Cited and Parenthetical Citations
As mentioned above, your research paper will include both a
“Works Cited” page and in-text parenthetical citations. The entries
you include in your Works Cited should be listed alphabetically by
author(s) last name or by title if the author(s) is unknown. Here is an
example of how entries in your works cited page should look:
Ogata, Katsuhiko. Modern Control Engineering. Boston:
Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.
Stallings, William. Computer Organization and Architecture:
Designing for Performance.
Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.
Notice how the second entry takes up more than one line. If this is
the case, make sure to indent each line after the first line of the entry
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 74
so that a reader can easily distinguish where one source ends and the
other begins.
When you quote or paraphrase information from one of the
sources in your Works Cited within your text, you will need to include
a parenthetical citation. For example, if you wanted to quote from
the first entry in the example given above, the parenthetical citation
would look like this:
“At preliminary design stages, we may not need the precise
locations of the closed-loop poles. Often their approximate locations
are all is needed to make an estimate of system performance” (Ogata
Notice how a typical parenthetical citation includes a page
number where the information was found. Sometimes, usually in the
case of web pages, you will not find a page number so you do not
need to include one. If you have listed a source by title and not by
author is your Works Cited, use the first three words of the title in a
parenthetical citation, like this: (“Title Without Author” 56). Just make
sure that your parenthetical citation matches the corresponding entry
in your Works Cited. This will ensure that your reader can easily
confirm where you have found your information. For more
information on what kinds of information to include in your Works
Cited and parenthetical citations, review our section on plagiarism.
Common Sources
Citing Books
There are various types of sources that you will incorporate in
your writing and that you will need to both list in your Works Cited
and provide parenthetical citations for. One of the most common
sources is printed books. To cite an entire book in MLA format, you
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 75
will need to make note of some information: the author(s) name,
book title, publication date, publisher, place of publication, and
medium. The medium for all hard copy books is Print. An entry for a
book in your Works Cited page should look like this:
Ciccarelli, Saundra K., and J. Noland White. Psychology. Upper
Saddle River: Pearson
Education, 2009. Print.
If the book has more than one author, as in the example
above, list the first author by last name, first name and any additional
authors by first name, last name. A parenthetical citation for this
particular source would look like this: (Ciccarelli and White 102).
Citing Articles from Online Scholarly Journals
Online scholarly journals can exist either only online or in both
online and print formats. Either way, Works Cited entries for articles
from an online scholarly journal require the following information:
author(s) name(s), name of the article in quotation marks, title of the
publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, the year of
publication, medium, page range, and date of access. Note that if an
online journal only exists online and not in print format, there will be
no page range and you should use the abbreviation “n. pag. “ to
denote that there is no page range, like in the following example:
Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current
Conditions and Future
Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International
Online-Only Journal 6.2
(2008): n. pag. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 76
Citing Entire Websites
Sometimes, you will use specific pages from a website in your
research. However, in many cases, you can cite an entire website if
you have used a substantial amount of information from it. To cite an
entire website, you will need: editor, compiler, or author(s) name(s) if
available, name of the site, version number, name of the
organization/institution affiliated with the site, date information was
published (if available), medium, and access date. If no publisher
information is given, use “n.p.” and “n.d.” if no publishing date is
given. An entry for a website in your Works Cited will look like this:
The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at
Purdue and Purdue U,
2008. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.
*Note: including the date of the day you accessed a website is
important because web pages are updated often. Information that is
available on one day may not be available the next.*
Citing Online Images
Sometimes, you may use an image to explain or illustrate a
concept in your writing. Images come in many different forms, such
as in print, as a painting, or online. However, one of the most
common types of images used in research and documentation today
is the online image. You can create an image yourself or find one on
the Internet fairly easily. If you have not created the image yourself,
you will need to provide a proper MLA citation for it. To do this, you
will need to note: the author(s) or creator(s) if available, title of the
image in italics (if there is no title, create a brief descriptive title), type
of image (i.e. chart, diagram, illustration), date of the image (use
“n.d.” if not available), title of where image is located or title of the
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 77
web page or article it was found in, website/database name of where
image is located in italics, medium (for images found online, Web will
be the medium), and date of access.
This image should be cited as follows:
Galante, Nick. Pathfinder-Plus Flight in Hawaii. June 2002.
NASA Dryden Flight Research
Center. Photo Collection. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.
Figure 2.14 Image with Cited Source
Images should include captions, like in the example above, which give
it a name within the text, such as “Figure 1,” with a brief description
of what is illustrated. For parenthetical citations of an image, use
something like: (see Figure 1).
Apa Style Citation
The American Psychological Association, also known as, APA is
used to cite sources within the social sciences. This style of
formatting your essay will consist of four major sections. The title
page, abstract, body, and reference page. In the following sections
you will learn the ins and outs of this fantastic citation practice.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 78
General Guidelines
Using 1 inch margins on all sides of your 8.5 inch x 11 inch
paper, you will begin to write your essay in APA style formatting. This
citation style recommends that you use double space between
sentences and paragraphs, and a font style of Times New Roman that
is of size 12. Once this has been set you will insert a header on the
top of the page. This header will consist of a shortened version of the
title of the paper (not exceeding 50 characters) that will be aligned to
the left of the page. This 50 character limit will include the counting
of spaces and punctuation. After this has been set you will finish off
the header with a page number that will be aligned to the right. The
only time you will differ from this style is on the title page. In this
section you will add running head to the title of the paper.
Running head: UCF Style Guide
Title Page
The title page is similar to the cover page of Chicago style
formatting, without all of the spacing in the middle of the page. You
will start your title page by first adding a header that was discussed in
the General Guidelines section. After which in the center of the
upper half of the page you will have the title of your essay.
Underneath this you will include the authors name, this will consist of
their first name, middle initial, and last name. The title page will then
be concluded with the location where the author conducted their
work. Below is an example of one such title page.
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 79
Figure 2.15 Title Page Example
The title page is meant to draw the reader in and let them know what
this paper is about. Your title is first on this page because it should be
the most important aspect, this is the basis of your entire paper. The
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 80
name is for recognition purposes, while the location that you
conducted your work so that the reader might look up the place and
have more trust if this place is credible or well known.
After the title page you will need to start your abstract page.
This will be a new page and like the title page will have the same
header without the “Running head:”. You will then center the word
“Abstract” on the top of the page. This title will have no formatting
and will be the same font style and size as the body text. According
to the Purdue Owl the abstract will consist of “your research topic,
research questions, participants, methods, results, data analysis, and
conclusion”. The styling of this page should be short, one paragraph,
double spaced and not to exceed one hundred and fifty to two
hundred and fifty words. The reason for this portion of APA styling is
to highlight the most important points of the essay. It will allow the
reader to have the best possible description of the paper before
Parenthetical Citation (In Text Citation)
These citations will be used at the end of quotes used from
sources. These are used to show the reader that the information
came from a separate source. They show the reader that you have
done you’re research and really looked into the subject. You do not
need a citation at the end of every sentence and should not be using
quotes that often because it will then show the reader you could not
come up with your own material. Using just a few sources and
quoting, word for word or summarization of their wording, can better
instill a sense of trust with your reader. In the APA format you will use
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 81
this instead of footers and endnotes as seen in the Chicago style
“You will always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and
initials” (Purdue Owl).
Purdue Owl states that “you will always capitalize proper nouns,
including author names and initials: D. Jones”.
The above examples shows the two main ways to cite your
sources in text. The first shows the citation attached to the end of
the sentence. For this type you will be expected to use capitalization
for proper nouns, author names, and initials. The second citation type
shows the citation introducing the quote. When stating where you
are getting the information in the beginning of the sentence you do
not have to apply the citation to the end of the sentence.
Tables and Figures
In this section a very powerful tool will be discussed, tables
and figures. These can be used to increase your readers
understanding of the essay. However, they do not always have to be
used so make sure to realize when they are helpful or just getting in
the way. When using a table be sure that to number the table
accordingly. This means following in sequential order is essential, if
the table is the first in your essay be sure it labeled as “Table 1”.
Following this will make the next table “Table 2”. When using figures,
you will use the same naming convention but instead of table you will
use “Figure 1”.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 82
Figure 2.16 Money Raised Chart
As you can see the above shows how one can correctly strengthen
their description of an item using only a pic and a short description.
This will help the reader better grasp your description of the item,
because not everything can easily be explain in words.
At the end of your essay you will not have a page titled
bibliography. Instead you will have a reference page. Like a
bibliography you will need to cite all sources so that the reader can
find all the information you used to write your essay. Also, it is
necessary if you plan to quote or use any source to help in the
production of your essay. Using this will allow you to not be charged
with plagiarism and give the credit for hat portion where it is due.
However, unlike a bibliography all sources listed here will need to be
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 83
cited within the essay. On this page you will center the word
“References” on the top of the page. You will not do any special
formatting to this title, it will have the same style and size as the body
of the essay. Once on this page, you will have double spaces just like
the rest of the essay.
Books with one author
Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter
also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.
Rowling, J.K. (2001) Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.
New York: A.A. Levine Books
Books with two authors
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of
work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.
Online Periodical
Author, A.A. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of
Online Periodical, volume number (issue number if available).
Retrieved from
Chicago Style Citation
Are you writing a thesis, research paper or dissertation as part
of the curriculum for a literature, history or arts degree? Chicago
Style is a widely used format guideline in these fields. Using this
might be easy for upper level students or faculty, but for someone
just starting their degree they might not know where to begin. You
might have all of your sources set aside, but cannot figure out how to
format the bibliography or how to create a footnote. Are there
guidelines to follow and if so what do these guidelines say? In the
following sections, these points will be explained in detail so that you
can conquer a paper and produce a quality document.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 84
General Guidelines
Writing a paper can be a daunting task and if asked to use
Chicago Style formatting you can start to question just how this can
be done. When starting your paper, it is best to properly set the
margin size. This will include all sides of the paper; margins will need
to be at least 1 inch, but can be set as large as 1 1/2 inches. Now you
can start to plan the document’s font size and type. The type needs
to be readable, below are such examples.
Readable Font Types
 Garamond
 Times New Roman
 Palatino Linotype
These are considered readable since they have low weight on the font
and are not in the readers face. The font allows for the reader to tell
where they are in the sentence by countering the white space
between letters. Once the type has been chosen you will need to
determine the correct size of the font. This can fall between 10 and
12 point font. This will make it so that the style is not too small and
not too large. For names and numbers you will need to use the full
names of people and agencies. After you have gone through and
made sure that you have done this for the first mention of these
people by their last names and agencies by their acronym. On the
same note you will have to write out any number that comes before
100. After this has been completed you can now determine how the
remainder of the document will look. This will consist of bringing
together your cover, body, appendix, notes, and bibliography in this
exact order. However, the body isn’t specifically addressed in this
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 85
style manual since it follows the rules discussed in the general
guidelines section.
Cover Page
This is a very important part of the document when it comes
to drawing the attention of the reader, letting others know who
wrote the paper and giving you chance for your title to draw in the
reader. There are many steps that you can take to make sure that
your document stands out from the crowed as well as follow the
strategies set out by Chicago Style. This means that as the writer you
will need to center your papers title in the middle of this page. Your
name will be centered several lines below the title of the document.
Directly below this will be your class’s title and teachers name, on the
next line you will have the date in which the assignment/document is
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 86
Figure 2.17 Style Guide Example
Tables and Figures
When you are finished with the bulk of the essay it will be
time to go through and add in any pictures, tables, or figures to the
document to help with reader understanding. When placing these
into your document make sure that they come after the paragraph in
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 87
which they were described. Make sure that, in the text, you let the
reader know what they should be looking for. To label this use a
number (which corresponds to the order that they fall in) and a small
description that tells the reader what exactly they are looking at. For
an example of how this will look in the paper please see figure 1.
Citing pictures, tables, or figures will be covered later in this section.
Figure 2.18 Jellyfish
Footnotes and Endnotes
Chicago does not use the typical parenthetical, or in text,
citations. When using footnotes you will begin with a number 1
above the ending sentence of the cited material. Make sure that all
footnote notations are placed after all punctuation. The citation itself
will go on the bottom of the page in which you have cited your
source. A half inch space from the left margin will be added to the
first line of the start of each footnote. The following will show how a
footnote should be shown in text as well as the on the bottom of the
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 88
Note numbers should be placed at the end of the clause or
sentence. 1
1 Jessica Clements, Elizabeth Angeli, Karen Schiller, S. C.
Gooch, Laurie Pinkert, and Allen Brizee. “General Format,” The
Purdue OWL, October 12, 2011,
Endnotes are the alternative to footnotes. This will make it so
that all of your sources are located on one page instead of the bottom
of each page. Each source will still need to be numbered in the order
that it appeared in the document. This is what separated this from
the bibliography. This style does not replace the bibliography. One of
the largest differences between these two is the endnotes only
includes sources that were actually cited throughout the document
where the bibliography includes all sources used. Another obvious
difference is on the top of the page you will put the word “Note”.
Inside of this you will have to single space the entries same as the
footnote example. For each entry that comes after you will need to
have a double space so that each entry is distinguishable. Each note
will have to be indented as shown above.
This will be the final step to conquering the documentbringing all of your sources together. There are many mediums that
you can use in order to complete your assignment/document. This
can include single and multiple author books, web pages, journals,
scholarly articles, and newspapers just to name a few. On the next
page will be the most common source examples as to give you an
idea on how the typical citations should look in a bibliography.
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 89
Books with Single and Multiple Authors, Journal, Article
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York :
Scholastic, 2001
Lastname, Firstname. Title of book. Place of publication:
Publisher, Year of publication.
Aksoy, Pelin and Laura Denardis. Information Technology In
Theory. Canada : Thomson, 2008
Last name, First name and First name Last name. Title of book.
Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.
Web Page
Haley, Allan. “It’s About Legibility”. November 11,
Last name, First name. “Title of Web Page.” Publishing
Organization or Name of Website. Publication date and/or
access date. URL.
Cathy Butterworth, “How to achieve a person-centred writing
style in care plans,” Nursing Older People, 8 (2012): 21-26.
First name Last name, “Article Title,” Journal Title, Issue
number (Year of journal): Page number.
Kevin Spear, “Orlando Sentinel,” Natural-gas lines in Orlando
replaced in stealthy way (Orlando, Florida), November 10,
First Name Last name, “Name of Newspaper,” Headline (City,
State), Month Day, Year.
Now you need to make the bibliography look as nice as possible by
following each step in this citation format. You will have to start with
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 90
a header. This will use the word “Bibliography” centered on the top
of the page. The format of the title should be 12 point font and
follow the same font style that you have used throughout this
document for the headers. The bulk of this page will consist of your
sources. This is where a big difference that was mentioned in the
footnote and endnote section was mentioned. All sources that were
found and used to help you write your paper/document will be cited.
This means that even if you did not quote the source you will still
have to include it here. These will also be indented from the left of
the page and will have a double space between each individual entry.
The sources will be put in alphabetical order by author, if no author
can be found then you will use the title instead of the author.
What is the American Sociological Association (ASA)
You want to write a research paper on how terrorism has
changed American society from tolerant to fearful after the events of
September 11, 2001. You understand that you have to use the
American Sociological Association Style, but you are not sure where
to begin. The American Sociological Association, abbreviated as
“ASA,” is a non-profit organization that regulates and promotes its
particular style of documentation. This style was created for the
purpose of regulating and formatting sociology papers, and you may
be required to use it to write a sociological paper in either your
academic or professional career.
Guidelines of the ASA Style
ASA style calls for certain guidelines for documenting
research. You will find many resources that will support your research
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 91
paper, and you will need to know how to document those resources.
For example, you go to your local library and find a book entitled
Terrorism and America: A Commonsense Strategy for a Democratic
Society Studies in International Security. You read the book and
decide that you want to use it for your research paper, but you need
to format it using the ASA style. For you to use this book in your
research paper, you need some specific information about it: author’s
name, year of publication, title of the book, and place of publication.
A citation for this particular book will look like this:
Heymann, Philip B. 2000. Terrorism and America: A
Commonsense Strategy for a Democratic Society Studies in
International Security.Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Any additional resources you use will be listed alphabetically by the
author’s last name.
Newspapers and Magazines
You may also find information in newspapers and magazines
that support your topic. If you like to go online to get your news, you
might find an article in Los Angeles Times that discusses terrorism and
its relationship to American justice. You might also find an article in
The American that explains the characteristics of a terrorist. You find
both articles interesting and want to refer to the newspaper and the
magazine articles for your research paper.
For newspapers and magazine articles, ASA requires that you
gather the following information from each source: author’s name,
year of publication, title of article in quotation marks, name of
newspaper or magazine in italics, date of publication, and page
number(s) of the article within the publication. A citation from the
Los Angeles Times might look like this:
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“Terrorism an American Justice.” Los Angeles Times,
October 8. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
Notice that because the article has not provided any information
about its author, you use its title to list it instead. Also, when an
article does not give any page numbers, like in the example above,
you do not need to provide page numbers.
An article from The American might look like this:
Krueger, Alan. “What Makes a Terrorist?” The
American, November 2007. Retrieve October 21,
Here, the author is provided, but page numbers are not.
Images and the American Sociological Association Style
You might want to add a picture or image in your paper in
order to emphasize how terrorism affected American society. You
found an image in ANU News about propaganda that says, “I WANT
YOU TO SUPPORT THE WAR ON TERROR” and you believe that this is
a good image to supplement your research paper. You just need to
know how to cite the image in the ASA style. If the image is
electronic, it must be black and white. The image needs to be labeled
and captioned, and the name of the website and the year that it was
last updated must be provided (if you cannot find the date just type
“no date”). You will also need to list the image’s format, the website
URL, and the date it was retrieved. A citation for the image in the
example will look like this:
Photograph of Son of the South.”
Image(JPEG).Retrieved October 20,
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Remember that all images are considered copyrighted, so ask
permission by communicating with the author or check the website
for information about if you are allowed to use the image freely. To
avoid any penalties and violation of copyright laws, you need to do
research about images and how you can use them.
Avoid Footnotes and Endnotes
The American Sociological Association Style does not like to
use footnotes and endnotes. You can use them if you need to, but
this style recommends that you avoid using footnotes and endnotes
in order to write a better research paper. You only need to use
footnotes and endnotes to cite materials of limited information or to
add extra information to a table.
In-Text Citations
You now have the information required to cite information in
your bibliography or Works Cited page. Now you need to understand
how to cite information within your text. ASA style in-text citations
require the following information from your bibliography: author’s
last name, year of publication, and the page number(s) where specific
information comes from.
An in-text citation using ASA style will look something like this:
“China is the second largest economy of the world”
(Will 1991:12).
Providing an in-text citation along with entries in a bibliography is
crucial to avoiding plagiarism and creating credibility in your research
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Government Related Information
Government documents and other public documents are not
standardized in the American Sociological Association Style so citing
these types of sources can be complicated. A good rule of thumb is to
provide enough information so that the reader can locate these
sources. For example, you may provide a link for an online source, or
a reference a department or library in which the source was found.
The more information provided to support the source, the easier it
will be for your reader to locate where you have found your
The End of the Journey
The American Sociological Association Style guide only deals
with research and documentation concerning studies in sociology,
which is the study of human social relationships. You will need to
learn and understand this style if you plan on writing about
sociological topics either in school or in your career as a sociologist.
Citing and incorporating information from sources you have gathered
is crucial to supplementing your thesis statements and establishing
credibility with your audience. It is also important to properly
document your research in this style so that you can avoid plagiarism
and the troubles that come with it.
What is the Council of Science Editors Style?
The Council of Science Editors is a style design to organize
research papers in biology and medicine careers. The style was known
as Council of Biology Editors or (CBE), but sometime in the year 2000,
the name was changed to Council of Science Editors or (CSE). To
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organize your research paper, you have the choice to use the citationsequence, citation-name, and name-year reference.
The Importance of a Reference List?
Your reference list is your work-cited page. The format of the
reference list is double space, the title at the center, and list words
that you cited in your paper. You have a programming book, the
book’s author is Michael, book name is Programming and Design, the
book publication is 2001, and the page is 250. A simple example to
refer to your page is:
“1 Michael. Programming and Design; 2001. 250 p”.
The number one in the example is what you will use to refer to this
list in your page as a superscript. This is important because the
superscript will help you organize and refer to your sources in your
research paper. Your first cited source will be number one; the
second source will be number two and so on. You just need to
organize it from first to last.
Citation-Sequence means that you have to number your
sources in your reference list by the order by which you refer to
them. You use a superscript number placed inside the punctuation.
The superscript corresponds to the number entry in the CSE reference
list; previously mentioned in “The Importance of a Reference List?”
This example will help you understand the importance of superscript
in in-text citation using the CSE style:
“These interactions have been implicated in many systems,
including small molecules 4,peptides 5, proteins 6, peptoids 7,
and nucleic acids 8 “(The Writing Center, 2013).
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 96
The superscripts correspond to the reference list at the order you list
them in your reference list. The reason you have to do this is to
organize the scientific information and to find the source where the
information originated. The CSE citation style is strict because it deals
with scientific data and every piece of information needs to be
acknowledged precisely. Remember that the superscripts refer to the
reference page and you need to refer every sentence you use back to
the reference page to satisfy the CSE citation style.
Citation Name-Year System
Previously we mentioned the Citation-Sequence as a way to
cite your sources, but now we will introduce citation name-year
system. The idea of using this system is that you have to cite sources
by the author’s last name and year of publication in parenthesis. This
example will prove this system:
“Milk urea nitrogen can be used as an indicator of the
adequacy of protein and the balance between energy and
protein in lactating dairy cow diets (Broderick and Clayton
1997; Wattiaux and Karg 2004a) and as a predictor of urinary
nitrogen excretion (Kauffman and St Pierre 2001;
Kohn et al. 2002; Wattiaux and Karg 2004b)” (The Writing
Center, 2013).
In-text Citations
CSE style guidelines explain that you need to give credit for all
information even if information is a quote that is direct or indirect.
This can be complicated because certain guidelines are not enforced
in the Council of Science Editors guidelines. An example is the citation
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of a book with no author, the word “Anonymous” should be use. An
example of citing information with no author;
“This species has been reported in both Madison and Oneida
Counties of New York (Common Dragonflies . . . 1999)”
(Tutorial & Instructional Programs, 2006).
You just need to use the author’s last name and ellipses then the year
of publication. The Council of Biology Editors wants to avoid
plagiarism at all cost, the guidelines mandate that you need to cite
every information to comply with their rules. The CSE style has
similarities to MLA and Chicago style. The Council of Science Editors
style provides instructions to cite information even information such
as the author or the year of publication cannot be found. This applies
to any work by other people that you cannot find the writer of that
property and by putting the name of the title in citation and ellipsis
before the date.
In-text Citation in Detail
The Council of Science Editors provides you many tools on
how to organize citations. An example of referring specific part of a
“Similar data were obtained by Linsley (2004, Fig. 2)”
(“Tutorial & Instructional Programs”, 2006).
This is a good example on how to in-text cite part of quotes or
documents in The Council of Science Editors. You will need to provide
the author last name, year of publication and if you used any figures
you will also need to provide the figure number as stated on the
example provided. As previously mention, the CSE is strict on how to
refer to source for fear of plagiarism, you will need to be careful when
using this style. In the Scientific community, interviews are very
common for research and education purposes. The Council of Science
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 98
Editors is strict on how to refer to interviews and E-mails and
interviews with certain information or data provide, that is provides
rules of how to cite does sources. An example of a personal
conversation through e-mail citation is:
“D. Craine (e-mail conversation, 2005) has suggested that...”
(“Tutorial & Instructional Programs”, 2006).
The name of the person that you had the conversation needs to be
provide, in parenthesis you need to state that this is an e-mail
conversation as shown in the example above, the year that the
conversation took place and then the information that was provided
in the e-mail. This is important so that you don not plagiarize the
information in the e-mail and you need to tell the readers that the
information came from an electronic program. Finally, citing
interviews and interviews that contain data, the process is the same
as mention in “In-text Citations”; you need to provide the last name
of the individual and the year the interview took place to organize the
information. The same step applies with the interview with data, the
only difference is that you need to specify if the date was publish or
Online Citation Generators
A lot of students today are using online sources, or online
citation generators, to generate their bibliographies. The problem
that most students run into is that they do not take the time to make
sure they are receiving the correct format for their entries. Some of
the most well-known and most frequently used citation generators
include the following:
 EndNote
 Microsoft Word
 Son of Citation Machine
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These are not the only citation generators out there but they
are the most used source for the generation of sources. Also covered
will be the pros and cons in using citation generators. This will give
you the best understanding of what to expect from each of the
generators. The more you know about what you are about to get into
the better prepared you will be when it comes time to tackle your
Pros to Citation Generators
Writing an essay can take a lot of time, this being said you can
save a lot of time using these generators. They can take in the
information that you have and convert it to any of the citation
formats. If you made one source in MLA but you needed Chicago, for
instance, these generators can make the transition between them
simple and quick. It can take a lot of stress out of writing a paper and
can allow for you to have more time writing the paper. There are
many formats that you can be asked to use to make your citations.
These generators will stop you from having to memorize all of these.
Cons to Citation Generators
While these tools might be a great way to help you along your
way to finishing your essay, you cannot always trust that it is up to
date. This means that you must give each of these sources time to
update. Also, you must make sure to have all of the correct
information before you attempt to generate your citations. Leaving
out information will not bother the citation generator but instead it
will simply compile the information and give you and either
unfinished citation or an incorrect citation. This will cause you to take
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 100
not only have an unfinished bibliography and the reader will not be
able to locate the source of your information.
This is software that can be purchased and used to create and
store your citations, while also helping to create and compile your
bibliography. This is a very unique piece of software that is linked up
with hundreds of citation formatting types so that everyone can find
a use. Using this software you can link online PDF books, papers,
essays, anything and it will extract the data to help compile the
biography. You can link EndNote to Microsoft word for an even
better use of the software. If you have linked the two software tools
then EndNote will group the sources together allowing for an easy
move to Microsoft Word.
Figure 2.19 Picture of EndNote
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Microsoft Word
After starting up word and opening a new blank document
click the “REFRENCES’ tab in the ribbon.
Figure 2.20 Picture of Microsoft Word Ribbon
You will see many sections within this tab, focus on the one
labeled “Citations & Bibliographies”. In this section you can easily
change the style of format you would like to use; you can choose
between MLA, APA, Chicago, IEEE, Turabian, along with a few more
that some might find useful. Using the same section, you can find
“Insert Citation” wich allows you to insert your citation as a
parenthetical cite. You may also need a bibliography; well Microsoft
word also has a bibliography builder. Once you have inserted all of
your sources, simply click “bibliography” and choose the correct
Son of Citation Machine
One of the most well-known citation machines out right now,
son of citation machine is up to date and allows for writes to cite in
MLA, APA, Turabian, and Chicago style formats. It allows for MLA and
APA ISBN and Web lookup to better help the user find the correct
information needed to have a complete cite. If you have all the
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 102
information that you need then this site has a very nice display to
allow for quick and easy citation creation.
Figure 2.21 Picture of Son of Citation Machine
As you can see you will have the options on the left side and
on the right an ISBN/Web lookup to assist you in getting the correct
information for your citation. Going to the MLA page, for instance,
you will be greeted by a list of source types such as book, journal,
web image, and database. Once you have selected the medium of
your choice, the website will generate a page with all the information
required for a citation to be generated.
What is Plagiarism?
The UCF Golden Rule defines plagiarism as an instance where
“another’s work is used or appropriated without any indication of the
source, thereby attempting to convey the impression that such work
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is the student’s own.” In other words, plagiarism is when you submit
or publish someone else’s work as your own. However, there are
other ways to plagiarize without blatantly taking credit for someone
else’s work, such as forgetting to add quotation marks to specific
language or improperly citing a source. This is why we cover
plagiarism in this chapter specifically—because if you are not careful
about how you conduct research and document information, you may
be plagiarizing without knowing it.
Using scholarly or professional sources to support your own
ideas or arguments is almost always encouraged in the school and
workplace. In fact, you will often be required to incorporate the
theories, concepts, or scientific results of credible secondary sources
into the writing you produce for school. Using someone else’s words
or ideas to help expand on a topic you are discussing is a good way to
show your command of language and adds to your credibility. Think
about all the information you encounter every day— is all of it
credible? Chances are that you are more willing to believe a news
article about the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup if it has
documented medical reports and statistical evidence to back up its
Incorporating secondary sources into your writing can
improve your argument, but it is important to learn how to document
these sources both within your text and in your bibliography so that
you do not end up plagiarizing unintentionally. There are many styles
of research and documentation associated with different
organizations, universities, and corporations, and several of those
styles are detailed in this chapter.
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Avoiding Plagiarism
There are two basic practices you should use to avoid
plagiarizing: create a bibliography and include in-text citations.
Bibliographies: Bibliographies are sometimes referred to as a
“Works Cited” page. Ultimately, a bibliography is a list of primary and
secondary sources that you have used to produce your work or that
you have specifically referred to in your writing. Each citation style
has its own method of documenting sources in the bibliography. For
example, the MLA style of documentation alphabetically lists sources
by the author(s)’s last name and requires that you indent every line
after the first for each entry, as shown below:
Watson, James D. The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the
Discovery of the Structure of
DNA. New York: Norton, 1980. Print.
Make sure that you pay attention to the differences in each
documentation style; some are more subtle than others. For instance,
notice how CBE style calls its bibliography a “References” or “Cited
References” page while MLA style refers to its bibliography as a
“Works Cited.” Bibliographies show that you have done your research
and allow your audience the opportunity to reference your sources
for further reading.
In-text Citations: When you directly quote or paraphrase the
words of others in your writing, you will need to create a reference
for that person(s) within your text; we call this method of referencing
an “in-text citation.” Each in-text citation should easily reference the
source you have used from the bibliography. These types of citations
are usually an abbreviated version of the sources you list in the
bibliography. Like the bibliography, the method you use for in-text
citations will depend on which documentation style you use. For
example, some citation styles use parenthetical citation (including the
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 105
author’s last name in parentheses after quoted or paraphrased
information) and others use footnotes and endnotes to document
where information comes from.
*NOTE: Remember that if you use a non-text source such as an
image, chart, or graph, you will also need to include it as both an
entry in the bibliography and within the text.*
What Information Should I Document?
At first, it may be difficult to decipher what information you
should and should not document in your writing. A good rule of
thumb is that if you have any doubts about documenting a piece of
information, go ahead and document it. It is better to be cautious
than to risk being accused of plagiarism.
Direct Quotes: Direct quotes, or someone else’s exact
language, should always be documented. Be sure to include opening
and closing quotation marks around the words you are quoting and
provide an in-text citation for each quote. For example, if John wants
to incorporate a quote from his web writing textbook, Letting Go of
the Words, and document it with parenthetical in-text citations, he
might write:
There are many features that make some homepages
more useful than others. For example, a useful homepage “makes it
instantly clear what the site is all about” and “includes calls to action
(verb phrases) for your primary site visitors” (Redish 78).
Here, John has incorporated someone else’s words into his
work to better explain a concept about homepages. He has included
an in-text citation and should make sure that this source is also
properly documented as an entry in his bibliography.
Paraphrases: When you paraphrase, you restate someone
else’s words using your own words. Paraphrasing is not the same as
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 106
summarizing. When you summarize, you write a condensed version of
the main points of an article or story. Instead, paraphrasing takes a
specific idea or passage and changes the wording to fit a different
context. If you summarize the plot of a book—or what “happens” in
the story—you don’t need to provide a citation. However, if you
paraphrase, you should always include a citation. A paraphrased
citation might look like this:
You shouldn’t aim to please everyone who visits your
website. Instead, you should focus on your key visitors and pick up on
the conversations they want to have (Redish 79).
In this example, you don’t need to include quotation marks
because it is not a direct quote, but you should still include an in-text
citation because you have paraphrased the words of someone else.
Common Knowledge
We have covered the information for which you should
typically provide source documentation in your writing. But what
about the information that doesn’t need referencing? We call this
kind of information “common knowledge.” Common knowledge can
be described as information that everyone, or almost everyone,
knows. Common knowledge is usually specific to geographic location
and the culture of that area, but can also be universal. Some
examples of common knowledge include:
 The current capital of a specific state or country.
“Tallahassee is the capital of Florida” is common
 Widely-accepted scientific findings, such as that there
are currently eight planets in our solar system.
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Specific dates in history. “Christopher Columbus sailed
to America in 1492 seeking the Northwest Passage to
India” is common knowledge.
While common knowledge does not need to quoted or documented,
it is important that you document all other sources. Being aware of
what is and is not common knowledge will help you avoid accidentally
The Bottom Line: Plagiarism is Not Worth It
There is a level of honesty and integrity that must be
maintained in the academic and professional world. When you submit
work to your instructor or boss, she should be able to trust that it is
an original representation of your own personal effort. You also owe
yourself a certain amount of internal authenticity when you write.
Remember that earning a degree or a promotion honestly is far more
rewarding than cheating your way through school or work. Knowing
that you have planned out and produced an original work will give
you a sense of pride and accomplishment, and you will be more
confident when you tackle the next essay on a syllabus or the next
project in your career. When you lean on the work of others to get
ahead, you might never understand the satisfaction that comes from
achieving your goals independently; do not deprive yourself of that
feeling. And when you plagiarize, you degrade the work of your peers
who have chosen to work hard and with integrity. If we have not
given your enough reasons to avoid it, plagiarism often has serious
consequences, too.
Every professor at the university is required to include a
statement in his course syllabus about his attitude toward plagiarism.
Most syllabi state that a student caught cheating will receive a failing
letter grade, “F,” and possibly be referred to the Office of Student
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 108
Conduct for further action, which could include expulsion in severe
cases. In the professional arena, if you are caught submitting work
that is not your own, you could be demoted or terminated. In some
cases, legal action can even be taken against an employee caught
plagiarizing, especially if her actions have negatively affected the
image of the company she works for.
Ultimately, plagiarism is a bad idea any way you look at it. The
only way to stay morally sound and out of trouble is to produce your
own, original work—whether it is a dissertation, scientific hypothesis,
or computer code.
R e s e a r c h a n d D o c u m e n t a t i o n | 109
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Mechanics, Grammar, and
Fowler refers to a paragraph as the “main unit of
composition”. This is key to understanding a paragraph. Without
paragraphs, a story, or a paper, or even a technical manual would
become just one giant block of words and most readers at any level
would be less than enthused to tackle that. Paragraphs allow for the
separation of thoughts and ideas, given that each paragraph written
is often used as a way to show the progression of these ideas. A
paragraph, as categorized by most teachers prior to a collegiate level,
is a group of three to five sentences that effectively express your
thoughts around a particular topic or point. What these teachers
don’t tell their students as they are ingraining this method into their
mind is that that outside of standardized testing scripts a paragraph
can be as long or as short as the writer wants it to be, so long as they
stick to the topic and explain themselves thoroughly. Similarly,
paragraphs within a novel can be used to express certain ideas that
the author wants their readers to engage. But at the same time they
can use paragraphs to go into detail about a certain aspect in their
story, such as the way a character looks and acts, or how a particular
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building is fleshed out top to bottom which may be an indicator of its
importance in the story. Paragraphs are an important tool in any
writer’s toolbox, regardless of style and genre. Be wary of wordiness
though. Most readers be they a student, professor, or employer—
while the latter two understand the need for length to a degree—
they are all in agreement that quality is more important.
Structure of a Paragraph
The basic structure of any paragraph is to introduce your topic
and then your stance on it. This stance is often referred to as “the
topic sentence” (Topic sentences will be discussed in detail below).
After establishing your topic sentence it is expected of the writer to
provide supporting sentences that would express what they intend to
do to support their stance in the following paragraphs. Here is an
example of the simplest structure of paragraph (3-5 sentence
method) In the first line you can see what the topic of the paper will
presumably be about the “psychoanalytic properties” that can be
found within Huckleberry Finn. The following sentences set up the
path the paper will take concerning these “properties”.
1. The first fourteen chapters of Huckleberry Finn have thus far
lent itself to being a stage for many psychoanalytic properties.
Psychoanalysis is method founded by Sigmund Freud to
diagnose emotional and psychological disorders (Bressler
124). Freud developed various models that explained the
reasons why humans acted; these models then provide a basis
for critics without having to create philosophical beliefs to
explain texts they have read (Bressler 124).
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Topic Sentences
Topic sentences, also referred to as a thesis statement, are the
central idea to every paper and to a lesser form every paragraph.
While you can have topic sentences in each paragraph, it is advisable
that when you are writing a paper that all subsequent paragraphs
following the introduction should in some way refer back the that
main idea. Otherwise you would have a handful of paragraphs that
make no coherent sense as a whole.
For example, you may be writing about the sibling dynamics in
Jane Austen’s novels and how she uses them to develop the focal
characters. But you might get distracted in the next paragraph and
begin to go on a tangent on how much a cad Mr. Darcy had been to
Miss Elizabeth and so you begin to lose the focus of your paper
entirely. Always make sure that what you write relates back to the
central topic. In both of these examples, it is clear what the main
topic of each paragraph will be about.
1. By creating various sets of siblings Austen gives herself a
platform to sprout her stories from.
2. Thus it is then my hope to follow the efforts that Irish
writers put forth to get their work, especially on the topic
of sex in Irish fiction to be something merely more than a
guilty pleasure but a way to express one’s self.
Diction and Wordiness
Diction is the choice of words that a writer utilizes for their
writing and thus is an important factor. If you are writing a business
letter or a graduate thesis paper, the diction would be concise and
professional. If you are writing a letter to a friend or story, then the
diction would be much less formal. Diction determines the persona
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that you present, as a writer, to your audience. As a fiction writer, it
can also be used to create a more stylized effect, but also the specific
word choice can be used to grab the reader’s attention in a subtle
manner. In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig
uses his narrator to establish two parts of his book: one part is the
physical journey for the narrator; the other is the spiritual and
philosophical journey. Pirsig could very well have used words that
would have made his philosophical investigations burdensome, trite,
and lofty, but instead he presents his narrator’s thoughts in a
conversational manner. His particular use of diction allows for the
readers to feel less like they would not understand these theories and
more like they are on the ride with him as he discovers them. Here is
an excerpt:
1. “To understand what he was trying to do it’s necessary to
see that part of the landscape, inseparable from it, which
must be understood, is a figure in the middle of it, sorting
sand into piles. To see the landscape without seeing this
figure is not to see the landscape at all. To reject that part
of the Buddha that attends to the analysis of motorcycles
is to miss the Buddha entirely.” (80)
Wordiness is the excessive use of words when trying to convey
an idea or the meaning of a sentence and by proxy a paragraph. The
best example that can be given is when you are writing a paragraph
and write on, and on, and on about a how an author feels about a
topic but never actually touch base with why, as the interpreter, they
think the author focuses on this topic. Wordiness is the enemy of
every writer unless that is their intention. For example, in The Picture
of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde takes wordiness to a whole new level. In
particular, Chapter 11 of his book is entirely dedicated to describing
every minute shift of interest and personality for Dorian Gray
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catalyzed by his interaction with a book recommended to him by Lord
Henry. In most cases, readers and authors themselves would find this
kind of dedication indulgent. To be sure it does seem excessive but at
the same time it speaks largely about how the character actually acts.
The long winded descriptions and the over attention to particular
things such as jewels or tapestries, shows the very essence of Dorian
On the other hand, wordiness confuses and frustrates a
reader as they are unable to locate a point among the mass of words
that they are trying to sift through. In most cases wordiness is
unnecessary fluff added into a sentence by a writer for a number of
reasons, ranging from filling up space or trying to come off as wellversed but only succeeding in accomplishing the opposite. As a writer
your goal is to be concise and clear for your audience. There are a
couple ways where a writer can eliminate their wordiness.
1. Use action verbs instead of verb forms of ‘to be’ (is, are,
was, and were). The first example shows a sentence that
could be clearer with fewer words.
a. Going out of his way to stop them, Facilier made
sure that the path forward was blocked with the
help of his shadow creatures.
b. Going out of his way to stop them, Facilier blocked
their path forward with his shadow creatures.
2. Make the subject of the sentence more prominent. In this
context, this can be seen as passive voice versus active
voice. Active voice is much more straightforward and
easier to digest than passive tends to be. For more on
active vs. passive voice refer to the section on page ___ in
this chapter.
a. The video showed the various steps of the water
cycle as explained by Bill Nye
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b. Bill Nye explained the various steps of the water
cycle in the video.
3. Avoid negatives and indulgent phrases. Here is an example
of just that and a second example that provides a possible
way to make it clearer for your reader.
a. If you have not been to the office to pick up the
form then you probably have no idea what your
advisor wants nor do you know what you need.
Because of this simple fact, you will not be able to
apply for graduation at the scheduled time.
b. If you have not picked up the form you do not
know what your advisor wants or what you need.
You will not be able to apply for graduation at the
scheduled time.
Active vs. Passive Voice
The active voice is defined as a way of writing where the
subject is doing the action within the respective sentences. In direct
contrast, passive voice is defined as a way of writing where the action
is being done to the subject. These types of voice are used for
emphasis, style, and for certain situations, outright avoidance of
responsibility. Whether seen in written text, or used verbally, passive
and active voice can be detected and the implications of its use
Here are a couple of examples of the active voice:
Matt gave Jean a pencil.
Phillip witnessed this event take place.
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In the first example, Matt is the subject, the action is being
done by Matt unto Jean. In the second example, Phillip is the subject,
the event is what the action is being done to.
Contrasting the previous examples, the following are
examples of the passive voice:
Jean was given a pencil.
Jean’s new pencil was seen by Phillip.
In the first given example, all the reader knows is that Jean
was given a pencil, but not from whom. Jean is not the subject; the
action is done to her, and not by her. Phillip is the subject within the
second sentence. However, the action being done still comes before
our subject, and the emphasis is placed on the pencil, which still
qualifies the sentence as in the passive voice.
The use of the active voice makes sentences easier to digest,
without having to figure out exactly who the reader is referring to.
The active voice also adds clarity and a sense of credibility to the
piece because the subject is always very precisely given.
If both Matt and Jean were in a classroom where the teacher
expressed the prohibition of pencil lending, Matt would be in trouble
in the above situation. If the teacher asked another student, Phillip,
what happened, Phillip could respond, “Jean was given a pencil.” This
response implies that Phillip does not know who gave Jean the pencil,
and does not show responsibility on anyone’s behalf. The sentence
lacks a subject with which to blame. Phillip might be using the passive
voice on purpose.
The passive voice should not always be seen as something to
avoid. It is not an error. In fact, the passive voice can be used purely
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to portray emphasis on the recipient of the action. The recipient, in
such a case, is the focus of the sentence. The following are examples
where the passive voice implies emphasis and focus for the reader:
The UCF mascot name was decided in the fall of 1970.
The name, Knightro, was voted on by students and faculty
Knightro is accompanied by the symbol of the Pegasus.
The paragraphs below hold prime examples of both passive
and active voice. The first paragraph will solely use the passive voice
and the second paragraph will only portray the active voice, but the
final paragraph will demonstrate both.
• Seats were taken by Matt, Phillip and Jean. They were told
yesterday that everyone was responsible for their own test, even the
test materials. A pencil was forgotten, and asked for. Secretively, and
in silence, the pencil was given. The whole event was witnessed by
Phillip. Not sure of what to do, Phillip took his test.
The paragraph above isn’t clear and will be harder for the
reader to fully digest what is happening and by whom in the piece.
The only sentences where the subject is clear are the first, fifth, and
sixth sentence. Those sentences are only clear because the subject is
given after the action.
Matt, Phillip and Jean sat down for class to take a test. The
teacher told them yesterday that everyone was responsible
for their own test, even the test materials. Jean forgot that
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she needed a pencil, and asked Matt for one. Matt gave Jean
the pencil. Phillip witnessed the whole event. Phillip took his
test, unsure of what to do.
The paragraph above sounds repetitive, and reads at an
elementary level. Using just the passive voice can become choppy,
and harder to connect one sentence to the next for the reader.
Matt, Phillip and Jean sat down for class to take a test. The
teacher told them yesterday that everyone was responsible
for their own test, even the test materials. Jean forgot that
she needed a pencil, and asked Matt for one. Secretively, and
in silence, the pencil was given. Phillip witnessed the whole
event. Not sure of what to do, Phillip took his test.
By utilizing both the passive and active voice, emphasis is
placed on the students, the pencil, and Phillip’s inaction without
sounding repetitive. The use of both adds to the author’s style and
clarifies the intentions of the piece.
Please note that in certain subjects of writing a specific voice
is preferred over the other. For example, in scientific writing the
passive voice is commonly accepted. In scientific journals, lab reports,
and documentation passive voice is used to show objectivity,
removing the scientists from equation. They’re still there, but the way
its worded implies human error is in no way responsible for their
results. It also allows replication for future replication of an
experiment because the reader can imagine themselves imitating the
work to achieve the same results.
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In English writing there are six total tenses. The two main
tenses that modify verbs are: present and past tense. Writing in one
tense and venturing into another tense, or using multiple tenses
throughout writing, will wreak havoc on the reader trying to follow
the order of events. The risk of confusing the reader is greatly
increased by switching tenses back and forth. Tenses help us express
multiple events into a current, future, or past theme. If present tense
is used by saying, “He ran to the door.” then the writer wrote in past
tense, “He was walking” it could be confusing to the audience
whether the second action happened prior to the first event, or
during, or after. Remembering to focus on one tense for an entire
project will create a much clearer paper and prevent any confusion.
Present Tense Example:
1. He debates for the school.
2. She shops at Gucci.
Past Tense Example:
1. She fought the law.
2. He threw the cake on the ground.
There are six total tenses used with regular verbs: Present
Tense, Past Tense, Future Tense, Future Perfect Tense, Present
Perfect Tense, and Past Perfect Tense. Below are examples of the
other four tenses. A perfect tense means that something has already
happened, even if it is referring to the future. An imperfect tense
indicates that there is an overlap in event, often indicating that one of
the events is still going on.
Future Tense
1. She will ride the horse.
2. I shall call Brunhilda.
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Future Perfect Tense
1. By Friday night I will have finished that pizza.
2. Sunday morning she will have done the laundry.
Present Perfect Tense
1. They have walked to the store.
2. I have seen the movie “Fight Club” twenty times.
Past Perfect Tense
1. He had never seen so much money until he went to the
2. Elise had visited the same bench in the park since she was
a child.
Imperfect Tense
1. She used to walk.
2. They were swimming.
Words that supplement tenses with sequencing are known as
auxiliaries. Common examples of auxiliaries are: “must”, “ought”,
“shall”, “will”, “do”, “can”, “be”, “have”, “had”, and “has”. These
words are verbs that come right before another verb (the full verb) to
create a tense, aspect, voice or mood. Auxiliaries can be important
when there is not enough grammatical meaning or function
accompanying the main verb in a sentence. These words allow the
writer to create the verb tense they desire (they help another verb).
In the first example, the word “do” is accompanying the verb “want”.
The second example shows that “are” is accompanying the verb
 Example 1: Do you want coffee?
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Example 2: We are eating.
There are certain situations where abbreviations would be
used in writing. Abbreviating is typically used in titles around names,
mathematical units, long phrases, and state names or territories.
Abbreviations are used to pack in meaning into a small space. This
section will address school specific abbreviations and when to use or
not use them. The APA Publication Manual and Chicago Manual of
Style both have specific rules for abbreviating and should be
referenced in this manual for clarity if using either style.
If an abbreviation ends the sentence in a full stop, then do not use
an extra period afterwards. In the examples shown below, the
abbreviation of United States or Avenue would end the sentences
 Example 1: Florida is inside the continental U.S.
 Example 2: They live on E. Deathgate Ave.
Using a title properly can give the targeted person or audience the
respect they deserve. If a title is left out, the message appears much
less formal and less respectful. Writing or addressing someone with
their earned title can make a big difference in appearing professional,
especially when the other person is not personally known. When
writing a letter or addressing a person of whom the marital status is
unknown, then a title would be used before the name. Titles include:
Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., and Sen. These are only a few, but more than
likely the ones that would be used in collegiate writing.
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Example 1: Mr. Samuelsson
Example 2: Dr. Magnusson
For a title after the name of an individual; the name would come
first, then a comma and the title. These can include, but are not
limited to: Jr., Sr., Ph.D., M.D., B.S., B.A., and M.A., They are written
after the name to separate from positions or marital statuses that are
stated in front of the name.
Example 1: Melanie Iglesias, PhD
Example 2: Mr. Carlton Banks Jr.
Mathematical units are used mostly just in technical writing. A
space is used between the number and the abbreviated word. Inch
(in.) is the only mathematical word that gets a period after it, to
distinguish it from the preposition “in”. Even if an abbreviated word is
the plural form, an “s” is not used in. The abbreviation is considered
to represent plural forms as well.
 Example 1: 35 in.
 Example 2: 17 ft
 Example 3: 20 kg
Common and Long Phrases
Certain common abbreviated phrases are acceptable in formal
text and do not require a period. Examples of these are: mph (miles
per hour), mpg (miles per gallon), rpm (revolutions per minute), ASAP
or A.S.A.P. (as soon as possible), and ETA (estimated time of arrival).
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Example 1: Their car would get 50 mpg if they would stay on
the highway.
Example 2: The professor wants the paper graded ASAP.
State Names and Territories
When listing a state, a period is not used. State abbreviations
should not be used in regular text, but only in addresses using the
mail. It is considered improper etiquette to do so in regular writing.
The exception to this rule is Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia).
The other exception to using a period is when abbreviating the word
Saint. St. Petersburg, Florida is a prime example of this.
 Example 1: Mail his check to 46 Minnow Circle, Orange City, FL
 Example 2: She can be reached at 734 Helmut Way, St. Louis,
MO 54321.
If the situation is unclear whether to abbreviate or write a
word out in full, always consider if the audience will be familiar with
the abbreviation in question. Maintaining a consistent style when
abbreviating words or phrases will allow readers to understand what
is being referred to and to smoothly read over the entire document.
Capitalization is one of the most important tools in the
punctuation toolbox. Primarily, capitalization is used to indicate the
beginning of a sentence. It is also used to identify proper nouns in
writing as well. By having these identifiers, it helps the reader
understand and read over a body of text a little easier knowing where
a one sentence ends and another begins. It also helps them by placing
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attention to key points should they be proper nouns. There is one
case of capitalization that has no deep explanation and that is the
capitalization of the pronoun I. While word processors already take
the time to do this for you, it is always good to use capitalization
when speaking of yourself in first person. Abbreviations also utilize
capitalization (see section on Abbreviations in this chapter).
1. As a rule of thumb if it is a title or a name of a noun, then it
should be capitalized. There is a distinct difference between a
common noun and a proper noun. Where the common noun
is simply the basic address (i.e. company, actor, state), a
proper noun gives a noun a kind of specialty but setting it
apart from its fellows (i.e. Panasonic, Marlon Brando,
Colorado). There is an endless list of proper nouns but here
are just a few ideas:
a. Names of people
i. Christopher Robin
ii. Frank Sinatra
b. Names of places
i. University of Central Florida
ii. Chrysler Building
iii. Florida
c. Titles of people
i. President Barack Obama
ii. Admiral William Adama
iii. Patricia Angley, Associate Lecturer
d. Addresses
i. 42 Wallaby Way Sydney
ii. 4000 Central Florida Boulevard
e. Adjectives that describe nationality, race, or tribe
(Miller 78)
i. American
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ii. Cherokee
iii. Caucasian
f. Religious affiliated figures, holidays, days of the week
i. God, Allah, Vishnu
ii. Christmas, Hanukah, Ramadan
iii. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
g. Titles of books
i. The Great Gatsby
ii. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An
Inquiry into Values [Note: There are various
ways to capitalize a title. It is up to the writer to
decide the practice they wish to use.]
2. The next sets of examples are common in the writing
profession or in everyday writing.
a. As mentioned before the beginning of a sentence is
always capitalized. While there would be the
separation provided by the period, the lack of a capital
letter at the beginning of a sentence would either look
unprofessional or confusing for the reader.
b. When quoting in a sentence, the quote must begin
with a capitalized letter.
i. “I didn’t know you could learn so much from a
book,” he said.
ii. “This area is off limits,” the officer stated.
c. Unless you have a stylistic inclination or the poet you
may be quoting does, the lines of a poem are generally
i. Here is an example of a poem, Sonnet XVII by
Pablo Neruda, where not every line is
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1. I don’t love you as if you were the saltrose, topaz/ or arrow of carnations that
propagate fire:/ I love you as certain
dark things are loved,/ secretly,
between the shadow and the soul.
Proof Reading
When writing a paper, the best thing to do is plan ahead of time a
schedule so that you are not forced to rush the paper into the final
form right before the paper is due. This allows for proper time to
proof read before submission. Proof reading is basically editing a
paper for the next draft or final copy. Proof reading takes form in
here main and distinct steps:
1. Read the work for content.
Reading the piece for clarity within the concepts and
ideas is the most important step in proof reading. By doing
this first, the editor can make sure that any corrections they
add later are actually needed. It also saves time because; if an
entire section is redundant, then you do not have to read
through the section again. Instead that portion will just be
deleted. This is why reading for content is the first thing you
should do. All of the following steps only enforce and benefit
the content of the piece.
2. Read the work for grammar and punctuation.
A great proof reader will unlearn the common habits of
ignoring punctuation and grammar issues because these
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issues are exactly what leads reader’s to miscommunication
[See grammar and punctuation]. Instead, they will read each
word for spelling, then reread each sentence for punctuation,
and finally for grammar. Going line by line, isolating each line
by physically blocking out the rest of the text is a great way to
focus on the sentence level (Butcher 102). By catching these
issues early, a proof reader enforces clarity within the work in
order to ultimately avoid confusion for the reader.
3. Fact check the work and avoid plagiarism.
Check the work to make sure that every fact given is
correct and stands true against its cited source. If no citation is
given, it is better to avoid using the quote, or phrasing
altogether. Another option is to find another credible source
that supports the statement. Regardless, a proof reader must
fact check to avoid plagiarism and to make sure the work
stand credibly in front of future audiences.
The idea of proof reading may seem tedious, but doing it in this way
clears the piece of error at the structural and sentence levels,
allowing for the best possible presentation of your work.
The most common use of indentation is at the beginning of a
paragraph, where the first line is usually indented five spaces. For
example, the paragraph below is shown both indented and without
any indentation:
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With indent:
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a
woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck, he would, as
much as he could, and chuck as much as a woodchuck would if a
woodchuck could chuck wood.
Without indent:
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could
chuck wood? He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
and chuck as much as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could
chuck wood.
The first paragraph is delineated by indenting the first
line. Typically one would use double line-spacing with
indentation, here they are compact to better illustrate the
difference. Without indentation, the paragraph maintains a
standardized look, and keeps a professional appearances. Lack of
indentation is usually preferred in business settings for letters,
official documents, manuals, and other business communication
styles. An indentation is used in personalized forms of writing. In
letters to friends and family, most types of creative writing, and
other types of relaxed writing.
Another use of indentation is in outlining, in which each
subordinate entry is indented under its major entry. The following list
of bulleted points is indented from where the main paragraph would
have started by an indentation:
Indent 1
o Indent 2
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Indent 3
The methods of indentation above allow for pockets of white
space to appear between, what would otherwise be, a block of text.
This allows for the reader to rest the eyes briefly and digest the
previous paragraph of information as complete in its topic, or point.
Without these pockets of white space, a readers eyes could tire
between topics, or the eye will naturally skip sentences altogether.
This could lead to missing important points of the topic and cause
overall confusion.
Indentation is also used to cite a long quote of text from the
rest of an author’s text. This is especially accurate by means of
citation and to avoid plagiarism. Usually when this is done the text
does not need to be contained within quotation marks and is in a
smaller font size, or single spaced. The flowing is a part of the
Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these
rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their
just powers from the consent of the governed, --That
whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of
these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,
and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on
such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to
them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and
Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments
long established should not be changed for light and transient
causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that
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mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are
sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to
which they are accustomed….
The important thing is that the reader is able to distinguish
where one paragraph ends and the next begins. Be warned, if you
were to use both line-spacing and indentation of paragraphs, which
would simply be redundant.
Proper Sentence Form
Sentence structure is the very basis of writing. Much like when
someone is learning to bake, a recipe should be followed in order to
produce a quality product. Without the proper format, the reader will
have no idea what message is being conveyed, or if it is important to
them. The following pages will demonstrate and elaborate on what is
needed in each sentence to have a proper form.
A sentence is a group of words that come together to express
a complete thought. Every sentence starts with a capitol letter and
ends with a period. The same sentence should include a subject and a
Subject and Predicate
Subject and predicate is the basis of the English sentence
structure. Each sentence needs a subject and a predicate, unless the
sentence contains only one word (such as “Run!”). In any sentence,
the subject will tell what or whom the sentence is referring to. The
subject is always a noun. The predicate describes the subject and is
the part of a sentence that contains a verb.
 Example 1: The monkey climbed. (Monkey is the subject)
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Example 2: This couch is too stiff. (“Is too soft” is the
Compound Subject and Predicate
For each subject and predicate, there can be a simple or
compound version of each. A simple subject is just the subject
without any modifying words, and a simple predicate is the verb
without any words that modify it. By knowing which part is which, any
sentence can be quickly scanned to determine if it is lacking an
important part.
 Example 1: The vigilant police patrolled until dawn.
The simple subject in the previous sentence is “police”. The
simple predicate is “patrolled”. The complex subject would be “The
vigilant police”, while the complex predicate would be “patrolled until
 Example 2: My cousin and I ran track and played lacrosse in
The compound subject is “My cousin and I”, and the compound
predicate is “ran track and lacrosse”.
Subject-Verb Agreement
Ensuring that the verb agrees with its subject is important for the
sentence to read fluidly. When subject-verb agreement is not used, a
reader will know there is something incorrect about the sentence. Did
the writer mean a different tense, a different subject, or was a
helping verb left out. This can cause confusion in the sentence. If
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using a singular subject, then use a singular verb. The same is said for
plural subjects with plural verbs.
 Example 1: The shirt he is wearing looks ragged. [Singular]
 Example 2: Lions have their own distinct roar. [Plural]
Run-on Sentences and Fragments
A Run-on sentence is one giant sentence that contains two or
more complete sentences. A Run-on sentence does not contain the
proper punctuation to create individual sentences. A fragment is an
incomplete sentence, missing a subject or a verb typically. These
types of improper sentences will leave a reader stumped in their
tracts. They will continue to re-read the sentence in question over
and over to attempt to understand what is intended. If the audience
spends extra time reading the same lines over and over, then they are
much more likely to get frustrated and give up attempting to
understand the document. Further details on these two topics will be
explained in more detail later on in the manual.
Gender References
Gender references need to be kept the same throughout a
sentence. This is important because the reader can get confused
about who is being referred to. If at first the pronoun “he” is used,
then later on in the sentence the pronoun “they” is used, it can cause
the reader to spend more time re-reading the full sentence. Fully
omitting gender is perfectly acceptable as well.
 Example 1: If a student wants to be the best writer, they
should major in English. - Incorrect
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Example 2: A politicians views may be based partially off what
they hear in the media. - Correct
Example 3: This artist painted many pictures last year on
campus. –Gender Omission (Correct)
In the first example, the subject “a student” is singular, but the
second reference “they” is plural. Substituting in this manor is
considered awkward or incorrect in English writing. This is something
easily correctable and will help the reader know exactly who is being
referred to. Instead of saying “he or she” in the third example, I chose
“artist” instead. This omits the gender, but still conveys who did the
Shifts should be avoided to keep all the elements of a sentence
consistent. Shifts can be in voice, mood, tense, people (as discussed
above), and numbers. These changes can blur or obscure the meaning
for the reader by referring to multiple different topics or people.
Parallel Structure
Parallel structure is using the same pattern in sentence
elements that are similar. Typically, parallel structures will be found
with the use of coordinating conjunctions. Any sentence that mixes
forms in words or phrases will cause the sentence to sound broken by
disrupting parallelism. Readers will anticipate a flow throughout the
sentence, and when the flow changes abruptly, the sentence may
have to be re-read or thought about longer to understand the
Proper form:
 Example 1: Viktor loves swimming, running, and riding his
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Example 2: Molly told the boys that they should get lots of
sleep, that they should drink lots of fluids, and that they
should relax.
Improper form:
 Example 1: Viktor loves swimming, running, and to ride his
 Example 2: Molly told the boys that they should get lots of
sleep, that they should drink lots of fluids, and to do some
Comma Splices
Two independent clauses can be separated by a comma,
known as a comma splice. This is an error and is remedied by
changing the comma to a period and making two individual
sentences, by using a semicolon in place of the comma, or by
changing one clause to a dependent clause by inserting a marker
word in front.
 Example 1: My family plays Monopoly together every Friday
night, we then eat chicken and waffles together.
 Corrected: My family plays Monopoly together every Friday
night. We then eat chicken and waffles together.
 Corrected: My family plays Monopoly together every Friday
night, and we then eat chicken and waffles together.
 Example 2: It is almost four o’clock, we are going to be late for
 Corrected: It is almost four o’clock; we are going to be late for
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Without correcting comma splices, the comma allows the
sentence to read (arguably) as a run-on sentence. Comma splices are
considered a style error. Typical comma splice errors combine two full
clauses together, but that is not their job. Uniting compatible clauses
is the focal point of a comma, and when used incorrectly, it will cause
the reader to rush into the second independent clause. When writing
in a collegiate or academic environment, it is extremely important to
come across as professional as possible and leave no chance to be
misunderstood. Having two independent clauses separated properly
will allow the audience to follow your ideas much clearer.
Sentence Fragments
Sentence fragments will either make your writing something
to boast about or something that will make you cringe, but that
depends whether the fragments are intentional or not. Sentence
fragments are by definition anything less than an independent clause
(see Proper Sentence Structure for more information on this). More
simply put, a sentence fragment is an incomplete thought that cannot
stand alone. They disrupt the flow of writing as well as confuse the
reader. Sentence fragments also make it look like the writer does not
know how to write a proper sentence, so it is in a writer’s best
interest to avoid them. As mentioned before, while fragments may be
a negative point within writing they can also—if intentionally used—
add a certain style and may be used to emphasize a point. While not
necessarily viewed as a recommended writing style, we will provide
an example in this section. There are a handful of fragments that a
writer needs to be wary of.
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Types of fragments to look out for
1. The first type of fragment is when there is a subject but no
verb, often referred to as an appositive fragment. In these
kinds of fragments there are nouns and a noun that could be a
subject, except there is no verb to validate it. In the first
example we have an appositive fragment that only affirms
that there is a boy, but what does the boy do? The second
example shows how you can turn the fragment into a full
sentence by adding an action for the subject.
a. The boy who always had trouble getting along with
b. The boy who always had trouble getting along with
others picked up Kaylnn when she fell.
Note: Any fragment will have a reader asking a question.
(Who did this? What did they do? What will happen?)
2. The second type is when there is a verb but no subject also
known as a lonely verb fragment. It’s a very simple idea:
without a subject a verb cannot function as a sentence. It is
common for these fragments to begin with a coordinating
conjunction and express action.
a. But he trudged through the snow anyway.
b. John anticipated getting his boots soaked, but he
trudged through the snow anyway.
3. The third type is referred to as dependent clauses. These
types of sentence fragments begin with a subordinating
conjunction. Note: Subordinating conjunctions are used to
connect a dependent clause and the rest of a sentence.
Dependent clauses cannot stand alone. (i.e. after, although,
before, because, if only, since, unless, while) In this first
example, we have a dependent clause that begs the question
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“What”. What did she do? What will she do? While there can
be value found with the first fragment, if there is nothing
around it that denotes or adds a focus to where the ‘she’ had
been then the fragment must be fixed. A way to fix the
sentence is to further express the idea that was omitted.
a. Even though she had already been there.
b. Even though she had already been there, she agreed to
go to the fair with her friends.
4. The last style of fragments is used stylistically for emphasis,
tone, and to grab the audience’s attention. The practice is
most common among journalistic conventions such as
newspapers and magazines and is not recommended for
academic writing (Purdue).
a. The mayor seemed to be completely calm about the
whole Lenin ordeal. While the masses were in an
uproar over the indignity of it.
b. The police were unsure where to look for the
perpetrator. Giving the man a head start by a wide
Run-on Sentences
Run-on sentences or fused sentences occur when two
independent clauses are placed together into one sentence without
any punctuation. Together the clauses create a sentence that is
tedious or even incoherent. While it is thought that a run-on is usually
long and winding, it can also be short. A run-on is best visualized in
this quote by Mark Tredinnick: “It makes what it narrates run like a
film in front of a reader.” There are some cases, such as in creative
writing and the use of stream of consciousness, where run-ons can be
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used as a stylistic feature, whereas in business writing it is best to
leave them out entirely. It is easiest to address run-ons by first
knowing how they may occur and then knowing how to fix them.
Types of run-ons
1. The first is the very basic kind of run-on that puts two
independent clauses together without punctuation. In both of
these examples show two clauses that have been mashed
together to form a sentence. Both give the sense that there is
no “pause for breath” between the two ideas, so they run
a. I am the mayor of this good town there is nothing I
wouldn’t do for it.
b. The Grand Canyon was a sight to be seen after such a
long drive Lauren couldn’t believe her eyes.
2. The second is when an independent clause is followed by a
direct order, but rather than separate the two clauses with a
period or a semi-colon they are joined by a comma.
a. The run is three miles up and three miles down, you
better get started now.
3. The third is when two independent clauses are combined with
a conjunctive adverb and commas.
a. David was stressing out over the exam for next week,
meanwhile, his brother was busy playing on his Xbox.
b. Neil Gaiman is a good a writer, however, my favorite
writer has to be Michael Crichton.
4. When the second clause in a run-on refers to the first clause
through the use of a pronoun.
a. Major Dick Winters knew how to support his troops, he
was able to understand their struggle more personally.
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5. This last type of run-on is used in creative writing to create a
flow of thoughts and feelings passing through a characters
mind, otherwise known as stream of consciousness.
a. I wasn’t sure if I should tell Jan if I knew about Adrian
cheating on her maybe it would be easier to just come
out and say it. Like a Band-Aid. No. She might take it
badly and start crying but then she would feel like I
was keeping it from her because of other reasons.
Fixing run-on sentences
To fix a run-on sentence is pretty easy. They just need a little bit
of help from punctuation tools, and there are plenty to choose from.
Here are some of the examples from the previous section to illustrate
the idea.
1. Adding a period
a. I am the mayor of this good town. There is nothing I
wouldn’t do for it.
b. The run is three miles up and three miles down. You
better get started now.
2. Adding a semi-colon
a. The Grand Canyon was a sight to be seen after such a
long drive; the vivid red of the rock is enough to steal
one’s breath away.
3. With a coordinating conjunction
a. Neil Gaiman is a good a writer, but my favorite has to
be Michael Crichton.
4. Subordinate conjunction
a. David was stressing out over the exam for next week
while his brother was busy playing his Xbox.
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b. Major Dick Winters knew how to support his troops
because he was able to understand their struggle more
A homonym is a word that shares the same spelling, meaning,
or pronunciation with another word. A word found in homonymy,
traditionally is both a homograph and a homophone at the same
time. A homograph is a word that shares the exact spelling of another
word, but not necessarily the exact pronunciation. A homophone, on
the other hand, is a word that shares the exact pronunciation of
another word without having to share the exact spelling.
A homonym can be a homophone, or a homograph. However
the relationship cannot always work in the reverse. A homograph is
not always a homonym. The same is true for a homophone. The
relationship is similar to that of squares. A square is always a
rectangle, and simultaneously always a rhombus. However, a
rhombus is not always a square. A rectangle does not have to be a
square either.
An example of a homonym would be the word bow. A bow
has multiple definitions, some of which are listed below.
Bow: a ribbon tied in a certain fashion, usually found to lace
up shoes, or on the tops of gifts.
Bow: a yoga pose in which the back muscles are tightened to
lift the body off the floor.
Bow: A weapon used to project objects through the air.
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All three of these words are spelled exactly the same. All
three of these words also are pronounced exactly the same. This
makes them homonyms among each other.
While reading, the importance of identifying homonyms becomes
relevant. Without knowing exactly what the word can mean in all of
its definitions, the content can be lost in translation. For example,
read the following sentence:
Charlie moved forward three knots forward, steadying his
hands on the lever.
The sentence above should be interpreted as a nautical
unit referring to a ship’s speed. However, it can be misleading and
confusing to believe he is following a rope tied in knots. The
reader wouldn’t understand why a lever was needed. This
miscommunication can be resolved by knowing when a homonym
is being used, clarifying with context clues, or avoiding these
words all together.
The following are examples of homographs:
Park – where a car might be, or a playground
Letter – a written note, or one from the alphabet
ave – a moving portion of water, and a moving hand in
The following are pairs of homophones:
Eight and ate
Won and one
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Son and sun
Warning: Be careful when choosing to use a homonym to certain
audiences; keep in mind who they are and their reading abilities
before assuming they will understand.
Besides the period, the comma is one of the most used types
of punctuation in the English language. Commas are quite often
misused. Using a comma correctly helps the reader distinguish
between ideas or thoughts without misunderstanding the sentence.
Readers also understand the message much more clearly than if a
comma was needed and not used. The same sentence would have to
be re-read multiple times possibly, by simply not using a comma for
clarity. They can cause distractions if overly used, and can cause the
sentence to be difficult to understand if too few are used. This section
will show how to properly use a comma for many different
Independent clauses must be separated by the use of a comma.
These include the following coordinating conjunctions: and, but, for,
or, nor, so, yet, and also (only if used in the beginning of a sentence).
 Example 1: I bought the book, but I still needed to buy another
 Example 2: She explained to the mechanic what the problem
was, yet he still had no clue as to what was wrong.
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Introductory phrases or clauses require a comma after them, but
before the main clause.
 Example 1: When you finish your homework, we will go for ice
 Example 2: Because he was late, he will get points deducted
from his grade.
Specific adverbs are always set off with a comma. These can be
seen typically at the beginning of a sentence, but require a comma
regardless of where they are used in a sentence. Words included are:
however, in fact, therefore, nevertheless, moreover, furthermore,
and still.
 Example 1: Nevertheless, it shall be done today.
 Example 2: In this war, furthermore, large tents would also be
When using a phrase or clause that is not essential to the original
sentence idea, but still within the sentence, a comma must be used
before and after in order to indicate a separate thought.
 Example 1: Next time you write a paper, which should be in
MLA format, please proof read it first.
 Example 2: The pass did not reach the intended receiver. It hit
the ground, however, it was still a great pass.
Listing three or more words that are written in a series should
have a comma after each word or phrase.
 Example 1: The restaurant has a strict dress code for shoes,
shirts, and hats.
 Example 2: That backflip was extremely fast, high, and
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When two or more coordinate adjectives are used to describe the
same noun then you must use a comma. To help determine, you
should mentally put “and” between the two adjectives and make sure
it sounds correct.
 Example 1: She was a fast, agile gymnast.
 Example 2: They always wore soft, comfortable hoodies.
If there is a distinct pause or shift of an idea at the end of a
sentence, then a comma should be used to indicate this. Any
contrasting parts at the end should also be separated by a comma.
 Example 1: That shirt seems translucent, almost invisible.
 Example 2: The statement was ignorant, not malicious.
Any phrases near the end of a sentence that refer back to the
middle or beginning of that sentence require commas to distinguish
 Example 1: John signaled to his platoon to move forward,
waving cautiously.
 Example 2: Lindsay nodded to Brad, who was cheering.
Geographical places, numbers, and dates all have specific comma
 Example 1: Her address is 49 Crown Street, London, NW3 3LC,
Great Britain.
 Example 2: 235,250 and January 11, 1970
Use a comma to separate a quote from the rest of the sentence.
 Example 1: Bob told the group, “The next meeting will be at
seven on Thursday.”
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Example 2: In 1940, Gretchen said, “Politics are becoming
more complex than ever.”
Lastly, use commas to prevent misreading or confusing the reader
as to what is intended.
 Example 1: To Susan, George had lost his way.
 Example 2: Before leaving, the cowboys put out the fire.
Commas are extremely important to the flow and readability of a
sentence. Without proper knowledge and use, writing will leave the
audience unsure of what actually is intended and possibly confused of
the content.
There is a lot of debate over the use of semi-colons. A semicolon is most often used when connecting two independent clauses
that connect to each other, where a period is unnecessary and a
comma is not enough. In most cases writers are unsure of how to use
it and decide to avoid it completely. While that seems excessive, the
knowledge of being able to use semi-colons can add contrast and
style to writing. There are five common uses for the semi-colon.
Semi-colons and their uses
1. The first is using a semi-colon to connect two independent
clauses—the most basic structure in writing that consists
of a subject and a verb— that are closely related. While
the sentences do not need to be long, they do need to be
full thoughts. In addition, the second sentence needs to
complement or explain the one it follows.
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a. Michael drove his car around the bend; to his surprise,
it came to an abrupt stop as he was greeted by a view
of the Grand Canyon.
Using a period in the following sentences would have
felt mechanic and unpleasant in their rhythm. A comma would
not have worked out either because there is no coordinating
conjunction. It becomes a jumble otherwise. Note: A
coordinating conjunction is a connector between two
independent clauses. (Ex: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So). In
some cases the overuse of a period can cause a paragraph to
be riddled with short sentences, and unless as a writer, you
have the intention to create a choppy and abrupt feeling then
it is better to write full flowing sentences so as not to hinder
the reader. While commas can be used semi-colons come in
handy for connecting those closer ideas that commas cannot.
b. Thaddeus was known to be the most skilled blacksmith
in Camelot. He was commissioned from every part of
the land. With his skills, he could forge a sword for a
lord or king, without their input, and they would
accept the sword graciously. Every high knight was
gifted with a sword from this master of craft. To
receive a sword from Thaddeus was to be praised.
c. Thaddeus was known to be the most skilled blacksmith
in Camelot; he was commissioned from all over of the
land. With his skills, he could forge a sword for a lord
or king, without their input, and they would accept the
sword graciously. Every high knight was gifted with a
sword from this master of craft; to receive a sword
from Thaddeus was to be praised.
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2. The second is to use a semi-colon between two clauses when
the second clause starts with a transitional phrase. Note: A
transitional phrase helps maintain continuity to a writer’s
thoughts throughout sentences and paragraphs.
a. They all managed to get along and not start an
argument; on the whole, it was a good day.
b. The secretary knocked coffee onto all the case
documents; as a result, she would have to reprint
3. The third is to use a semi-colon between two clauses when
the second clause starts with a conjunctive adverb. In the
following two examples, conjunctive adverbs have been added
after the semi-colon so that the focus of the two clauses is
accentuated further in the second clause. The first example
shows two sides to the professor’s character, while the second
emphasizes a logical conclusion to scientific success. Note: A
conjunctive adverb is stronger type of transitional phrase.
While it adds to continuity, it also adds the effect of a
sharper focus to a writer’s next thoughts.
a. The professor was disappointed in the work his
students presented; however, he was willing to give
them another chance.
b. The experiment was a resounding success; hence, they
would have to present their findings to the board.
4. The fourth use is to use semi-colons when listing closely
related ideas.
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a. At UCF, the English department has an array of
qualified staff from various universities at its disposal.
Patricia Angley has a Ph.D in English from the
University of Hawai’I at Manoa; J.D. Applen has a PH.D.
in English from the University of Arizona; Laurie Uttich
has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University
of Central Florida; Kathy Hohenleitner has a Ph.D in
British and Irish Literature from the University of Notre
b. The state fair had a lot more activities this year than
any before. Old Man Werther had his hayride;
Washington High School had a kissing booth; Home
Scents offered a look at handmade candles; the Kansas
Committee had shelled out money for a Ferris wheel;
the football team had fundraised for a dunk tank with
their coach as the victim.
5. The last use for a semi-colon is to use it to separate items in a
list when one or more of them have a comma in between
a. In this context, it can be used to separate the names of
people in a list to avoid confusion: Radcliffe, Daniel;
Watson, Emma; Grint, Rupert; Lewis, Matthew
b. Or it can be used to separate a list of cities and their
states: Miami, Florida; Canton, Michigan; Spencer,
Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois
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Cautions about using semi-colons
Just like any other punctuation, semi-colons should be used
carefully and never to excess. Always make sure that the sentences or
clauses being linked are related and if it looks like a comma would
work, then use it. Using semi-colons can give your reader a breather
to process the ideas you have provided; if you over use them it will
cause confusion.
Similar to the semi-colon, the colon poses a challenge for writers:
when or how does one get used? Colons are often like placing a
picture frame around a set of words so that the reader can see their
importance. It can also be thought of as a dramatic pause within a
sentence. Colons add an emphasis to declarations that cannot be
found with periods, or commas, and a clear view to how to present
thoughts in a series.
1. The first use for colons is to answer a question (“Why?” or
“What?”) posed in the first clause.
a. The biker did not win the race: he had cheated.
b. The scientist had a secret: the research was not his
2. The second use of the colon is that the clause following the
colon further elaborates on the prior clause. This usage is very
similar to the first usage before; the only difference is that this
one goes an extra step.
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a. Integrity, Scholarship, Community, Creativity, and
Excellence: this is the UCF Creed.
b. The magician proceeded to pull a rabbit and a dove out
of his hat at once: he was very talented.
3. The third use for colons is to express a list of items in a series.
This also happens to be the most common. In this context,
colons can be used in two different ways:
a. As bulleted lists
i. You will need to bring the following on the
camping trip:
1. bottle of water
2. sleeping bag
3. bug spray
b. Or as a series within a sentence:
i. To play the piano well you need the following: a
strong pair of hands, the ability to read music,
and a certain passion to perform.
Cautions about using colons
Use colons sparingly, otherwise overuse can cause blockage in
writing and can be jarring. The rules that applied to a semi-colon
(referred to on page __ of this chapter) also apply to a colon. If the
clauses are unrelated or too independent do not use a colon; use a
period instead.
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An apostrophe is utilized to show various forms of possession,
to show plurality, and to show contractions within words and
First and foremost, an apostrophe is used to indicate
possession by having an apostrophe with the addition of an ‘s’ and in
some cases (generally in the case of the word already ending with an
‘s’) the apostrophe will end the word altogether. This rule applies
even to words that are plural in nature without ending in an ‘s.’ The
plural words that do end in ‘s’ only require the addition of an
apostrophe. Some examples include:
The following words and proper nouns do not end in an ‘s:’
Cori’s desk
The deer’s run
The Women’s Tennis Team
The Joneses’ house
The four sisters’ rooms
Note: Any time an apostrophe is used, or not used, in a
title, be sure to follow the original title’s usage of the apostrophe
exactly as they give it to you. This is shown in the third example
Additional rules apply to showing joint possession or in cases of
separate ownership shown respectively:
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Mr. Smith and Dr. Anna’s appointment with Helen
Dr. Smith’s and Dr. Anna’s appointment with Helen
The first example implies that that both Dr. Smith and Dr.
Anna hold the same appointment with Helen. The second
example implies that each appointment is with a different doctor.
Common exceptions to the rule are for use of general expressions,
and commonly exempt names, for example:
Everyone’s stress
For goodness’ sake
A month’s delay
Apostrophes are also used in contractions, which are words
where letters are omitted for the ease of speech and flow of words
and when you need to create plurality.
The following words are examples of commonly used contractions:
can’t, won’t, don’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t, aren’t, she’d, they’re,
there’s, you’re, I’ll
(BT)An example of forming a plurality is:
Dot your i’s.
There are so many words that use e’s.
As’s usually form similes.
How many of the staff are N.A.S.A’s?
The third example above could be entirely misinterpreted
if the apostrophe were not there. It would read that a donkey, or
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an “ass”, usually form similes. While, grammatically correct, the
punctuation is incorrect, allowing for confusion.
Lastly, an apostrophe is used for the omission of numbers,
generally when stating years or time periods:
The Great Gatsby was set in the 20’s.
Columbus sailed the ocean blue in ’92.
Parentheses are used in sentences when you want to state an
idea clearly, but do not wish to interrupt the flow of the sentence.
The message inside the parenthesis could be left out of the sentence
and still be grammatically correct, but you want that particular
information included. Writers use these to stress an opinion or point
without distracting from the idea of the sentence. They help pack
extra information into a sentence or area that might normally be
There is one main rule to follow when using Parentheses. If
the sentence starts with opening parentheses, then terminal
punctuation marks must be inside the last parenthesis. The terminal
punctuation goes on the outside of the parentheses if the part
selected is only a partial sentence.
 Example 1: Tatiana ended up in Ireland. “(She never had any
desire to travel there.)” – Full sentence
 Example 2: “He spent all of last night writing a paper (8
hours).” – Partial sentence
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Be cautious not to overuse parentheses, it will make writing
appear poorly structured. Using two commas as a delimiter (a
delimiter specifies the boundaries between independent areas of
text) can sometimes replace having to use parentheses. Parentheses
can be used inside another set of parentheses (as shown below), but
is not a common practice is formal writing. Often, brackets will be
used to elaborate within a set of parentheses.
Example: Nesting phrases (inside of one set (such as this) for
an example).
Example: Jane went to the store to buy (butter, bread [whole
grain], meat, and cheese), but bought only donuts instead.
Dashes are used when there is a need for pause, they usually
involve moments of clarification, interruption, or additional detailing.
Please do not abuse the use of the dash with excessive appearances.
The dash is another tool to imply a certain amount of emphasis. It can
also imply a tone differentiation when spoken aloud. It could be a
moment of omission as well, to indicate a time span, or just to
indicate lack of speech. Each example allows for a certain amount of
emphasis to be portrayed within the sentence following the dash.
Compare and contrast these sentences read aloud and in silence to
appreciate the vocal value.
Here is the dash through means of stuttering:
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“Hi Reje- I-I-I don’t really know what to say to you-you-you
right now,…”
These examples include moments of interruption:
I can’t believe we are expected to keep track of all those
names – Harry, Wanda, Phillip – it just adds confusion.
If there was ever a moment in time – hey, Jane! Stop right
This is an example of a moment to add a question:
What do you think of my mom? – Did you like her?
The following is an example of a dash to indicate a time
I’m available from 3:30-6:45pm every Tuesday.
Here is an example of using a dash to include a list:
I keep track of lists in my head – dates, times, to-do’s –
that way if I forget, I have an excuse.
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Finally, another reason to use a dash is for clarification
within a sentence:
Busy – extremely busy – that’s my answer.
Please note that overusing the dash can become repetitive
and boring to a reader. However, to obtain a certain amount of
professionalism, dashes are not to be used excessively throughout
your work. In fact, the dash is commonly substituted with commas,
colons, semicolons, periods, quotations and other punctuation marks.
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The use of charts, graphs, and tables allow the writer to
incorporate visuals that illustrate the process or concept being
discussed. As was written about in the age section, UCF has a diverse
student body. Many are tech savvy and use computers every day for
school and in the work place, while others may have just started using
them. We use software every day such as:
 Word processors (e.g. Microsoft Word or Mac Pages)
 Spreadsheets (e.g. Excel or Numbers)
 Web browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) and,
 Operating systems (e.g. Microsoft Windows or Linux)
These are just a few of the many tools that are used to aid our
school work and our professional work. Since some UCF students
might be unfamiliar with these tools and how to use them to create
meaningful illustrations and graphs, let us start with the basics, lists
and tables.
A great way to lose words without losing the complete
message is to use a list or table. Lists allow the reader to see how
many items are being discussed and mentally check items off the list.
There are two main types of lists that are used: bulleted lists and
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numbered lists. Bulleted lists are mainly used when the order does
not matter while numbered lists tend to explain a sequence of steps
in a process.
Bulleted lists
Let us say you were to make a list that college students spend the
most money on. It would consist of textbooks, tuition, housing, food,
and socializing. Having it written as a sentence makes it harder to
scan and check to see if everything was picked up. When written as a
bulleted list, it makes it easier to scan, cleaner to read, and see
quickly see how many items there are.
 Textbooks
 Tuition
 Housing
 Food and,
 Socializing
Numbered lists
When creating a numbered list it is important to provide the steps
in the correct order. A person should be able to read one step, do it,
and find the next step easily when they come back to the list.
Numbered lists are like conservations between the writer and the
reader for tasks such as arranging travel, paying a bill, or buying a
product. Tasks sometimes require instructions; instructions imply
sequence, and sequence equals numbered steps (Redish 231). To
apply a list:
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1. Place the cursor where you would like to start the numbered
list and click on Numbering icon located under the paragraph
2. Type the first item in the list
3. Hit Enter, the next bullet or number will appear
4. Repeat step 3 as necessary
5. Hit Enter twice To stop using bullets or numbers
Numbered lists do not just have to be used when giving
instructions or explaining a sequence. For example they can be used
when giving a “Top 10 tips for…” or “5 keys to…” which are popular.
Most lists, like the examples above, keep the list short with no more
than ten items. Keeping a list to ten items or less, like a checkout line,
is best for unfamiliar items. If the list is familiar, such as a list of the
U.S. states, then it can be okay to leave the list as a whole and not
split it up since many people are familiar with them.
When you start a table it should have some sort of a pattern. It is
faster and easier to read a list when all the entries have the same
structure. For example, if you wanted to explain how to delete a
Twitter update, it would be easier if each step started with a verb
such as “log in” or “click”. When readers find a pattern they like to
keep with it, if you switch the pattern, it can throw them off and can
create confusion. Action verbs provide the user with steps and
directions and provide a sort of flow.
Tables, like lists, are a great way to drop words without losing
the message. Tables show the relationship between two or more
items or numbers. A table is a sort of “if, then” sentence, comparing
the first column “if” with the second (and other column) as the “then”
clause. You can also think of tables as answers to questions since the
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first column shows the main topic, and the following columns give
more details about the first column.
Tables are set up like sentences, read left to right just like
sentences on a page. You look at the first column to find the situation
then look at the row to find the information. With that in mind, the
table should be kept simple with only a few columns so that it can be
scanned quickly for important information instead of being studied.
For example, when you are ordering a computer, there are all
types of additions and changes that can be made. If you were
presented every option at once, you would be overwhelmed with all
the options to choose from. If you were to build a new computer you
could choose from many types of models and modify specific parts
such as:
 Motherboard
 Ram
 Video Card and,
 Case
With all the options available you want to focus on just one
aspect at a time. Once you choose the type of motherboard you
want, and would like and move onto the next option, a table should
keep track of your choices. With tables you should be able go to the
row labeled “Video Card” and go to the corresponding column and
see which choice you made.
As the last example shows, people like tables since they show
relationships along the row. Thinking about what questions or
reservations the reader has can help set up the table. You do not
have to directly use the question as a heading (e.g. what is his
name?); you can just make the heading “Name”. It answers the
question the reader has and it keeps the table short and organized.
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The format of the table is equally important to the
information inside the table. This is discussed in section x.x, but there
is one point that is important to keep in mind. When the table is
finished, do not center all the information. Aligning the text in the
center interferes with scanning the table and can make the
information very difficult to read. Keeping the alignment left allows
scanning to be easier as well as the overall look of the table
Figure 4.1 Centered text
Tables and charts are used for charting recorded information
inside a display. These displays can be recognized as charts, tables,
diagrams, graphs, grids, histograms, percentages, etc… Large quantity
data can be easily represented by a chart for equal and ease of
distribution. For example, the World Population can fall under the
large quantity category and using a growth history chart would be
perfect for it. Using this type of chart you will also be able to calculate
the growth rate percentage on how much growth the population has
maintained in any given year.
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Widely known charts:
 Bar, Line and Pie charts
o Bar Charts
o Bipolar Charts
o Horizontal Bar Charts
o Line Charts
o Pie Charts
o Scatter Charts
o Histogram Charts
o Flow Charts
Planning and Management charts
o Funnel Charts
o Gantt Charts
o Waterfall charts
There is a large variety of charts and most have very common
features such as the ability to display the data in a very functional
way. If a chart is not functional, than why use it? This is why we need
to represent the data on a chart graphically where the data is
organized. One way to create a chart is through Microsoft Excel, a
software program made for spreadsheets, financial data, and
graphing or charting data. The proceeding section describes two quick
ways to generate a chart in Microsoft Excel. If the resulting chart is
not what you are expecting you can always modify the chart as you
please. There is a Chart Wizard in Microsoft Excel that gives you
control on the creation of your chart.
1. Select the data that you want to chart.
2. Choose InsertChart
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3. Specify various options in Steps 1 through 4 of the Chart
4. Click Finish to create the chart.
This is the most convenient way to make a chart but if you like
you can make it from scratch. “Chart data can be preselected which is
not mandatory but will be easier to create in the Chart Wizard. The
second dialog box is where you can select the data if you missed it the
first time in the Chart Wizard” (J. Walkenbach, 2003, pp.44). Now that
you know how to create a chart I will then show you how they are
used. In an environment like a University campus there is much
quantitative data around that it is best to chart them all out.
Questions that come to mind are how big is the population? How
many freshmen vs. sophomores vs. juniors vs. seniors? Graduate
percentage? Grade scales? University program diagrams? These are
all great questions that charts can display to visually enhance the data
that is given.
Examples of charts in a university campus:
 Organizational charts – Program Diagram of Major
 Histogram – Freshmen registered vs. prior years
 Pie Chart – How many freshmen/sophomore/junior/senior
 Flow Chart – Classes left until graduation
 Line Chart – If grades increased or decreased
 Gantt Chart – Predicting deadlines
 Scatterplot Chart – Age of students
 Waterfall Chart – Meet expectations
 Pedigree Chart – Hierarchy
 Bar Chart – Cost of each term
 Area Chart – Average of students taking online or campus
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Funnel Chart – Books rented, books purchased, books
Tables and graphs
Tables or sometimes called graphs are visual data
representations. Tables are used to organize information to show
patterns and relationships. This can be shown as a table or shape if it
were a graph. In a campus environment for example, students in
research or scientific studies can use tables or graphs to report
findings of their research. It is also good to use if you need to support
your argument and suspected evidence in a report. The best way to
properly plan for a table is to make sure you do not misrepresent
your information as many will be looking at this data. For example,
data is tallied between one hundred males ages between 21-30 on
alcoholic drinking. 75% of males drink alcoholic beverages and the
other 25% say they do not. As it sits the data is there but it can be
misleading because we do not know the backgrounds of the males in
the group. Some of the males can be students and drink more than
males in a career environment or vice versa. So to represent the data
correctly it should be categorized in a table to give more accurate
feedback. Students will be able to quickly critique the data in the way
the data in the table is represented.
A table is sometimes called a chart, but this can confuse students and
the best way to recognize a table if it is in grid form. Grids are used
for charts also but it will not have many variables associated with a
chart vs. a table. Constructing a table has its purposes and mainly it is
to organize or investigate a sequence of characters. A way to
represent that data can be a report or graph. Being organized with
data will make constructing a table easier and will assist the person
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trying to comprehend and think about the data that is given. Using a
table in a University environment has many advantages, for example,
presenting numeric values in a report to the president. He or she can
have a brief overall aspect on the university just being able to look at
these types of tables. It also helps with comprehension and thinking
of what the data can mean or what can be done to alter them. Once
these tables are final the data can be investigated and then organized
for future use. Some limitations of tables are the difficulty to see
numerical relationships and patterns, hence why graphs are better to
be used.
The presentation of data that you prepare is only successful to
the degree that it communicates to your target audience and what is
intended. I cannot tell you whether charts or tables are better but
each has a better form of communication for the particular task. “In
the success of communication” says it best because without the
understanding there will never be knowledge (Rettie pp. 56).
Icons are used for many things but mostly as a representation of
something. That something can be a person, place, concept, or
object. Icons can create context to be properly understood and can
be easily identifiable. One of these icons with context could be the
magnifying glass [insert magnify glass icon] on your computer. It is
known that an actual magnify glass can make subjects bigger or
smaller by just moving the glass. By seeing an icon with the magnify
glass, you can assume it will zoom in or out. That is just one example
of a concept you must keep in mind when you are making or using an
icon. Icons are individual images that explain an action or concept (S
Hahn). When we look at the content in a manual, it is all about the
readability. In a nutshell icons can quickly sum up what your text is
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about. How fast to identify and relevant is the icon you are using so
the reader can get a grasp on what you are trying to tell them. Icons
are great to process information quickly and can help in several ways
to support your content.
 Quickly identify content
 Can draw attention
 Can increase readability
Icons Form of Communication
This brings up the point of icons can be used to communicate
to the readers. Icons were meant to be simple and intuitive, but at
times were not easy to understand. They are in fact just small
pictures that have color and subjects on it. Purpose and placement of
an icon is equally important as the reader reads on because when the
reader sees the icon he or she will hopefully understand and assume
what it stands for. In some manuals the overall aesthetic of the design
can be dull and introducing icons is a really great way to break up the
flat appearance and also have the usability benefits. They can add a
splash of color and a degree of polish and professional sophistication
that can really add a lot to a site’s overall feel. In the way of
communication, icons need to be implemented in the way of its
action. It is better to use icons for concrete actions than abstract ones
because with concrete actions you have clear objects to work with
that similarly represent an action.
With abstract actions you have to go out of your way to think
of an object that is commonly associated with an action. When you
finally think of one, you still run the risk of users interpreting it
differently. But if you add a unique element that resembles the
action, you all make the icons clear and intuitive. Using metaphors to
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create icons is another solution to give the readers a quick way to
associate the subject or content you are trying to explain. However,
this can sometimes backfire if the metaphoric image is not closely
associated with the action it represents. Building icons into a manual
allows you to take advantage of some recognized symbols such as an
“exclamation point” to describe quickly that something is important
on the page. An exclamation point can mean something that is very
important or the means of looking at it first before reading ahead.
Using these symbols will help convey meaning quickly and efficiently,
simply by the means of their universal recognition.
Consistency of Icons
In every professional manual or document one pattern is
always there and that is the consistency of its visual design and
layout. Consistency is one of the design principles that users naturally
expect in a design. By making your design look and behave
consistently you make it more understandable, more learnable and
thus more usable. This concept can also be used in the form of icons
in your manual hence why we need to make sure that they are all
consistent with each other. Icons can help provide a sense of
continuity of the manual especially one as technical as this one.
Manuals can have different layouts for different types of pages, and
the consistent use of the icons can help the reader locate and
understand similar content within those pages. Again, with the
exclamation mark example, designates something important on the
page, we can use that particular icon for different pages so we can
create a sense of unity throughout the manual and any identical icon
is used for that similar purpose.
Users do not just rely on how an icon looks to understand its
function but they also rely on the icon order and placement. [Image
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of icon order and placement] The uniform stroke lengths, uniform
surface area of the icons and the uniformly smooth rounded corners
make them visually consistent at a more detailed level. But for our
manual we will not go beyond the basic types of icons for budget
purposes only. By using icons that are this consistent you clearly
communicate to the user that you are a professional who cares about
user experience at far finer levels. I have found that nicely designed
icons can help with the overall aesthetic of a design, especially if the
manual or document does not use a lot of rich graphics in its pages
just like this technical manual we have created.
Icons are Important
Icons play a vital role in a manual. Even though they can be
quite small and might seem redundant, they play many different
roles. Icons can be a great way to bring essential content to the point.
They are a great attention grabber and they help a manual to find and
scan content. When you use icons for your own design, make sure
you base them on metaphors that people understand, or introduce
them together with more descriptive text. When you place icons in
your manual, keep the proximity principle in mind and group them
with content they relate to. Do not forget to define consistent sizes
and margins to keep your design clean.
Icons and images are used more frequently than ever before
to aid people in quickly finding and gathering information. Using
icons and images forces you to organize and verbalize your
information in a more structured, compact, and visual way. Icons and
images are evolving and becoming the dominant way of conveying
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Technical Writing for Visual Elements
One of the best ways to express our ideas is through writing is
through visual elements and graphs. Many writers know what it is
they want to say or express yet are not sure how to put it in writing.
Thus, when a process or description is difficult to explain or it needs
to be visualized, then charts, tables, pictures, graphs, and figures are
used. These graphics can distract a user’s attention from the main
information so it is important to remember not to use too many
graphics on one page, or else it will make the page look too
overwhelming or busy. It is equally important to not overload a table,
chart, or graph; this can discourage readers from look at the graphic
even if it is important to the topic at hand.
When applying a graphic to your paper, it should have a
purpose for being there. One should not add a graphic just to fill
empty whitespace. For example, if you were asked where the physics
building was on the UCF campus you might not know off hand. If
however you looked at a map, you could find it within a matter of
seconds. If instead you needed to log on to your email then directions
telling you where to go and what to click on would help more than an
image or graphic.
The old saying that, “Pictures are worth a thousand words” is true,
but they should follow a few rules:
1. Graphics make concepts easier to understand.
2. Color, fonts, and graphics can help the reader comprehend an
3. Graphics support and emphasize ideas.
4. Graphics should generate interest and attract attention.
5. Graphics are important and powerful when integrated with
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These rules allow the user to change the text and fonts so that the
graphic is understood clearly. If everything is the same size and color,
then the reader might not fully grip what you are trying to express.
However, if you put the most important parts in a slightly larger font
and (or) in a different color, it becomes easier to pick out the key
Many graphics have a specific “wordmark”; a wordmark is usually
a distinct text-only typographic treatment of the name of a company,
institution, or product name used for identification and branding
(Ephratt). One that everyone sees without much thought is the
Google wordmark
Figure 4.2 Google word mark
.The first “G” is blue followed by a red then yellow “o”, blue “g”,
green “l”, and finally a red “e”. Similarly, UCF has a wordmark of their
Figure 4.3 UCF image
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It has the “UCF” in gold and “Knights” in white all surrounded in
black. One of the best known is the Coca-Cola wordmark; everyone all
over the world recognizes it. It has been around since the late
eighteen hundreds and only changed slightly over all these years.
When there is a graph on the page it should be referenced in the
text somewhere on the same page so that the reader can match what
the text is saying with an image to reinforce the point. If there is a
random image that is not referenced in the text, then its importance
fades. Even if it makes a great point, with no text to explain what it is
showing, readers will just skim right over it.
Show steps and processes
If you were to explain to a friend how to build a bird house,
what would you say? You would first have to let them know what
materials they would be using, such as hammers, screwdrivers, and
knives. Once all the necessary items have been collected they can
build it, right? Well again, if you had no idea how to build a birdhouse
then you would want every step laid out in an orderly fashion. The
point is you need to show how each step is done with detailed
instructions and pictures to go along with it.
If you provide very detailed written instructions but do not
include an example using the instructions you have placed before the
user. Then it is up to their imagination to create its own image. An
experiment was preformed examining the efficacy of written
instructions to more specific example information. “In the six
experiments reported, most of the subjects consistently used the
example information and disregarded the instructions” (LeFevre). It
goes on to say then even when the instruction information was
stressed as very important, the example was weakened, but still used.
This experiment shows that subjects will read the instructions but not
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fully process them because they believe examples are more useful
and important.
Let us say you are trying to convince a class that sleep is
directly connected to grades and the more sleep you get the better
your grades would be. This sounds like a great claim, but how are you
going to convince them? You would first need to research a bit and
find some information to back your claim. Once you collected enough
information to convince your class to get more sleep each night, you
will need to provide concrete information and a graphic or two. One
way would be to make a chart showing the number of hours of sleep
to the average GPA (grade-point average) of students who receive
four or less and those who receive, six, seven, or eight+ hours of sleep
each night. To gain this information one could go around campus
asking each student their GPA and how long they sleep on school
nights; however, many students might not know their GPA off hand,
while others might lie about their grades or the amount they sleep.
Another way to gain this information is to look up researches that
have been conducted about this topic and merge the information you
find into one, so that two or more studies are integrated. “Research
indicated that short sleepers were more likely to be ambitious,
energetic, and psychologically healthy. Long sleepers were described
as nervous, self-critical, worriers and often depressed” (Kelly).
This example should not account for effects such as class
difficulty; studying or the lack thereof should only show the direct
effect of sleeping versus student GPA. While using a graphic is great
to provide an example it should also be noted that there are
guidelines when using them:
1. Know the purpose of the graphic
2. Check to see that the data is correct
3. Refer to the graphic in the text before the graphic is used
4. Consider where to place the graphic in the text
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5. Place graphics vertically
6. Keep graphics simple and uncluttered
7. Place titles and source documentation with the graphic
These rules can be used to help guide your process of choosing a
graphic and what should be included. These are the most important
aspects and will help to thoroughly explain each thought and process.
Black and white versus color
Illustrations, tables, charts, and graphs are great to use to give
the user a visual sample and allow for a more hands on model. A
visual illustration to complement oral instruction is desirable because
it facilitates learning and improves understanding of the subject
(Dwyer). Once you choose an image or graphic you want to use, then
you need to decide if it should be in color or in black and white. Now
you might be asking, does color matter for a graphic? It actually
matters as you will soon find out. If a table is made up primarily of
numbers then having it colored will not change the effectiveness of
the table. However, let us say it was an image of clothing then
colored illustrations would be more beneficial.
In a study in 1971 measured student perceptions of the
effectiveness of black and white to that of colored illustrations, nine
groups were studied: half with black and white illustrations of the
human heart, the other half colored. Each group was asked multiple
questions before, during, and after the experiment. In general the
groups found that black and white illustrations did not effectively
emphasize the important details of the subject and colored
illustrations would have functioned better (Dwyer). As you can see
from this example the use of colored illustrations works better for
instructional learning and provides clearer insight.
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Does this mean that all illustrations should be in color
including tables and graphs? Again, no, that is not the case. Deciding
whether or not color is best is all situational; as shown in the previous
example, colored illustrations worked better and helped to
emphasize the important details. Tables and charts are the same way.
Let us say we are making a graph showing the amount of sleep
students get on average during the school week. We can easily make
a line graph presenting the information and it can be displayed in
black and white. Making this graph colored will not change the
effectiveness of it since all the essential details are shown.
Why not make it a table? Well, if you are unsure when to use
tables, graphs, or charts I would refer you to the Tables and Charts
section (x.x) of this manual for more information at this time.
The way an image looks can make or break it. If the image is too
messy, in the fact if it is much unorganized or if it is too overloaded,
then the readers may avoid reading it; the same holds true for black
and white or colored illustrations. When deciding when color is best
used in the tables, charts, and illustrations consider:
 If color will effectively emphasize details
 The colors should relate to the topic in appropriate ways
 What the colors should look like when produced in the final
As with the colored picture of the human heart, it allowed the study
participants to have a better detailed illustration and provided more
depth into the subject.
When producing a manual or even a paper it is important to think
about the cost of printing. With many research papers you will print it
in black and white since no illustrations or graphics were used, and it
is cheaper. However when writing a manual such as this, it is
important to decide if none, some, or all illustration and graphics will
be colored to keep it constant throughout the entire manual. If you
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are doing a group project, then choosing what action to take is not a
one-man job; it should be discussed with everyone involved since it
will affect the overall cost of the project.
Adobe Photoshop
Visual elements are considered a strong element in the overall
design of a technical manual. It distinguishes the look, feel, emotion
of any manual. Visual elements are directly connected to photo
editing tools also called image manipulation tools. The growing
importance in this design is to know exactly how to use these photo
editing tools. A few of the main photo editing tools currently offered
are Adobe Photoshop, Corel Paint Shop Pro, Google Picasa, and Apple
Aperture. The photo editing tool that is widely used is Adobe
Photoshop which was introduced in the 1990s but was created in the
1980s without a public release. Photoshop offers a set of powerful
tools and easy-to-use panels that let you perform all kinds of image
editing, from simple to complex, hence why it is so popular amongst
the masses (Botello). Before editing tools like Photoshop it was
difficult to alter or modify an image to create the final image.
Another reason for Photoshop is because before its incarnation digital
image retouching on dedicated high end systems can be costly and in
most cases very costly. Using images in a technical manual will not
only need to pertain to the subject but should also fit the wording of
the technical manual. Photoshop has an array of tools that you can
use to create an image from scratch. There is a learning curve to any
photo editing tools and Photoshop is no exception. A good example
of using the Adobe Photoshop program is to create realistic
photographs. You can create layers in the main menu and merge
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multiple photos together to blend in the colors and sharpness you
want with that photo. Professionals in the industry of entertainment
would use Adobe Photoshop to make unrealistic photos of current
models and actors/actresses by using the same technique as above.
Currently Adobe Photoshop CS6 costs $699USD retail and if you are a
student you can grab the bargain price of $299USD. Adobe
Photoshop came a long way and quickly became the industry
standard in digital color and image editing.
Corel Paint Shop Pro
Corel Paint Shop pro is also very popular because it has been
around for as long as the Adobe version and competes directly with it.
Compared to Adobe Photoshop it is considered a low-cost alternative
which does most of what Adobe Photoshop does. As a photo editing
tool it is good compared to its rivals and offers more than the free
options throughout the internet. Some of the new features that it
currently has are Face Filter which is a portrait editor that can modify
someone’s facial features. This particular editor takes you through
the face and can edit one’s eyes, nose, mouth, jawline, and forehead.
Also that can be had with this software is to apple a makeover which
can make any male or females skin silk smooth. Again this is not
particular strong software it will offer many filters that free photo
editing tools will come with. Some of those filters are lomo, sepia,
vignettes, softness, and blemish corrections. Lomo is colorful analog
type photos, sepia is the brownish hue seen in monochrome photos,
vignettes fades into its background without a definite border,
softness creates the soft focus within the photo, and blemish
correction can fix a blemish by altering the selection and creating one
without the negative connotation. Another reason to use Corel Paint
Shop Pro is to take advantage of their selection feature. You can
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select a selection which subtracts that subject from the image than
transpose that selection to another image erasing it from the original.
For example, if you wanted a picture of your house to be on top of
the moon. You can get a picture of your house and a picture of the
moon and select your house to be transposed to the picture on the
moon. Even though it cannot compete with Adobe Photoshop as far
as sales it is a good one to use if you need to create or modify images
quickly and within a reasonable price point. The price to own Corel
Paint Shop Pro is a low $79.99USD.
Google Picasa
A free photo editing alterative to the ones mentioned
about is Google’s version of photo editing that is called Picasa. Picasa
started out like any other free software a photo editing tool a editing
tool that gave you quick edits and filters which altered your image.
Again because the software is free and is owned by the popular
company Google many people will be using the software. Some uses
for Picasa is organization, for example organizing albums throughout
your hard drive. Another feature is to label and star your photos so
you know exactly what that photo means to you. An example would
be creating a holiday album and renaming the photos in that album
“Thanksgiving Photos” or “Holiday Photos”. Editing and fixing photos
is very easy with this software which can crop, fix red eye, straighten
photos, adjust color, and apply filters like film grain or soft focus with
a touch of a button. Picasa is currently in their version 3.9 which
provides new name tags with Google+, new photo editing effects, and
side by side editing. Again, the cost of Google’s Picasa Photo Editing
Tool is free of charge.
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Apple Aperture
Apple has become a big authority when it comes to device
usage and their software has also made an impact because of it. A
few people know about Apples photo editing tool which is called
Aperture. Apple has been making versions of Aperture since 2005
and is now in their 3rd version more widely known as Aperture 3. This
software has in most common with the photo editing tool Adobe
Photoshop. More and more people are using it for post-production
use and are popular with Pros like producers, cinematography, and
photography. Why do these Pros use it you might ask? It is mostly
because their main photo editing machine is made by Apple. That
does not say that Aperture does not hold its own in the real world
because it can and some people actually prefer it than any other postproduction editing software. Users that like or want to move up from
Apple’s free iPhoto software usually move up to Aperture. The actual
software offers good organizational tools, face recognition for photos,
geo-location, support for iCloud, and photo streaming to name the
main features. For organization Apple uses Smart Albums which can
specify contents which are controlled by the criteria the setting it is
in. Face recognition can be recognized with like and similar faces and
can be tagged as that particular person. Geo-location is tagged within
the image so you know exactly where that photo has been taken.
iCloud the online digital storage compartment Apple likes to you use
for their customers. Apple does not include this software with their
current OS and can be bought from their website via digital download
for $79.99USD currently version 3.4.5.
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The budget is a very important part of any project that
requires printing, and this style manual is no exception. The budget is
required by any project to get it off the ground and into the
implementation stage. The implementation stage is the point at
which you get the “go ahead” and can begin work. When you begin to
create a budget you need a plan of attack. An approach that is
frequently used is called the “Phased Gate Estimating”. This allows
immediate actions for upcoming events to be foreseen, as opposed to
actions that will happen in the distant future: “For example you
probably know what you are doing this weekend, but do not know
what your plans a weekend a year from now” (Phillips 111-118).
Many project failures are due to a failure to plan properly, you cannot
wait for bad things to happen and then fix them because it becomes
too costly.
For most projects you will do during your academic career, you
will be working with other students to complete various tasks and
assignments. Most times for a project you are assigned a section or
portion of the work, research that topic, and write about what you
find. There is no real labor cost since the assignment is required by
your professor or teacher, and turned in on a specific date. If it takes
you one week to gather all the information, while another part takes
only a few days, the cost to produce the material does not change.
Once it has however reached the time to print the document,
manual, or tutorial, then the estimation from the project managers
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 184
(professor) comes into the equation. The overall cost to produce it
can vary depending on:
 Type of paper used
 Black and white color
 Type of binding
 Illustrations
Let us use this style manual for example; we want the students
and facility here at UCF to use this manual to guide them when
producing work ranging from research papers to a tutorial on using an
iPhone. The type of paper should be light enough so it is not a chore
to carry around, but strong enough to take some wear and tear. The
size of the paper also needs to be small so that you can use the
manual when working at a computer and not take up the entire desk.
You read in the previous section the differences to using colored
versus non-colored illustrations; deciding which to use will also affect
the production cost. The type of binding it has should allow the
reader to stay on the intended page and not constantly close. The
amount of illustrations in any book, manual, or tutorial will increase
the length of the overall project and thus increase the expense on
printing. All these topics should be discussed amongst group
members and an agreement should be made prior to printing so that
everything is not last minute. For more details about different types
of bindings or paper types then look at section (x.x).
When working on projects in the industry you will work on
projects as well; however, productivity is only as high as eighty
percent. The other twenty percent is lost due to fatigue, personal
time (such as breaks), and delays (Heagney). It is important to
remember this so that you provide enough time to get the project
completed, even if it is a school assignment.
V i s u a l E l e m e n t s a n d G r a p h i c s | 185
Work Cited
Botello, Chris. “Adobe Photoshop CS5 Illustrated”. Boston, MA:
Course Tech / Cengage
Learning, c2011. Print
Dwyer, Francis M. "Student Perceptions Of The Instructional
Effectiveness Of Black & White And Colored Illustrations." The
Journal Of Experimental Education 1 (1971): 28. JSTOR Arts &
Sciences VI. Web.
Ephratt, Michael. "Word marks: Economic, legal and linguistic
entities." International Journal
for the Semiotics of Law 9.3 (1996): 257-286.
Heagney, Joseph. Fundamentals of project management. AMACOM
Div American Mgmt Assn, 2011.
Kelly, William E., Kathryn E. Kelly, and Robert C. Clanton. "The
relationship between sleep
length and grade-point average among college students."
College student journal 35.1
(2001): 84-86.
LeFevre, Jo-Anne, and Peter Dixon. "Do written instructions need
examples?." Cognition and
Instruction 3.1 (1986): 1-30.
Phillips, Joseph. IT Project Management: On Track from Start to
Finish. 3ed ed. Glyph International, 2010. 111-118. Print.
Redish, Janice. Letting Go of the Words. 2ed Ed. Waltham: Elsevier,
2012. 231. Print.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 186
Rettie, Ruth.The Verbal and Visual Components of Package Design”,
Journal of Product & Brand
Management. Vol 9, pp. 56-70
S Hahn, Samuel. System for Organizing Document Icons with
Suggestions, Folders,
Drawers. Patent 1998.
Walkenbach, John. Excel Charts, Indianapolis: Wiley, c2003. Print
P a g e E l e m e n t s a n d D e s i g n L a y o u t | 187
The key to making your writing look good is something you do
not even think about. Spacing has become a necessary element in our
writing and today, all text is published by machines that allow you to
adjust the spacing between each paragraph, line, word and even
letter. This optimization allows one to get the maximum amount of
words on each page, which in turn keeps printing costs low. Microsoft
Word is a perfect example of this, because its default settings make
use of this optimization, by using as little space as needed between
words while still providing a clear optical break between each aspect
(Alred, Oliu, and Brusaw, 172).
There are three different types of spacing that all writing is
affected by:
1. Spacing between letters
2. Spacing between words
3. Spacing between lines
The amount of space between letters, letter space, is a default
setting on word documents which changes depending on the letter
and if it is capital or lowercase font. This ensures that all text looks
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uniform and allows for easier reading. Another aspect involved in
letter spacing is a process called kerning. Kerning takes the space
between specific letters, numbers, and symbols pairs to create a
more hand written look, which is less straining on the eye (Kramer,
51). Letters such as V or A are just two examples of letters that allow
for easy kerning modifications.
Spacing between words is another element that causes a
document to make or break. The default setting and the traditional
amount of word space used is a lowercase letter i. For example:
Onceiaiknight,ialwaysiaiknight – Uses the letter i, instead of
Once a knight, always a knight – Uses spaces
As you can see, both sentences are the same length while one uses
the letter i and the other the traditional space. This structure of
spacing allows us to write without having papers containing rivers of
white space. White space rivers occur when the spacing between
words in a document fluctuate. This causes reading to be challenging
and distracting. The length of each line should generally be about 40
to 60 characters long, but this depends on the font that is being used
(Kramer, 50).
The final type of spacing involves lines and paragraphs.
Spacing between lines is always changing depending on what type of
writing you are doing. The default setting on word processors is single
spaced, but can be changed to one-and-a-half or double spaced under
the paragraph option.
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Figure 5.1 Word paragraph options
There are three different types of margins to use in writing:
justified, ragged right, and right-justified. Justified margins, (centered)
are where the text is positioned between both sides of the page.
Ragged right margins, (flush left text) are where the text is lined up on
the left evenly, while the right is jagged. Right-justified, (flush right
text) is where the text is lined up on the right evenly, while the left
side text is jagged.
This difference between the different margins is as follows:
A picture is worth a thousand words. – Justified (centered)
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A picture is worth a thousand words. – Ragged Right (flush left)
A picture is worth a thousand words. – Right-justified (flush right)
Justified text is used in documents that have multiple columns
or small column widths, such as flyers, brochures and newspaperstyle columns (Alred, Oliu, and Brusaw, 175). Studies show that
children and older adults best perform when there is only one line of
text or when the text is ragged right (Wheeler, 29). It also shows that
ragged right is useful to track the text and keep your place while
reading (Kramer, 43). While all three types of margins are useful, it
depends on the type of document you are writing and how long the
line will be. Generally, justified text is used for newspapers, ragged
right is used for college research papers, and right-justified in any
document with columns. This being said, using justified margins for
short sentences causes the spacing to be thrown off and can create
white space rivers, as previously explained. Right-justified documents
are uncommon in the English language because we read left-to-right.
Arabic and Hebrew on the other hand read right-to-left and use rightjustified for the same reasons we use ragged right. This type of
margin, when used in the English language, mostly displays important
information at the top of the document such as a company name,
page number, or a previously stated title.
The size of the margin also comes into play when needing to
bind it together. The default setting for word processor provides a
one inch margin all around with a half inch indent for paragraphs.
Documents being bound together use wide inner margins so the text,
after being bound, aligns with the center of the page. One should add
a quarter of an inch to the inner margin when having it bound to
account for this offset of text.
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Designing the layout of the document is important even
before you begin writing. Having an idea of what your writing will
look like on paper beforehand, allows for ease down the line. To do
this, one must know who the document is intended for and what the
objective of the document is. Knowing this allows him or her to
address the audience correctly and format it accordingly (Kidd).
Previously, to format the placement of text, she had to use the space
bar repeatedly. Today, word processors have standards that structure
the pages and he can use the tab function to help control it. The tab
function allows an indent or a separation between or before text,
mostly used at the start of paragraphs. This function in word
processor is set to be equivalent to five spaces, although it can be
Text can be positioned on a page, in multiple ways, each
providing benefits of their own. One method is having a page
completely filled with text. This allows the writer to get as many
words as possible onto the page, like this current page. The next one
is to divide the page in half and break the writing into two columns to
providing whitespace. You can also divide the page into thirds
creating three columns of writing, like newspapers. The final method
is to only write on half the page, leaving either the top / bottom or
left / right empty, for any illustrations to be added (Alred, Oliu, and
Brusaw, 183), as the next page demonstrates. A mixture of these
methods can be combined to provide the maximum optical
appearance of the document.
A great example of this method optimization is the
newspaper. Today, newspapers provide stories that include pictures
incorporated into a page with several columns surrounding it. Studies
have shown that the design of a newspaper makes it look better
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visually, as well as make it easier to read (Utt, 879). Newspapers from
all around the world were examined and found that over 85% of the
newspapers use a 6-column front page which is connected to an
increase in reading speed (Utt, 880-1). Most documents written for
technical use, on the other hand, will normally only contain one or
two columns to providing the reader with as much information as
Figure 5.2 Newspaper format options
Type of Paper
The biggest factor that goes into printing a book, a magazine
or a newspaper, is the cost. The more pages a book has, the more
money it will cost to publish. The cost to publish though depends on
what you are printing it on or in other words, the type of paper. The
different types of paper can be divided up into three sections:
 Size and Weight
 Durability
 Grade
The size and weight of paper will actually depend on the type
of document you are making. For example, this manual is 7 by 8.5
inches with a quarter of an inch added the left margin. There is also
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the size of a printing paper which is 8.5 by 11 inches, which is the
default page setting for MS Word.
Figure 5.3 Page setup
The second aspect is paper weight, which is based off the type
of paper, as in printer, glossy or photo paper and is measured in
either 500 or 1000 sheets (Alred, Oliu, and Brusaw, 194). This weight,
based off the size, determines the price that suppliers will charge.
Most suppliers and publishers will provide a sample of the document
to show the intended finished product before producing multiple
The durability of a document is also important especially if it is
going to be referred to frequently. Cotton fibered paper is a good
idea here because it is designed to help hold the paper together
without smudging or tearing. Coated paper, on the other hand, allows
for sharper and denser images to be used, but can cause the paper to
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reflect overhead light causing reading to become difficult (Alred, Oliu,
and Brusaw, 194). This being the most reliable option, it increases the
cost but allows for a longer lasting product.
The final aspect of paper is the grade. Paper grade is defined
by the paper’s weight, coating, and similarities in uses (Alred, Oliu,
and Brusaw, 194). There are several different grades of paper ranging
in size and usefulness. Most pages though are size 25 by 38 inches
and would be cut down for use later, like text, book, and coated
paper. For example, bond paper, which is normally 17 by 22 inches, is
cut down to 8.5 by 11 inches and used as standard printing paper for
business letters and forms (Alred, Oliu, and Brusaw, 194).
While all the effort in creating a document goes into writing
the actual text, the process of picking a type of paper to print it on is
exhausting. Picking from how big the page should be, to how durable
one wishes it to be, causes the price of the final product to vary. As
stated above, it is always a good idea to get a sample of the final
document from the publication company to review before printing
what could be multiple wasted documents.
Bindings are essential for keeping information together in a
protected manner. The only problem is to find the correct way of
doing so. For instance, if you are writing a document that keeps being
reviewed and updated with new information, one does not want to
use a permanent binding such as glue or sewn binding when
information needs to be changed or moved around. This being said,
there are a handful of bindings that can be used, each with a specific
 Glued
 Mechanical
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Wire-stitched and thread-sewn
Glue binding, also known as the perfect binding, is one of the
most used bindings for books today. A glued binding is when edges of
the paper are ground together until they can hold glue. Then, the
cover is attached with the glue from the pages to create the finished
product. The problem with glue bindings is, the bindings are easily
broken by the spine and end up needing to be replaced or repaired as
they age. While a book might use a glued binding, the method in
application, from one book to another, is different even though the
end product is the same (Funazaki, 7-8). This is due to the type of
paper being used and if the publisher wishes to add a thread-sewn
binding to it down the line, which will be talked about shortly.
Mechanical bindings involve the use of metal rings or plastic
loops. This type of binding is usually used for hole punched papers
and documents that are constantly being revised, like manuscripts.
The permanent mechanical method is useful in holding together
documents that are used for repair jobs to prevent pages from
getting loose (Alred, Oliu, and Brusaw, 192). You can imagine this
being like a folder or 3 ring binder, allowing for pages to be added or
removed throughout the document with ease.
One last way to bind a document is with a wire-stitched or
thread-sewn binding. Wire-stitched bindings are popular in
information booklets and manuals, which punch wires from the front
cover to the back like a staple would (Alred, Oliu, and Brusaw, 194).
This method also uses coils as a binding like a spiral notebook.
Thread-sewn bindings are generally the most expensive type of
binding and are used for a finished look. This method, as the name
suggests, sews the pages together, and then glues the paper binding
together to a hard or soft cover (Alred, Oliu, and Brusaw, 194). This
can be seen with any book and like the glue binding, will eventually
break and need to be repaired.
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As well, some bindings are created for a specific theme. The
binding will represent the story and connect the reader to the
character or setting. An example of this is when Funazaki
rediscovered a picture he drew of a little man holding a door hinge as
a book, which ended up resembling the story and used this theme to
create his own binding (Funazaki, 14). Each binding consists of
different materials and allows for the finished product or the ongoing
work of a product to stay protected.
Cover page
A cover page is more than a protective shell to hold the pager
together. It is a canvas in which the writer or writers can express an
emotional or representational picture. This being said, the cover
should represent the organization as well as what is being written.
Poorly designed coves can cause the reader to be put off. As the
saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and yet the initial visual
reaction can make or break the reader’s interest. An example would
be when Jon Gray was choosing the covers for Günter Grass’s novels.
As he was flipping through the stacks of pictures to choose from for
one of the covers he stumbled across a picture of a drummer boy and
it instantly reminded him of his childhood being in his parent’s library.
Most large organizations tend to use specific colors or icons
for covers to relate the two together. UCF for instance has the knight
holding a sword as the icon and black and gold as the colors. Our
cover uses both of these together to help relate this manual to UCF
members. Another aspect of the cover page is the title. All writing is
given a name to identify it by which should be found on the front
cover, if it is a book, or at the top of the page, like newspapers. We
use this by adding in the words “UCF” into the title of the manual.
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Other information that a cover might include can be name or
logo of the organization. This is again, something we used to help
identify this as a style guide made by and for UCF students. Another
piece of information that can be included on the cover is the
publication information, but many will provide this information on
the inside cover (Alred, Oliu, and Brusaw, 194).
Covers convey a wide variety of information to the reader.
Those created professionally can cause the reader to think highly of
the material, while those created poorly can cause the reader to
continue the search for something more appealing. This being said, a
professional cover does not have to include a fancy picture or a
hidden message to be found later in the novel. Covers also tell the
reader who it is by or where it was created. All of this information is
used together to link the reader towards the reading or towards the
organization in which it came from.
The typography of a word is described by how the word
appears. There are several aspects that come into play when talking
about how words look. That of:
 Typeface
 Size
 Font
Each aspect has a handful of elements that create the words we read.
In Microsoft Word you can change each one to create a desired look.
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Figure 5.4 Microsoft-Font
Typeface is described as the design of the words. The most
commonly known typefaces include Times New Roman, Verdana, and
the newest default setting to Microsoft Word, Calibri. While there are
hundreds of different typefaces to choose from, the legibility of each
one changes. Legibility is the ease in which the document can be read
(Hurley, 54). Some factors that cause a loss in legibility include
unneeded whitespace, special features on letters, like italics or bold
face, and the point-size. Another aspect that typeface includes the
use of serif and sans serif type. A serif is a small line that is attached
to the end of letters, while sans serif does not include the extra
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Figure 5.5 Serif vs. San serif typeface
This small difference between letter strokes has been shown to
increase the reading speed for those with serif typefaces (Josephson,
70). This is due to the fact that the serif typeface creates a base line
that essentially pulls the readers eye across the line.
The second aspect to deal with is the size of the font. The
default setting in Microsoft Word is 11-point and can be changed
when needed. For the use of this manual, we use 23-point size for
level one headings, 15-point for level two headings, 14-point for level
three headings, and use 12-point for the body text. Point-size is the
height of letters which is based off what is known by x-height. Xheight is size in which the bodies of all letters sit in a line, eliminating
ascenders, letters that extend above the x-height like h, and
descenders, letters that extend below base like y (Snider). A key thing
to note when changing point-size is to keep the readability the same.
Sizes that are to small cause readers to strain when reading, while
sizes that are to big cause their reading speed to decrease
dramatically, so it is best to stick with 10, 11 or 12 point-size font. A
study proved this by concluding, when using fonts ranging from 6point to 10-point, the larger 9 and 10-point size fonts produced faster
reading times (Josephson, 70).
The final aspect to talk about concerning typography is font.
Font is a combination of both the typeface and the point size that is
used. There are some additional features though that allow the visual
aspect to change, with the use of bold, italics, and underlined text.
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These three elements help draw the reader’s attention or provide a
noticeable change in style. This manual uses the bold feature with our
second level headings as well as with any in text notes. While these
options are useful at grabbing the reader’s attention, they should be
used sparingly. The use of too many is distracting.
Together the typeface, point size, and font changes the text of
the document is created. Having an idea of who your audience is
beforehand allows for the use of specific typeface and point sizes to
connect to the audience a little more. For instance, UCF’s logo uses
Americana typeface while the “Stands For Opportunity” phrase uses
HTF Gotham ("Design: Color, Typography and Layout"). This idea can
be transformed and used for personal or company representation for
easy recognition. While both of these typefaces would be a good idea
for short sentences, long sections of text would be difficult to read
because of their features.
Page size
The size of a page depends upon the height and width of a
page. The default setting for Microsoft Word is 8.5 by 11 inches. This
is 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches tall and can be changed under the
“Page Setup” options. While the default length is useful for research
documents, charts and handbooks require different dimensions. The
purpose of the document and the environment, which it will be used
in, will change the intended size as well as the size of the text. A page
that will be posted on a wall of a building, for easy access to
information or quick reference, needs to be large enough to be seen
from a distance. Handbooks and manuals, on the other hand, are
used to accomplish a task in detail and should be smaller in size. This
style manual is 7 by 8.5 inches to allow readers to place it in their lap,
and for easy readability.
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When choosing the size of a paper or document, one should
be mindful of whom the intended audience will be. If the intended
audience is a teaching or teacher assistant who will be grading your
paper, you should use a standard size, 8.5 by 11 inch page, or make it
to the specifications given. If the intended audience is the general
public on the other hand like for newspapers, the size will differ
between publishers. A study was taken comparing 100 different
newspapers and they found that there was no standard size
While the page size of a document depends on what it will be
used for, one has to remember that it needs to be formatted for the
specific job and large enough to read. These specifics also play a role
in the budget. The stranger the dimensions, the more the end
product will cost. Most small dimensions are easy for publishers to
produce thus costing less, due to the fact they can cut the standard
8.5 by 11 inch paper down to the specified length.
The signal of a new section can be made easy with the use of
headings. Headings help divide a document into sections and give a
heads-up on what is to come. This manual uses a handful of different
headings to help readers navigate their way through the chapters to
find the information they are looking for with ease. We have level one
headings used to indicate a new chapter, level two headings use for
the start of a new section, and level three headings used for
subsections. While there are more than three heading levels, the use
of each one should be used only when needed.
The use of headings provides an optical break in information
and allows readers to scan documents for specific sections. The use of
too many headings however, can cause confusion and make the
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reader think it is more of an overview. On the other hand, the use of
too few headings can cause the reader to read unneeded sections of
information. The optical break that headings provide is caused by the
text placement and the font size change in information. When
implementing a heading, make sure that there is one or more of the
following used:
 Increase in font size
 Use of whitespace
 Bold or Underlined
 Centered or left aligned
With the use of these, headings will become increasing more
noticeable. People are excellent at noticing changes in optical flow,
allowing us to predict where breaks in content will occur (Florian, and
Heiko). This being said, you should keep the same format at each
heading level you are using consistent. Changing the look of the same
heading level may causes readers to think it is a new topic and thus
skipping over it.
Headers and Footers
Headers along with footers are sections on the page that are
useful for many things. Ultimately, they are used to hold information
at certain places on the page. Headers however are necessary for
keeping information at the top of the page, and footers are
responsible for the bottom. There are two main reasons why it will
be helpful or necessary to have a header or footer. One aspect that
makes either of them useful is keeping certain information
constant. A "running head" or "running foot" is something that will
keep the information at the top or the bottom respectively. An
example of this would be a page number. Page numbers can be at
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the bottom of the page in certain cases, but more or less if you want
to make sure that the reader has an easier grasp of where they are
within a book, the top is normally chosen.
If the page number is placed on the top, keeping it in the right
position for odd pages and left for even pages will make it easier for
the reader to see it. Another thing that makes having a header useful
would be whenever you need to place something at the beginning or
at the end of a document. By doing this, you will be able to make
certain things that are necessary, available to the reader, because it
may not be relevant to the reader while they are reading the manual.
Making sure that the reader has access to the page number is
important for any book. In general this manual is a prime example of
the importance of inserting page numbers in the correct
way. Referencing a section or location within a book has become a
standard for users. For certain documents, you have the option to
make the first page different from the rest of the document. This
allows you to do many more things to a document. For instance, you
can make the page number appear at the top, bottom, front, back, or
even positioned to the left or right. Even and odd page differentiation
is also an option to keep the book organized. If you ever need more
than a simple page number for a document, adding a header or
footer would save you a lot of time and frustration. You will not have
to keep adding the page number or repeated text to every page. As
you type, the header or footer will continually add the material for
A very common tool that is used in the header specifically would
be a letterhead. Writing a letter is made much easier by the aspect of
keeping it in place. It is normally at the top away from the rest of the
text. This makes it noticeable and out of the way. It being in the
header also prevents the text from being pushed down as you type.
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In most word processing softwares, there is a way to create a
header and footer. Knowing where it is located and how to use it can
save a lot of time down the road. Anything can essentially be placed
within a header or footer. Most of the time text will be the main
thing that will be placed within the header or the footer. Graphics
and tables can also be placed within it, if there is a situation that
requires it. You are also not confined to the header and footer area
alone, this is possible by changing the wrapping of graphics or text
boxes. This method can be used to make a watermark on a page. A
watermark is something that will appear behind the normal body text
throughout the document. Watermarks are normally used to protect
the original owner of a piece of work by making sure that they receive
credit. You can also use the page number button in the header and
footer section to insert a page number on the side margin, instead of
being at the top or the bottom of the page.
Figure 5.6 Watermark being used
There are many different options for headers and footers. In
Microsoft Word, the header and footer toolbar includes many built in
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header and footer presets. Many more can be downloaded in order
to find ones that meet your preference.
It is important to understand that too much content within
the header or footer can make the document seem unorganized. In
order to maintain a high sense of professionalism, include only crucial
information to avoid clutter. Using a horizontal line or rule, as a
border can be used to separate the header or footer from the rest of
the content, this addition is completely optional.
Graphic placement
There are many things that you can do with a graphic on a
page. Placement however is one of the most important things to
consider when you want to include a graphic to complement your
content. You can place a graphic anywhere on the page, but it is
important to place it in a reasonable place. The sizes of the margins
are also important to consider when you want to include an
image. You have to make sure that the images that you include are
uniform throughout whatever kind of document that you are putting
together. If the images are too small or too big, this will decrease the
usability and professionalism of the document. You want to make
sure that the reader is able to flow between each section of the
content with as little hindrances as possible. You will normally add
large graphics to show detail and small graphics to supplement an
idea within the text.
Normally every graphic that is used within one document is
about the same size as the rest used in the document. This aspect of
continuity maintains the visual element as well. This also makes it
look like the document was not hastily pieced together. Make sure
that you use each graphic in the right location. You do not want to be
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talking about dogs and end up having a picture of a cat, it just does
not work.
If it is absolutely necessary to place a graphic where it has the
possibility of being misconstrued, always make sure that it is labeled
and captioned accordingly. This will make is easier for the reader to
associate the content with the graphic, wherever it may be within the
Adding graphics can improve your content considerably if
used correctly. Graphics tend to make a document much more
visually appealing and can help keep your audience interested as they
read. Graphics can also hinder your document if they are used in the
wrong way. If they are used too frequently, they can draw the
attention away from the reader. Adding graphs or charts can also
help supplement your content and summarize the key points for the
There are many terms that can be used to describe a location
on a page. Understanding each term will make it easier to tell
someone where you would prefer to have certain graphics placed on
a page. Horizontal and vertical positions on a page can be used to
give text descriptions to specific locations. For example positions can
be left center, center center, right center, center bottom, and center
top. Using a specific language that is constant throughout document
will make it easier when communicating with your team. If the
graphic is educational or strictly for entertainment, that will normally
determine where it will be relevant.
When determining where you want to place your graphic,
making a sample document can help you decide where you want to
place something within it. In the sample document, the use of
“Lorem Ipsum” or placeholder text can give you an idea how the final
document will look. You will be able to adjust anything within the
document to meet your team’s exact specifications.
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Another thing that you have to consider when placing graphics
within a document is the acquisition of material. Where do you get
the content or information that you want to place within your
document? If you are not the owner of the images or do not come up
with information that you used within your graphs or charts, you have
to make sure that you cite it to give credit to the original owners of
said material. The citations can be within a caption for each
individual material that is acquired or included at the end of the
document within a bibliography. If the material is your original work
you can just state that it is original material. If the content that you
include in your document is within public domain like the American
flag for instance, it is not required to cite where you get it, because
many things are common knowledge and therefore it is not necessary
to say who the original artist or author of said material is.
Placing graphics in a document is dependent upon many
factors and falls under the discretion of the authors of the document
being produced. Decisions will have to be made to determine if
certain graphics will ultimately help or harm whatever is trying to be
accomplished by the document. Research and eventual mastery will
help any aspiring content developer produce admirable documents.
Text Descriptions and Captions
Having text descriptions or captions to supplement your
material can improve the quality of your work in the long run. Simply
adding content without describing what it is being used for with text
descriptions can usually hinder the message that you are trying to get
across. One example of this happening is the possibility of your
pictures or graphs being associated with the wrong concept being
talked about. Captions can also help you make your work more
effective. When the reader of your material is directed to an image,
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for example, having text under the image can help the reader
understand why it is relevant to the point that you are trying to get
across. Captions can also be used to tell a person the emotional
experience that can go along with the material. Captions are usually
text bubbles you see at the side of a document; they are helpful, but
not necessary.
Text descriptions usually are used whenever you need
additional content to help you give more detailed descriptions or
examples. It is important to know when and where to include text
descriptions. Having too many or not enough could actually end up
making it harder to get your point across. Having many text
descriptions in succession can confuse the reader. If you end up
causing the reader to be interrupted too many times, they can either
become overwhelmed or decide to stop reading. You may even
prevent the reader from understanding what you were trying to say
in the first place. If you are trying to provide instructions or describe
an event, having text descriptions will be very helpful. Describing
difficult concepts usually is much easier to do when you have material
that can supplement what you are trying to say. Having too few
when one is needed can make the reader have to rely on their own
conception of the concept and it can end up being misconstrued. You
do not have to have many, but at least one text description describing
each concept will help the reader get know what you are trying to
There are many different ways to add a text description, but
the most widely used method is directing a reader by saying “refer to
Figure 8.1” for example. This method, when used consistently
throughout a single piece of work can help the reader locate material
that is associated to the description. The figure can be anything from
an image to a graph with supporting data. Practically anything can be
used as a figure as long as it is supplemental to the material. The “8”
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in the example above would normally indicate the chapter that the
reader is currently in. The “1” will indicate the number figure that is
being used in the chapter. You can add as much as you want in each
chapter, but usually less is more.
Figure 5.7 Text description
Captions are very helpful when you want to describe
illustrations, segments of text, or any other supplemental material.
Unlike headings, captions do not have to follow any set order or
hierarchy. Captions can be used to describe anything as long as it can
be used with the material that it is being associated with. Like text
descriptions, it is important to know how many captions to use in
your document. It is also important to not use too many words
within your caption. If a caption is too wordy, its effectiveness is
diminished. It is important that when you add a caption, you try to
not reiterate what is within the main text of your document. The
caption can give a brief representation of what is being said within
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the body text, but it should at most paraphrase or give a brief
summary of what is being said.
Figure 5.8 Caption being used
It is important to make sure that your caption describes the
most important aspects of the image. If you are using a photo and it
has two or more people within it, be sure to use directional ways of
identifying a person within it (for example, “left”, “right”, or “holding
soccer ball”) It is also important to check for any grammar mistakes
or if the information data within the caption is accurate. If you do not
include accurate information within a caption, it will become easy for
the reader to become confused.
Sections are very important when it comes to separating the
material that you are covering. If your work was not divided by
sections the material would just be unified. If you are covering
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multiple topics, this would make it harder for the reader to
distinguish between the information that they actually need.
Normally a section can be distinguished by headings. Captions can
also be used as a way to separate smaller bodies of text that would
not normally flow together. It is important that you keep relevant
information within the right section to avoid confusing the reader.
For example, if you are talking about capitalization then you start
talking about nouns within the same section, the reader will have
difficulty learning if you do not complete your thoughts regarding the
first topic.
Sections can be distinguished many different ways, doing so
effectively is important when trying to prevent the reader from being
confused when they are reading. Having different sections allows the
reader to choose what they want to read about in any order that they
wish. They have the ability to skip around and reference whatever
information that they need without having to spend too much time
searching for it. Columns can also be used to separate sections.
Another good way to make sure that each section is easily
distinguished from one another is by adding page breaks. A page
break is a tool within Microsoft Word that allows you to make the
page end wherever you stop typing.
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Figure 5.9 Page break icon in Microsoft
When you are making sections, make sure that you have
enough material to be placed within it. A section that is lacking
material can make the reader stop and start reading too often; this
can be very frustrating. If you do not have enough to say about a
subject, wither exclude it or search for more supplemental material. A
good way to prevent your work from seeming choppy is to make sure
that you do not use more than two sections per page. This allows the
reader to read with an easier flow between sections. Sections are
usually divided using bold or underlined letters.
Knowing when to highlight within your work is very important.
Whether it is being used to distinguish important concepts, or to help
the reader remember what you find important for your reader to
know. Some examples of highlighting include; definitions, emphasis
on important words, passages, and sections within your document.
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Examples of highlighting used for definitions:
Serendipity-happy or pleasant surprise or a fortunate mistake
Nostalgia-a mixed feeling of happiness, sadness, and longing
when recalling a person, place, or event from the past, or the
past in general
It is important that you only highlight the material that would be vital
for the reader to know. If you highlight everything, this will allow the
reader to develop misunderstandings of what you are trying to say.
Nothing will stand out, so emphasis will not occur. Having emphasis
on certain parts of your work will allow the reader to remember that
particular part better.
There are several different ways to highlight. For example, in
Microsoft Word, simply selecting your text and clicking a suitable font
color would be enough to make a section of your document more
noticeable when compared to the whole. You are also able to
highlight by adding an emphasis on certain words by using Italics,
bold, or underline. Another way that is suitable for highlighting is by
placing text within a box. Highlighting is necessary because it allows
the reader to notice what they should get from a particular section of
reading. If you choose a certain way of highlighting particular
sections of text, it important that you use the same ways that you
highlight to maintain continuity within your document.
Understanding how to effectively organize what you want to
talk about allows the reader to better understand concepts that may
be difficult to understand if presented in the wrong order. For
example, if you want to give directions to a particular location, you
normally will start by making the first step to be the person leaving
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their original starting location. Example of preparing cereal given in
the wrong order:
1. Pour the milk
2. Pour the cereal
3. Get a bowl
Similar to giving effective directions to a location, it is
important to place sections of your content in the right order.
Instructional documents will end up hurting the reader if they are
given the wrong way. The same rules will apply if you want to write a
novel, having the chapters of the book in a random order will confuse
the reader. It is also important that you make sure that you also
maintain a consistent hierarchy when it comes to the design of your
document. This promotes professionalism as well as preventing
You can add an order to the way information is presented for
practically any list, but there are certain instances where it is not
necessary to have a particular hierarchy. Some examples of lists are;
names, television shows, books, or the known galaxies.
Print vs. Online Text
Determining your audience is a necessary step to take when
considering how to write your document. You can either print your
text on paper by hand or type your text using a word processing
platform. Both methods are used today, but each has their positive
and negative aspects that are important to consider when preparing a
written piece of work.
When you handwrite something, it is normally seen as a more
personal method of communication. It is more time consuming and
costly to write and send a letter through traditional means and it is
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becoming less common with the current advances in technology.
Grammatical errors are also more common, because you will not
have a word processor constantly checking your work. If you do not
have adequate handwriting, it will be seen as unprofessional.
Not only is typing a document online easier, it is also much
faster once you learn the layout of a QWERTY keyboard. You do not
need to form each letter; simply pressing a button for each required
letter allows you to complete a thought and a sentence at a much
faster pace. It does take away from the personal aspect of a standard
handwritten document, but it adds more professionalism to any
document. There are also more options for aesthetics for a document
typed on a compute.
Some examples are listed below:
 Text font
 Page color
 Graphs
Online text documents also make it much easier to edit documents. If
there is a need to change what was said in a previous section, it can
be easily altered, If you make a mistake when handwriting a
document, you will have to then rewrite the section.
When you are going to produce a document, it is ultimately up
to you to determine what type of format to use. The factors that you
need to consider are numerous, but the majority of the time it will
normally be online text documents that will be the best choice
considering the functionality and ease.
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Works Cited
Alred, Gerald, Walter Oliu, and Charles Brusaw. The Professional
Writer: A Guide for Advanced Technical Writing. St Martins Pr, 1991.
DeMarco, Laura M., and Robert W. Massof. "Distributions Of Print
Sizes In U.S. Newspapers." Journal Of Visual Impairment &
Blindness 91.1 (1997): 9. Academic Search Premier. Web. 31
Oct. 2013.
"Design: Color, Typography and Layout." Brand and Identity
Guidelines. University Of Central Florida. Web. 31 Oct 2013.
Florian, Raudies, and Neumann Heiko. "Modeling Heading and Path
Perception from Optic Flow in the Case of Independently
Moving Objects." Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.
7.00023 (2013): n. page. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
Funazaki, Eri. "Binding My Own Business." New Bookbinder 32.(2012):
5-16. Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 24 Oct. 2013.
Gray, Jon, et al. "By Its Cover." Virginia Quarterly Review 89.2 (2013):
122-131. Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 1 Oct. 2013.
Hurley, Suzanne Suarez1. "Advancing The Legal Profession With
Typography." Florida Bar Journal 86.9 (2012): 53-57. OmniFile
Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
Josephson, Sheree. "Keeping Your Readers' Eyes On The Screen: An
Eye-Tracking Study Comparing Sans Serif And Serif Typefaces."
Visual Communication Quarterly 15.1/2 (2008): 67-79.
Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
Kidd, WL. "Detail In Typography: Letters, Letterspacing, Words,
Wordspacing, Lines, Linespacing, Columns." Technical
Communication 57.1 (n.d.): 109. Social Sciences Citation Index.
Web. 15 Oct. 2013.
P a g e E l e m e n t s a n d D e s i g n L a y o u t | 217
Kramer, Robert, and Stephen A. Bernhardt. "Teaching Text Design."
Technical Communication Quarterly 5.(1996): 35-60. Education
Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 14 Oct. 2013.
Snider, Lesa. "Typography For All: Text For High-Impact Messages."
Macworld 30.7 (2013): 79. Business Source Premier. Web. 31
Oct. 2013.
Utt, Sandra H., and Steve Pasternack. "Front Pages Of U.S. Daily
Newspapers." Journalism Quarterly 61.4 (1984): 879-884.
Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.
Wheeler, H. E. "Suggestions For Research On The Typography Of
School Textbooks." Elementary School Journal 29.1 (1928): 27.
Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File. Web. 14 Oct. 2013.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 218
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E-Mail & Netiquette
Online communication has become an integral part of our
lives. We use the Internet to share our lives with family members who
live far away and to make plans with friends. Before technical
prowess became commonplace, however, online communication was
used primarily for business and educational purposes. The most
popular method of professional communication today is e-mail:
virtual letters or memos that are transmitted almost instantly to the
e-mail address of the recipient’s virtual inbox.
While most adults and even children today know how to
create and send e-mail, it is important to know how communicate
professionally and effectively. How you communicate with your
coworkers, supervisors, and others in your organization reflects
heavily on you as an employee and your organization, and can make
or break your chances for promotion. Moreover, inadequate
communication skills can lead to costly miscommunications and
create tension in the workplace.
This section will discuss Internet etiquette, or “netiquette,” and how
it is relevant in a university environment. We will go into detail about
the basics of formatting an e-mail message, proper diction and tone,
sending attachments, and when e-mail is appropriate. E-mails are
made up of four main parts: the subject line, the greeting, the main
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body, and the signature line or closing. Before we discuss each part
individually, let us review some e-mail basics.
Basic E-Mail Structure
The most barebones structure of an e-mail is as follows:
To: [email protected]
From: [email protected]
Subject: Basic structure of an e-mail message
Good afternoon, Recipient’s Full Name
The opening sentence can be a friendly remark, such as “I hope you
are well”, especially if the e-mail is about unfavorable news. The
following sentences should state the purpose of the message and the
main information the recipient needs. Keep in mind the six Cs when
writing your body paragraph: concise, concrete, complete, correct,
courteous, and clear (Tebeaux, 130).
Any further support or development of the main topic should go in
this additional paragraph, but should be kept as concise as possible.
A short closing paragraph restates the purpose and tells the
recipient what you would like from them. The final sentence of this
paragraph should show genuine gratitude for the recipients’ attention
and assistance, as well as provide any ending comments.
[Signature line]
Closing remark such as “Thank you,” or “Best Wishes,”,
-The sender’s full name
Additional contact information, if necessary.
Additional class or position information, if applicable.
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Your E-Mail Address
Your e-mail “address” is the address to your personal virtual
mailbox. E-mail address are made up of two parts: the username, and
the domain. For instance: [email protected] follows the e-mail
structure of [email protected] In this case, “johnsnow” is the
username, while “” is the domain, and they are separated by
an “@” symbol. At UCF, student emails use the domain
“”, while the faculty and staff domain is simply
You may wish to create a personal e-mail account outside of
your UCF Knight’s mail account. When creating a personal e-mail
account, remember that your e-mail address is the first thing a
recipient will see. Therefore, it is important to keep the following
things in mind when creating a username and domain for any e-mail
accounts used to correspond professionally:
 Do not use inappropriate or vulgar language in your username
(e.g., rad_dude32). These create a negative first impression
and can make you seem immature.
o Instead, use your name or some sort of professional
identifier (e.g., PatriciaS)
 Do not use periods or other special characters other than an
underscore to separate parts of your username (e.g.,
Sam.Adams). While this is standard in many university and
corporate e-mails, the small period can be missed when typing
your address.
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o Instead, use an underscore to separate parts of your
username, or just keep all the parts together. (e.g.,
Patricia_94, Patricia94)
Do not use complex abbreviations or long numbers for your
username or domain (e.g.,
[email protected]). These are easily
misspelled and are hard to remember.
o Instead, use abbreviations that are easier to remember
and keep numbers short (e.g.,
[email protected])
Use a well-respected domain such as,,
or your own personal domain instead of domains such as and
The Subject Line
The subject line of an e-mail is the first thing a recipient sees,
as shown in figure 6.1 below.
Figure 6.1: An e-mail subject line
The subject line is, as it implies, a single line of text with which
a user can state the purpose of the e-mail. For a recipient to open
your e-mail, you must first convince them that their time is worth
spending. Therefore, keep the following guidelines in mind when
writing your subject line. Some of these guidelines were developed by after analyzing the open rates of over 200 million e-
O n l i n e C o m m u n i c a t i o n | 223
mails and the factors that affected whether or not recipients opened
an e-mail.
 Avoid the words ‘free’, ‘help’, ‘percent off’, and ‘reminder’.
These words can be caught by spam filters or imply no benefit
to the recipient.
 Keep your subject line under 50 characters.
 Avoid caps lock (i.e. TYPING IN ONLY CAPITAL LETTERS) and
using lots of exclamation points!!!
o Caps lock can be used sparingly, to highlight an
o important word or phrase
 Use the subject line to provide timely and useful information.
 Do not begin your e-mail message in the subject line, it might
confuse the recipient.
o Do not use words like ‘important’ or ‘read
immediately’. What is important to you might not be
important to the recipient.
Bad subject lines:
 [Blank]
 “Please reply asap.”
 “Quick question.”
 “Good afternoon, Maria. Last Thursday, I met with you to
discuss the report on our financial situation…”
Good subject lines:
 “Follow-up: Financial situation report almost done, needs
 “Missing STA3032 class next Thursday”
 “Possible dates for discussing exam retake”
 “Stafford loan details; application due 11/01”
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The Greeting & Closing
If the subject line manages to persuade the recipient to open
your e-mail, he or she should be welcomed by your greeting. Your
greeting sets the tone for the rest of the message, so it must be
polite, friendly, and professional. Greetings such as “Hey there” and
“What’s up?” are inappropriate for professional or university
communication, and should be avoided. Instead, use greetings such
as “Hello [Name]”, “Good afternoon, [Name]”, or “Greetings,
[Name]”. Greetings such as “To Whom It May Concern” and “Dear
[Name]” are increasingly seen as archaic and outdated, and should be
avoided. Always use a person’s surname unless you are on a first
name basis with them, and make sure to spell names correctly.
People value their name, so misspelling it or giving them an
inappropriate greeting can make them disregard your message.
The closing line of your message is just as important as the
greeting. It is the final impression that a reader will have of you. It is
important to avoid informal sign-offs such as “Peace,” or “See ya,”.
Likewise, old-fashioned sign-offs such as “Cordially,” and “Regards,”
are sometimes perceived as distant or forced. Some sign-offs, such as
“Yours truly,”, are interpreted as too emotional, and should also be
avoided. Good options for professional sign-offs include “Thank you,”,
“Best wishes,”, and “Take care,”.
Additional contact information such as phone and fax
numbers should be included after the signature line, if they are
necessary and relevant to your future correspondence with the
recipient. When e-mailing a teacher, it is important to let them know
what course of theirs you are enrolled in. If you are part of an
organization or have a position for which you are communicating with
that person, it is important to have that information after the
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signature line as well. Guidelines for listing your position are often
provided by employers, but the following is an example:
● -Blake Morgan
Resident Assistant
Libra Community, Orange Hall, Second Floor
UCF Office of Housing & Resident Life
The Message Body
When you e-mail someone, you are requesting their time and
attention. Therefore, it is important that your message be “worded
and formatted for quick skimming and reading” (Tebeaux, 130). This
means following the six Cs mentioned earlier: concise, concrete,
complete, correct, courteous, and clear. Keep e-mails as short as
possible, preferably under one screen length in total, and avoid using
decorative, colorful, or large fonts. It is also important to keep in mind
that all electronic communication through your UCF and business emails can be accessed for an indefinite period of time by the
organization if a problem arises. Therefore, avoid being disrespectful
and violating company or school policies over those channels.
After writing the body of your e-mail, it is important to
proofread it to ensure you are clear and have covered all the
information necessary. Printing an e-mail before sending it can help
you find errors you may have missed. Grammatical or spelling errors
can reflect poorly on you, and can lead to a negative response from
the recipient. Try to proofread your e-mail through the eyes of your
recipient. What words might make them feel attacked? What words
sound like forced flattery? Will they understand exactly what you’d
like them to do after reading your email? What questions might they
have to ask after reading your e-mail that you can answer now? In
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many ways, e-mail (and most other forms of persuasive and
informative communication) follow The Golden Rule: don’t do to
others what you would not want done to you. Being clear and direct
while maintaining a polite tone and avoiding lengthy paragraphs and
useless ssentences can keep your reader interested and invested in
addressing your message.
Guidelines for Tone
All messages carry with them some form of tone, an implied
attitude based on your wording, style, and sentence structure. If you
want your reader to listen to what you have to say and address the
concerns you are contacting them about, maintain a positive and
respectful tone throughout your message. Elizabeth Tebeaux is the
author of The Essentials of Technical Communication, a textbook used
in technical writing courses at UCF. We draw upon her guidelines for
tone below:
Avoid placing blame, talking down to, or making negative
suggestions about your readers. This can immediately make
your reader defensive and unwilling to listen to you:
o “Why would you…”
o “You failed to…”
o “It was your idea to…”
o “If you thought this was satisfactory…”
Avoid excessive flattery. Readers can pick up on insincerity
and will be suspicious of your message if they do so:
o “It is the greatest honor to discuss with you the
possibility of my employment at your wonderful
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However, avoid sounding too detached or impersonal. This
can prevent readers from becoming invested in actually
helping you:
o “We ask that you ensure that your reply is timely.”
o “Upon receipt of your message, we took great interest
in your organization”
A conversational tone that shows sincere gratitude is ideal. It
puts both the reader and the sender at ease, and genuinely
conveys what the sender wants to accomplish without being
too stuffy or cold:
o “If I can be of assistance in any way, please let me
o “When possible, please send me the revised draft of
the financial report”
o “I would like to stop by your office to discuss the
possibility of extra credit”
Other Issues in E-Mail
The Internet is a wonderful resource because it allows you to
share information and media instantly with friends and family, and
we often do supplement online textual exchanges with media. This
can include pictures, videos, animated pictures known as “.gifs”, and
emoticons. Emoticons are faces created using special characters.
There are emoticons to express a range of emotions, from happiness
:D, to surprise :O, and even flirty ;). However, sending winky faces and
other emoticons to your professors or in any professional setting is
inappropriate. Emoticons in professional e-mail can come across as
awkward, forced, or unprofessional (CNN, 2010). Microsoft Outlook
converts some emoticons to the letter “J” when viewed through
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other e-mail clients, which can make your e-mail more confusing
instead of friendlier. Unless you are friends outside of a professional
environment or your professor regularly uses emoticons in his or her
correspondence with students, it is best to avoid emoticons entirely.
Instead, use your words to convey how you feel. A few thought-out
words of condolence can feel much more genuine than a “:(“.
Similarly, text-message shorthand has become commonplace
in our messages with friends and family. Some examples of text
shorthand include brb (be right back), b4n (bye for now), irl (in real
life), 2moro (tomorrow), oic (oh, I see), and omg (oh my god), among
countless others. It should go without saying that professional
correspondence should not use any form of shorthand. Not only can
they create misunderstandings if the recipient doesn’t know the
shorthand, it also reflects poorly on yourself and your organization or
company. Similarly, slang such as “aight” (alright) and “wanna” (want
to) should not be used.
Attachments are files sent alongside an e-mail. Think of them
as a package or additional paperwork that is sent in the same
container as your virtual letter. E-mail is best used for brief messages.
Therefore, “long, scrolling messages with extensive detail are often
better relegated to attachments that could be accessed and studied
later” (Tebeaux, 71). Another added benefit of use attachments for
long documents or graphics is the ability to print out many copies
much easier. However, be wary of attachments that do not have
typical file formats such as .doc, .jpg, or .pdf, as it is possible to
receive harmful viruses and malware via attachments. Scanning
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attachments with an antivirus program can prevent this from
becoming an issue.
Attaching Files
Attaching a file to an e-mail is easy. The following steps will
teach you how to attach a file in almost any e-mail client, such as
Outlook or Gmail.
1. Select “New Mail” in your e-mail client.
2. Tap the “Attach” or “Insert” button. It is often found along the
border of the message window and is accompanied by a
paperclip symbol.
3. Find and select the files you want to attach from the window
that opens. Most e-mail clients allow you to select multiple
files at once. If yours does not, simple attach one file at a time.
4. Click “Open”. The file should now be attached to your
Sometimes, a file is too big to attach to an e-mail. Size limits vary
from 10 megabyes to 100 megabytes. While most documents will
never reach this limit, sending many PDFs, photos, videos, or other
large files can be troublesome. In order to send large files, it is
sometimes necessary to use cloud storage tools. These tools allow
you to send files to “the cloud,” a virtual storage space in the Internet
that only you can access. You can then send a link to your readers
from which they can download those files. We will discuss cloud
storage tools and how to use them on page X.
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A memo, or memorandum, is a brief written message used to
convey information such as the details of a meeting or policy changes.
Memos can also serve as reminders or reference documents.
Moreover, memos can be a call to action: a way to let an office know
about a meeting with any necessary documents attached to it. In fact,
memos can be just about any brief (usually about one page)
document. Memos were a popular method of dispersing useful
information to an entire office until e-mail and technological knowhow became ubiquitous.
Today, e-mail is a form of virtual memo. E-mails and memos
share many of the same basic elements: memos have a header that
include to, from, date, and subject information, just like a memo.
Similar to the structure of the body of an e-mail, the body of a memo
has an opening that states a purpose, a section with relevant
information that develops the purpose, and finally a call to action and
closing statements. And just like an e-mail, memos can have attached
documentation to support the intended purpose of the memo. The
main difference between a memo and an e-mail is formality. Memos
are used primarily in business and professional settings. Although we
won’t discuss in detail every aspect of writing a memo, this is how the
basic segments of an e-mail translate to writing a memo (Purdue
Heading segment
o Includes to, from, date, and subject information. The
same guidelines for the subject line of an e-mail carry
over to a memo, with extra attention being paid to
formality and stating each person’s position in the
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Opening segment
o The opening paragraph of the memo states “the
purpose of the memo, the context and problem, and
the specific assignment or task.” This should be a brief
overview or summary of the rest of the memo.
Context segment
o Provides context for the memo, such as events or
circumstances that led to its creation, and background
information on the problem being addressed.
Task segment
o Describes your contribution to the problem, as well as
what tasks should be carried out by those reading the
memo. You should state your expectations and any
deadlines clearly and completely to avoid confusion.
Summary segment
o Longer memos use a summary segment to remind
readers of the purpose of the memo and gives them
critical information at a glance.
o Allows the writer to further explain his or her position
and go into detail to back up the argument. Supporting
details and recommendations should be listed from
most to least persuasive.
Closing segment
o Allows the writer to restate the actions he wishes the
readers to take. Consider what motivations the readers
have to follow through with the requests of the memo,
and show gratitude for their cooperation.
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o Necessary documentation to further support the
purpose of the memo. This can include full reports,
graphs, tables, and other forms of data. The memo
should make reference to the attachments.
Canvas, a Learning Management System
The Internet is a powerful tool for bridging gaps and allowing
knowledge to be shared seamlessly between professors, students,
professionals, and the community. Online tools have been developed
that recreate the classroom experience right on a student’s computer
screen. These tools allow professors to post educational media,
course assignments, and even exams for an entire class to see and
interact with. These tools also give students the ability to
communicate with their peers in an online forum or through personal
messages, turn in assignments, access class notes and resources, and
much more.
In the fields of education and business, the popularity of these
online “learning management systems” (LMS) is growing rapidly. UCF
uses a LMS known as Canvas for its online learning. On top of open
communication and sharing content between professors and
students, Canvas includes a wide array of useful tools not typically
found in a college classroom. From collaborative documents that can
be edited by multiple students at once to a convenient class calendar
and grade calculator, Canvas’ useful set of interactive e-learning tools
enrich the college learning experience. In this chapter, we will learn
how to use the various aspects of Canvas efficiently in order to
provide you the most convenient and useful e-learning experience.
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Accessing Your Canvas Account
Accessing your canvas account is simple: all you need is your UCF
PID and PID password. You can look up your PID at To access your Canvas account, go to and log in with your PID and PID
Navigating Canvas
Many websites have a dashboard, or a page which presents
you with relevant information and allows you to navigate to
important parts of the site easily with hyperlinks. Logging into Canvas
will bring you to your dashboard. The Canvas dashboard is made up
of four main elements:
1. Global navigation, the bar of menus along the top of the screen
shown in figure 6.2.
1. The global navigation bar gives you four main sections
to explore: Courses & Groups, Assignments, Grades,
and Calendar. These main sections are the easiest way
to interact with your courses. They will be discussed in
the following sections.
Figure 6.2: the Global Navigation bar
1. The sidebar, a vertical stream of information regarding
grades and due dates on the right side of your screen
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2. The main body of text along the center of the screen.
3. The tools bar, a vertical list of tools and functions that
you can access on the right side of each of your course
home pages.
The following sections will discuss how to use the Assignments,
Grades, and Calendar sections of the global navigation bar.
Courses & Groups
The Courses & Groups tab of the global navigation bar is the
only one that cannot be clicked. Instead, hovering your pointer over
the tab will bring up a list of courses and groups you are enrolled in
that semester. Selecting a course or group will take you to its
personalized home page. It is crucial that you check your course
home pages on a regular basis, as it is where professors often post
announcements, discussions, grades, and other important
information. While Canvas will show you most newly posted
information on the main body of the dashboard, some information
can only be seen from a course home page.
Selecting the Assignments tab in the global navigation bar will
take you to a list of the due dates of all the assignments for all the
courses you are enrolled in. In the sidebar, the “Show Only
Assignments From” section allows you to select the courses whose
assignments you wish to see.
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Selecting an assignment takes you to the assignments page. As
shown in figure 6.3, the assignment page gives you information
regarding the due date and points received for the assignment, as
well as what file types you will be submitting for the assignment. The
assignment page can also include instructions or a rubric from your
professor, as well as downloadable files to help you complete the
assignment. You can download these files from Canvas by simply
clicking on them.
Figure 6.3: An assignment page.
Submitting an Assignment: Submitting an assignment on Canvas only
takes a few simple steps:
1. Locate the assignment you want to submit in the assignment
tab or your course’s assignment page.
2. Select the assignment in order to reach its submission page.
3. Check that the file you are submitting is in the file format
requested by your professor.
4. Tap the “+ Submit Assignment” button on the right Sidebar. A
“File Upload” box will appear.
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5. Press “Choose File” in the “File Upload” box.
6. Select the file you wish to upload from the window that
7. Tap “Open”.
8. Press the “Add Another File” button to add additional files,
repeating steps 3-7 for each file.
9. Press the “Submit Assignment” button once you are done
selecting all the files you want to upload, and your submission
is complete.
Clicking the Grades section of the global navigation bar takes
you to an overview of all the courses you are enrolled in, and your
current grade percentage in each.
Testing Different Scores: Canvas adds more functionality to viewing
your grades by allowing you to test different grade values for future
assignments. This helps gives you an idea of what your final grade will
be, as well as how well you must do on certain assignments to get the
grade you desire. To test a score for a certain assignment:
1. Select the class whose grades you wish to test.
2. Hit the item in the “Score” category of the assignment you
wish to try a different score on. The item may be a grade, a
dash to indicate no grade has been given, or a sheet of paper
to indicate grading is in progress for that assignment.
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3. Type in the point score you wish to test for that assignment.
4. Press the Enter key. Your final grade on the bottom of the
page will now reflect your class grade with the score you
Viewing Grade & Rubric Details: After receiving your grade for an
assignment, you may wish to know why you received that grade or
how you faired compared to the rest of the class. By clicking the
[Figure 6.A]
symbols in the “Details” section, Canvas will
show you:
 Any comments left by your professor regarding your grade.
A box plot of how your class scored on the assignment.
Hovering over the box plot will give you additional data, such
as the mean (average) score, as well as the highest and lowest
Clicking the [Figure 6.B]
symbol in the Details section of an
assignment will show you the points you received based on the rubric
the professor used.
Navigating to the Calendar section of the global navigation bar
brings you to a personalized calendar of your assignments and
deadlines. Under the global navigation bar, you can click to adjust
how the calendar shows assignments: for this week, this month, or on
an appointment scheduler. You can click the colored boxes on the
right sidebar to hide assignments from certain classes. Selecting an
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assignment on the calendar will give you more details about the time
the assignment is due, as well as a link to the assignment page or
class home page.
The Canvas calendar can be very useful for viewing your
assignments, exams, and other important dates spatially. It can be
used to see everything you need to do each day at a glance. However,
the calendar is not a replacement for your syllabus or your course
homepages. Not all professors post all assignment and exam dates to
the calendar, and important information that does not have a specific
due date will not appear in the Calendar section at all.
The Tools Bar
Now that we have discussed in detail how the global
navigation bar works, we can discuss the tools bar. Once you are at a
course home page, the tools bar will appear on the left side of the
screen. The tools bar is one of the most useful parts of Canvas, giving
you a course-specific view of important information. For instance, the
course home page will show you information posted by your
professor in the main body of the page, such as the syllabus, course
schedule, or links to chapter texts.
The tools bar can include any or all of the following tabs, depending
on which your professors decide to incorporate into the course:
Announcements, Assignments, Chat, Collaborations, Conferences,
Discussions, Grades, Modules, Pages, People, Syllabus, UCF Library
Tools, and Quizzes. UCF Library research tools will be discussed in
Chapter 2: Research and Documentation.
Announcements: Tapping the Announcements tab of the tools
bar will bring you to the Announcements page. The Announcements
page works like a virtual message board, where professors and other
O n l i n e C o m m u n i c a t i o n | 239
course administrators can post important course announcements for
students to see. These announcements can range from changes to
the syllabus to details about what to have ready to turn in next class
Students can post replies to announcements. In order to reply
to a post, just click “Reply” under it. However, keep in mind that the
Announcements page is not the place to ask for help or have personal
conversations with your professors. Keep questions and replies
limited to things relevant to the announcement, such as clarification
of instructions. If you have a personal problem with the
announcement, it is best to send your professor a message directly.
Modules: The Modules tab of the tools bar allows professors
to post their lesson plans in different sections, or “modules”. A
module is a set of useful texts, media, and assignments linked to a
topic being discussed in class. A Chemistry class, for instance, might
have a module on the periodic table, a module on the atomic
structure, and another on naming chemical compounds. In some
cases, a module may be followed by a PowerPoint presentation and
practice problems for each chapter. Module materials are almost
always direct links to assignments or downloadable files, so simply
clicking on the current weeks’ modules should get you where you
need to go.
Discussions: The Discussion tab of the tools bar is home to
your courses’ interactive forum. Think of a discussion board as a town
hall meeting where professors can pose a question and students
discuss their opinions on it based on what they have learned.
Discussions can also be used by students to pose questions regarding
in-class activities, technical difficulties, or questions about an
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assignment. The Discussions tab is made up of discussion “boards,” or
spaces dedicated to only certain types of posts. Professors often
create separate discussion boards for weekly postings or assignments,
as well as a Q&A or help section where students can post freely.
Some professors require weekly posts and responses to your
classmates’ posts, while others use the forum for helpful Q&A or even
collecting submissions for parts of a group assignment. Tapping a
discussion will show you the original post, as well as any replies it has
received. This is called a thread. When someone replies directly to
someone else’s reply instead of the original post, it is called a subthread.
Discussion boards are the perfect place for asking for help on an
assignment or with technical difficulties. If you miss class and need to
be caught up on what you missed, you can also ask for help in a
discussion post. However, keep in mind that discussion boards are
not a replacement for attending class, and that all posts can be
viewed by your professor and classmates.
Creating a Discussion Post: When creating a discussion post, it is
important to keep in mind where you are posting. If you are posting a
weekly response, make sure you are posting your response in the
discussion board for that week. For instance, your professor may have
discussions titled “Week 1”, “Week 2”, “Week 3”, etc. Posting an
assignment or response in the incorrect board may cause your post to
be ignored or receive no credit. In order to properly create a
discussion post:
1. Find the discussion board you are trying to post on.
Remember that certain assignments or types of posts must be
made in the correct discussion board.
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2. Hit the “Reply” button directly under that post, if your reply is
directly to the original post. If your reply is to someone other
than the original poster, hit the “Reply” button under the
reply you wish to continue the sub-thread on.
3. Type your reply in the text box that appears. Remember to
keep internet etiquette in mind when replying to a post.
Internet etiquette is discussed on page X.
4. Press the “Post Reply” button. Now, your posting can be
viewed and commented on by the rest of the class.
Quizzes: The Quizzes tab of the tools bar is where you will take
quizzes assigned by your professors. The Quizzes page will show you a
list of quizzes that have been posted by your professor, as well as
some information regarding the quiz due date, how many points it is
worth, and how many times you can submit it, as shown in figure 6.4
Figure 6.4: Quiz details
Quizzes become locked after the due date, meaning you are
unable to open them or change your score at all. Some quizzes also
have time limits. These are shown on the top right of the page during
a quiz, so make sure to keep track of how much time you have left. If
you have technical issues during a quiz, contact your professor to
discuss your options.
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Online learning
The Web contains a large amount of information on an
enumerable amount of subject areas. When a person requires
information, they will most likely begin their research online. In
recent years, some companies and individuals have taken advantage
of this trend by creating educational websites (Inoue, 31). These
companies offer platforms not only for people to learn new skills, but
conversely to teach others their skill as well.
The ability to learn, grow, and master any skill form is an
attractive idea to many. With millions of users each day these online
learning tools are redefining the typical understanding of a school.
The ability to learn new skills with little to no commitment makes it
easy for people to explore new ideas, and also discover techniques
that they may have not ventured in trying previously. This means,
there is no monetary cost for most of these online tools. Thus all a
person has to invest is some time and effort into these programs.
Being able to create educational courseware is an even more
attractive aspect of education websites. This is a perfect tool for
those who have skills they would like to share with others but were
previously unable. Creating a good educational product based on
one's experiences can show colleagues and or potential employers a
high level of mastery in a particular subject area (Inoue, 231). This
can, in turn help one’s personal brand due to their expertise, expand
their network with people in their industry, and could even help them
to acquire jobs.
There are many websites that provide educational learning
tools. The most well-known ones are Khan Academy and MIT Open
Courseware. There are also utilities that provide its users tools to
create their own courseware or lectures, the most prominent being
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YouTube. Within the realm of online educational tools there are two
main modes of teaching. The first being of which is being interactive,
where the user is prompted to take an action such as typing the
answer or following along with the program in some fashion.
Conversely, there are educational sites that use lectures that are
similar to regular classrooms where a lecturer is presenting a topic
and the audience listens and takes notes. This will hold true for the
person creating their own content.
Khan Academy
What is it? As Khan Academy’s tag line states “Khan Academy
is an organization on a mission. We are a not-for-profit with the goal
of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class
education for anyone anywhere.” Khan Academy provides free
learning content in various levels of mathematics, such as physics,
chemistry, finance, computer science, logic, and grammar. They are
currently providing over 4300 videos with over 260 million lessons
delivered to date.
How is it used? Many of the lessons on Khan Academy are
styled as one on one sessions with a private tutor. It is also self-paced
making learning new skills convenient for everyone. Along with the
videos that are styled a lectures there are also interactive labs in
which the users complete task such as solving a problem or reading a
section. The user will ultimately take assessments on the material, as
shown in figure 6.5 on next page:
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Figure 6.5: Khan Academy tests
The scores are then compared to others who have taken the test so
that the user may know instantly how they rank among their peers.
Upon completion the user is award badges for certain tasks or skill
level attained.
Should I use it? Khan Academy has material ranging from 3
grade to a college graduates. Thus this is perfect for anyone needing
to gain knowledge in any of subject areas previously mentioned. It is
the most effective online courseware because of its content is very
relevant, easy to use and self-paced .It is easy to use and is
recommended to anyone willing to learn.
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MIT Open Courseware
What is it? MIT Open Courseware is an initiative by the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology to place all their lectures and
courses online. Some courses are free to the public and can be access
by anyone anywhere, most of which can be found on YouTube but
also additional material can be found on their main site
( The MIT Open Courseware experience feels a lot like
attending the school. Providing over 60 courses with complete video
lectures, many people use it to learn about new subjects.
How is it used? With MIT being a leader in many subject areas,
many find MIT Open Courseware as an invaluable part of their
development. They offer full course material offered at the college
for free. This is different from Khan Academy because there is no two
way interaction between the user and the material. Moreover, MIT
Open Courseware can be used to supplement any courses being
presently taken at one’s home institute. All homework, test, and
relevant slides are included in the lecture notes of the course thus
giving all the material one needs to benefit from the lectures, as
shown in figure 6.6 below.
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Figure 6.6: Homework and test page
Also it is used in conjunction with ITunes U (another free
online education program.) to further provide a better learning
Should I use it? If you are interested in taking a college or graduate
level class and do not want to pay for the curriculum then this is a
great option. MIT Open Courseware works well because it is very
similar to attending the course in person. The main advantage is that
the material is free and open to the public. There are some
downsides however, the main one being they are not live and thus
any questions or concerns one might have cannot be answered
directly by the presenter.
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What is it? YouTube is a popular video sharing site with over 6
billion hours of video are watched each month. Users can upload
their videos of just about anything, and anyone willing to watch can
view the content. This is much like gathering a bunch of friends to
watch one’s home movies. Also if a user’s content is popular they can
become partnered with YouTube and get paid to create videos. At
first glance the content might not be perceived as very educational.
However with the ability to create and upload all kinds of
information, some people have started to use it in the realm of
education. Some notable content creators are “patrickJMT” who has
a large collection of math tutorials, “DrPhysicsA” who specializes in
physics problems, and “stanfordbusiness” who provide basic business
How is it used? Most of the sites users consume information.
There is unfortunately no interactive aspects to YouTube, however
the sheer number of its user base and accessibility billions of people
one can find tutorials or lessons on almost every subject matter.
Anyone can create a video series based on any chosen subject matter.
[note 6.1] Caution: Be sure that any information you acquire from
YouTube is accurate. You can do this by checking the comments on
the page, or by using reputable sources by looking at how many
people viewed the content previously. [note 6.1] This makes it perfect
for anyone with a skill to share and teach anyone willing to learn.
Should I use it? There is a large number of people who can
use YouTube daily. However, whether or not to use it for educational
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purposes does not cross many people’s minds. Should YouTube be
used for learning and creating content, or just for entertainment
purposes? There is bound to be something on YouTube for everyone
no matter what their goal.
The Cloud
The term “the cloud” has grown in popularity in the last
couple years, but what exactly is “cloud” computing? Cloud
computing is a system that “enables ubiquitous, convenient, ondemand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources
such as networks, servers, storage, applications, and services” (STAR
Group, 2012). If you have used websites or tools like Dropbox, Office
365, Instagram, or Netflix, you have directly benefited from the cloud.
Some cloud services allow users to use software that isn’t installed
directly onto their computer, such as online Office suites, video
players, and games. Others serve as digital repositories that can be
accessed from anywhere with Internet access. One of the most
important characteristics of the cloud is the ability to run programs
that might typically require a more powerful computer. Streaming
refers to a method of displaying information where your computer
displays what it has received so far from the Internet while it
downloads the information it has to display next. Since all the work is
being done on a computer system far away from you, your computer
simply needs to stream new information. This means you can call
upon a wide array of virtual applications, services, and tasks that your
computer itself cannot perform as long as your have an Internet
connection. This section will discuss how to use some popular cloud
services and how they can benefit you.
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Dropbox is one of the most-utilized cloud services today.
Dropbox is known as a “file-hosting service.” It provides a virtual
storage locker where your files can be placed (known as “uploading”).
Once files are uploaded onto Dropbox, you can move them around,
rename them, and even edit them like you would any other files on
your computer. Dropbox can be accessed in two ways: the Dropbox
website and the Dropbox desktop software. Dropbox works by
creating a dedicated Dropbox folder on your desktop and online.
While you can use Dropbox as simply an online storage box by going
to and signing into your account, downloading the
Dropbox software to your computer gives you added functionality.
The Dropbox software creates a dedicated Dropbox folder on your
computer. This folder automatically sends any files put into it to your
online Dropbox folder. This process of replicating files identically in
two different places is known as “syncing”.
Having a Dropbox folder on your computer means that any
files you put in it will automatically be synced, or copied into, your
online folder. Similarly, uploading and editing files from
will sync those files to your computer’s folder. Because your files are
synced, you can edit documents on a computer that is not yours,
upload the revision to, and come home to continue
working where you left off.
Unfortunately, Dropbox does not allow you to send unlimited
amounts of information to its cloud server. While the desktop folder
has no file size limit, the largest file you can upload to your folder is 300MB. For reference, most word documents
are less than 1 MB, and most digital photos are less than 5 MB.
Furthermore, Dropbox operates under a freemium model, meaning
that while the service is free, full functionality and enhanced features
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can cost extra. Dropbox charges monthly and yearly rates for allowing
you to store larger amounts of information on their servers. While
you can store up to 2 GB (gigabytes) for free just by creating an
account, you can pay for anything from 4 GB to unlimited data
Sharing content is as important as creating it. Dropbox allows you
to share single files or entire folders with whomever you choose,
simply by clicking “Share link” on any page, as shown in figure 6.7 on
next page.
Figure 6.7: “Share link” button in Dropbox
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This creates a customized link that allows people to view and
download your file(s). However, the changes made to those files after
they are downloaded will not affect your original file. For working on
documents collaboratively, you can select “Share folder”. This adds
the selected folder to the Dropbox of the collaborators you select,
and all changes and uploads are synced to everyone’s Dropbox.
Google Drive
Google Drive is Google’s cloud storage solution. Just like
Dropbox, you can upload and manage files on Drive’s website or
through a folder on your computer. However, Google Drive also
offers a complete office suite alongside with its storage ability. The
office suite allows you to create documents, presentations, and
spreadsheets similar to the Microsoft Office suite you have probably
used, as well as drawings and forms. Thanks to the built-in office
suite, you do not have to download files in order to edit them; you
simply open them using one of the office tools and all your changes
are saved instantly. The file storage aspect of Drive works very
similarly to Dropbox, allowing you to manage files like a folder on
your computer. However, another main difference between the two
is Google Drive’s extensive set of collaborative authorship tools.
Collaborative Authorship Tools: Google Drive allows you to share
files and folder with collaborators, just like Dropbox. However,
Google Drive’s office suite allows you to work on a document at the
same time, or in conjunction with your collaborators. In order to
begin working collaboratively in Google Drive:
1. Open or create a file you wish to work on with others.
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2. Hit the “Share” button on the top right corner of the page.
3. Click inside the “Invite people” box.
4. Type in the e-mails of your collaborators, separated by
commas in order to invite them to the document.
1. Click “Change…” in the Privacy Settings tab to change privacy
settings of a current collaborator or to make the document
public to anyone with a link.
2. Determine how you want you collaborators to access the
document, and whether you want them to view the document
or be able to edit it.
3. Hit “Share & save” to save your settings.
4. Select “Done” to close the window. Now, Drive will show you
when someone is viewing or editing the document.
You will be able to see changes being made in real-time and
who exactly is changing what. Google Drive also gives you a suite of
collaborative tools including chat, comments that can be replied to,
and saved history of changes made to the document. These
collaborative tools provide a powerful way to work together on
projects, schedules, memos, and presentations. Whether you are a
student or a professor, Google Drive is a technology to keep in mind
when sharing a document or doing work on it collaboratively. Being
able to give live feedback via comments made directly next to the text
being discussed is efficient, and helps keep all project members in constant
contact. For instance, you can highlight and comment on sections that need
proofreading, quotes that need a citation, or even to give your opinion on
how a section can be re-written to improve clarity. If you have a Gmail
account, you already have Google Drive. Just go to to access your folder and being creating files.
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Advantages of the Cloud
The cloud allows us to extend the capabilities of our computer
systems without needing more powerful computers. Tasks that would
normally require huge processing power can be performed on a
server far away from the user, and then the resulted actions can be
streamed to a user’s computer. Because all tasks are carried out on a
server online, you can keep track of changes and analyze trends
easily. For instance, Google Drive keeps a log of every change made to
a document by each user. The cloud also allows users to interact and
collaborate in large numbers without being inconvenient or
restricted. You can invite an entire class to a collaborative Google
Drive document and have them discuss and come together to
respond to questions or discussion topics, all without having to
download any software or needing an expensive computer.
Cloud services are usually compatible with any computer that
has Internet access, so you do not have to worry about needing
software in order to be able to open your files. Google Drive allows
you to download any document you create in a wide array of file
formats, from Microsoft Word .docx to .PDF and .rtf for business
documents. Similarly, businesses like Netflix make use of the cloud’s
universal infrastructure to allow users to watch movies on almost any
Internet-connected device, from video game consoles to tablets.
The advantages of the cloud can be seen around the UCF
campus. Wireless printing services powered by the cloud allow users
anywhere in the world to send documents to be printed in on-campus
printing labs. Siri, the virtual assistant that comes with Apple’s
iPhone, uses the cloud to look up information based on the user’s
vocal requests, such as the weather. Even Canvas uses the cloud,
storing files and discussions that can be accessed by students.
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The History of Social Media
The world of communication has changed dramatically in the
last decade. Information delivery services such as snail-mail and
telegrams took several weeks or even years to reach their intended
locations. Now with the aid of technology, information can be
received, and responded to in a matter seconds. This this type of
instant communication has now been integrated into many of our
lives and is known colloquially as “social media.” Social media is
categorized as websites and applications used for social networking.
This means there is a two way interaction between the users. With a
total of over 1.5 billion active members utilizing social networking
sites today, chances are you have heard about or used social media in
one form or another. With information being so readily available, a
person’s social media content must be conveyed in a clear,
professional, and coherent manner. With all new technologies, many
users may not fully understand or grasp its power in application with
the business world. Knowing how to appropriately manage one’s
online social media content could aid with networking, self- branding,
and even find employment.
What kind of social media is there?
There are a large number of social media sites, each of which
has its individual attributes and flair, making each a perfect fit for
innovative types of communication. A number of these sites focus on
group communication in which a single entity can convey an idea to a
wide audience, while others rely on more personal and direct
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communication between its users. There is a wide range of
communication options encompassed in the realm of social media
making it can seem like an intimidating endeavor to some. However
by understanding the basics of social media, each of these sites can
easily be incorporated in not only into a personal setting but also a
professional setting as well.
The Big Three
There are three major social media sites that are the most
commonly visited. The three major social media sites being Facebook,
Twitter and LinkedIn. Using all three can greatly improve what is a
called an online footprint, which is like a resume of one’s online
presence. With combined total of 1.5 billion members (Schepp, 155),
chances are you have already heard of at least one of these services.
Social media is often used by online communities to share
information, ideas, personal messages, and other content. Believe it
or not, job recruiters regularly use Facebook to headhunt and find
new hires. More and more companies are using social media to find
potential employees and subsequently research those potential
hires. According to Schepp In April 2008, staffing and recruiting giant
Robert Half International surveyed 150 executives and found nearly
66 percent felt that the professional and social media sites would
prove useful in the hiring process. . There is also a business geared
counterpart to Facebook, which is branded as LinkedIn. Lastly there is
Twitter, which allows for communications of 140 characters of text or
less called “tweets”. This forces the sender to stay on topic and
convey short bursts of highly focused and relevant information.
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Currently the largest social media site is Facebook. With over
1 billion active (Safko, 449) users monthly, being a member can greatly
improve one’s online footprint. The top tools Facebook offers its
users is the ability to create a personalized web page called a profile,
and also to forge and manage large network of people (Schepp, 157).
This includes
 Classmates
 Co-workers
 Past affiliates.
Facebook specializes in wide interpersonal communication.
This means there is often direct and indirect interaction between two
entities, whether it be two friends sharing pictures or a business
advertising to their clients about a new sale or product. The main
mode of sharing information on Facebook is done by posting
information to a “wall”.
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6.8: Facebook Page
The concept of a wall is analogous to a bulletin board or a
grocery store. These posts can take the form not only as text but also
can be pictures, videos, and other multimedia (Schepp, 177). A
common question frequently asked is what type of content is
acceptable on one’s Facebook page. Though there is no definitive
“right answer” there are a several ways of achieving an effective
page. This is done by imagining the page as a personal billboard that
is advertising you as a person and your skills to the world. A common
questions people often ask themselves before designing their online
persona is to ask is “Who am I” and “What are my skills”? Using these
answers will help form an appropriate direction for an effective
Facebook profile.
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Using Facebook Effectively
Remembering the previous question, the notion “content is
king” will further develop one’s aptitude in building an effective page.
Within Facebook, there is feature to hide or promote content to
certain groups. These groups can divided into be family, friends,
coworkers, or acquaintances. This is analogous to a briefcase in which
only people with the proper credentials can view sensitive
information. It is best that the most relevant information about you
be viewable to the public, while hiding more personal information
such as family vacation photos, and keeping the information to your
social circle private (see figure 6.9).
Figure 6.9: Hidden and unhidden content
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Consequently this means taking the time to tailor your page
such that the public view contains the content that will help sell
yourself to a potential employer, while giving access to more personal
information to your close friends. This is achieved by creating groups
or circles of people that serves as a filter to specific content a coworker or alternatively friend sees. This can prove useful when
posting things like photos from a party or other content that may be
seen as improper in a work setting. Remember the content posted to
a social media site can be seen by millions of people, and posting
something that could be seen as inappropriate could potentially
strain or even end a relationship. This not goes only for people in your
network but also to recruiters browsing your page.
Another perk to social media like Facebook is the ability to join
groups that contain likeminded people that may expand your current
social network. For example there are online groups for companies,
consumer groups, employment & work, home Business, Investing,
Marketing & Advertising, Public Relations, and Real-Estate.
Participation in these groups can get you noticed.
LinkedIn’s motto is “relationships matter”. LinkedIn is a
professionals dream come true, as it is a strictly for professional social
networking. With over 24 million professionals in more than 150
industries LinkedIn is a hotspot for business professionals (Safko, 458).
LinkedIn is used to get people come together and share their
expertise. This is the must have tool for ambitious whether they are
looking for a job or not.
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Figure 6.10: Front page of LinkedIn
After a user has created a profile which in this case reads as an
informal resume. A user can create connections by either seeking out
their former contacts with is referred to as a “first degree contact” or
can be searched by others such as recruiters and is deemed a “second
degree contact” (Safko, 459). After the initial setup, a user has the
ability to join professional groups and chapters in their specific field
of choice. Whether you are looking for a business contact new job or
just looking to join a professional group, LinkedIn provides the tools
to do so in a much focused community.
However, there are many unspoken rules within LinkedIn. When
creating a profile it is important to heed these warning and avoid
doing things that are deemed appropriate on other social media sites.
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Do, have a picture on your profile. This will make it easy for
people you know to find you.
Do not have a picture of pets, boats , or other inanimate
objects. This will make you look more professional. Take a
headshot in professional attire and use that as your profile
Do change your privacy settings.
Do create a custom URL that is short and sweet. This will make
it eaierr for people to remember your profile location.
Do not mirror your resume verbatim. This is the time to paint
a picture and tell a story with your experiences.
Overall, LinkedIn is very similar to Facebook. The main difference
is the concentration on business professionals in the former. These
tips will surely help navigate the uncharted and intimidating territory
of LinkedIn.
Twitter and you.
In the world of social media there is a new trend of
microblogging. The term microblogging means that the connected
users are limited to a set number of characters, lines or content
medium. Twitter allows its users a maximum of 140 characters which
means that one must be very focused on delivering the most
pertinent content. Which in turn creates an environment for
extremely relevant information?
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Figure 6.11: picture of tweet
Within Twitter users are able to invite people to follow their
content or subscribe to their page. Before creating a profile one
should ask the question “what is my persona” and “is what I'm about
to post relevant?” Far too often people fall in the trap of posting
mundane and irrelevant content such as what they had for breakfast
or that they are bored. Moreover this content should be clear and to
the point. Each character should be seen as gold and used
deliberately. There is not much room to distinguish yourself with the
use of 140 characters. So when sharing links picture and other
multimedia content be sure to use things such as URL shorteners
(Safko, 539) this will ensure that the message trying to be conveyed
will not be just limited to the 140 characters minus the long picture or
link URL making for an ineffective tweet.
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Figure 6.12: Tiny URL
Twitter has being a large community based social media site
has actually developed its own lingo many of which are selfexplanatory other may not be as much. Here are a few words to get
you started: Tweet a message also called an update. Follow when
you decide to follow someone else’s tweets. Public Timeline The
steady stream of messages from Twitter members who have chosen
to keep their tweets public. Follower when someone is following your
tweets. Tweet with a purpose. Twitter users range from protesters in
Egypt to celebrities promoting their latest movie (Safko, 538). Twitter
has many applications however if one create a clean, professional,
and coherent persona, they can effectively send out a powerful
message. People in power are sure to notice when you use social
media effectively, which can eventually lead to networking or even
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The Internet has given humanity a way to instantly share and
exchange ideas. This is accomplished by the creation of personalized
web pages dubbed websites. These websites are created by
individuals and can be a customized anyway the author sees
fit. Having a personal website is very much like having an account on
a social media site, however, a personal web page is much more
customizable and less rigid. It can be used to display one’s hobbies,
professional goals, photography, or even a personal biography. The
Internet is much like a phone directory of individuals and businesses
alike, having a website is analogous to adding ones phone number to
a phone directory. Thus having a website makes it easier for people
to find you or your services. Also having a website will help to
improve one's credibility. By creating a polished and professional site
can create the impression of expertise in the subject matter. All in all,
the creation of a personal site can be a stepping stone in creating
your own personal brand. Knowing why a personal page is important
but equally as important is gaining the skills to create and design the
The creation of a web page is done by using something
called Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML for short (DeBolt, 34).
Using HTML is much like to taking a typed document with nothing but
text and formatting to the users liking by adding headings, bulleted
list, and images. The stylization of a HTML document is done by using
a Cascading Style Sheet or CSS for short. While HTML is capable of
adding certain style properties to a document, this practice in recent
times is not recommended. A HTML document is nothing more than a
text page embedded with special tags that define specific behaviors.
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These special tags are enclosed within double angle brackets for
example “<b>”. The less than sign signifies the beginning of a HTML
tag , while the letter “b” in the middle is an attribute that defines the
tags behavior, in this case b will make the text bold. The tag is then
closed by the greater than sign which signifies the closing of the tag.
This will make all preceding text bold, however, one may want to end
the effect of the tag at some point, this is done by using the “</b>”
tag where the forward slash represents the end of a statement. Here
is an example of making the word “hat” bolded in the following
sentence. The cat wore a silly <b>hat</b> today. This would produce
“The cat wore a silly hat today.” when viewed on a web browser.
The basics of HTML
After taking some time to comprehend the syntax, the next
goal in creating a personal site is to understand the overall
construction of a HTML page. First, HTML web documents must begin
with a “<HTML>” tag and end with “</HTML>” All other tags and
statements will be nested in between these parent tag. The parent
tag is then preceded by the <head> tag. This tag is where information
such as the title (using the <title>...</title> tags) or other non-content
information. When all the information concerning the head tag is
fulfilled it must be then closed by the “</head>” tag. Subsequently,
directly after the head comes the body tag. The body is where one
would put all the information, images, graphs, and tables the author
would like the viewers to see. This tag is placed between the
“</head>” and the “</html>”, and it’s also opened and closed by the
“<body>...</body> tags” respectively (DeBolt, 37), with the authors
content in the middle. See below for a completed example.
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<title>Your 1st webpage</title>
<b>hello world!</b>
</html >
Typing this text using any text editor such as Notepad, Microsoft
Word, or Textedit and then saving it with the file extension .htm or
.html and will produce the following web page when opened.
Figure 6.12: css in browser
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Knowing the basic layout of a web page will enable the author
to create a more advance and more creative page. Using more
advanced tags will enable the user much more flexibility when
developing their web page. Here are some useful tags and their
 <i>...</i> Put text in italics
 <u></u>Underline text
 <center><center> Centers Text
 <h1>, <h2>,<h3> Creates headings h1 being the biggest
 <font color = “color”>...</font> Changes the color of the text
 <p> starts a new paragraph
 <a href = “url”>...<a> creates a link
 <img src= “image location”> displays an image
 Add more tags like mailto: etc.
Please note that tags can be separated into 2 categories these 2 being
block level and inline tags. The meaning of block level is that
whenever the tag is invoked the preceding information will start on a
new line. This can be observed by the “<p>” tag which creates a new
paragraph on a new line. Conversely Inline tags do not start a new
line such as adding a picture. The picture will be placed directly next
to any preceding text or information unless otherwise specified. Also
some tags do not have two sides that need to be opened and closed.
This can be seen with the “<br>” , “<hr>” and “<img>” tags. These
tags do not need to be closed because they do not affect text or
information directly. Also in HTML there is a feature to add an ID or
class to differentiate a tag from others. This comes in handy later
when using CSS, however the concept is important. To create an
image with an id of “mainpicID” the following tag should be used:
 “<img id= “mainpicID”src=“myimage.jpg”>”
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Alternately, to create an image with the class
“mainpicCLASS” the following tag should be used.
“<img class= “mainpicClASS”src=“myimage.jpg”>”
The main purpose of HTML tags is to format and document text,
and to accommodate this, there are semantic tags that help with
identifying the contents of the page. The semantic equivalent to the
“<b>...</b>” tag is “<strong>...</strong>” (DeBolt, 102) the outward
appearance of the page will be the same, however it will tell
something called a web crawler that the information in between
these tags is important.
 <header>: define the header of the page
 <nav>: define the navigation bar of the page
 <article>: defines the main articles of the page
 <aside> : defines non important information of a page
 <figcaption>: defines image or figure captions of a page
 <footer>: defines the footer of a page
Note that these tags will not change the appearance of the page
however will help web crawlers which are automated programs help
index the page and help the viewer’s find the relevant information
faster .
Getting started with CSS
The proper way to style ones page is to use CSS this can be
done in several ways, CSS works with HTML. This is how an author can
create beautiful designs, set margins and define fonts in their text.
The syntax for a CSS for an external tag is “parent {css:attribute;}” an
example would be
 body {text-align:center;}
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body {color:blue;}
These tag makes all font in the body tags centered and blue,
see image for example.
Here is the code for the above picture.
<style TYPE="text/css">
body {text-align:center;}
body {color:blue;}
<title>Your 1st webpage</title>
<b>hello world!</b>
</html >
To use a CSS file it must be linked or embedded to the HTML file you
would like to apply it to. To link a css tag one must the the following
tag should be used
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="mystyle.css">.
This tag must be placed in the head of the desired HTML file and the
mystyle.css must be replaced with the desired filename and location
(if not local) (DeBolt, 52).
To define an internal sheet, the tag <style TYPE="text/css">...</style
>with the style tags in between the 2 style tags and must be placed in
the head of the HTML file to be affected.
One major difference with CSS and HTML is the ability to
create a user’s own style tags in CSS. These tags are created with the
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word “<DIV” followed by an ID or class attribute then closed with the
“>” symbol for block level elements. The final product looks as follows
“<div id = “csstag”>...</div>” or can be made with a used with the
class tags and looks like “<div class = “csstag”>...</div>” (DeBolt,
63). This then allows the author the freedom to create specialized
styles to a document without having many lines that could potentially
become unmanageable. The syntax for a “DIV” or “SPAN” using an ID
is 3
#csstag {text-align:center;}
While the syntax for the for the class version for the “DIV” or “SPAN”
is .csstag {text-align:center;}. Note the period for the class tags and
the # for the ID tags.
Knowing how format and style a page is the first step in building a
personal website. This in turn can lead to gaining credibility, getting
discovered, and expressing yourself.
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U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 273
The Diversity Chapter concentrates on polite, proper
communication and writing while keeping in mind the varied
audience of our UCF campus. Diversity at UCF is very apparent with
all the different cultures and ethnicities represented on
campus. Figure 7.1 below, shows just some of the diversity
demographics on campus. UCF students and faculty need to
communicate effectively without isolating any part of the
audience. Most of the time that this happens is unintentional
because there is a lack of awareness. The purpose of this chapter is
to help people be more aware of the diversity at UCF in regards to
age, class, culture, disability, ethnicity and race, gender, politics, and
D i v e r s i t y | 274
University of Central Florida Institutional Knowledge Management,
University Student Profile - Fall 2013, UCF, 2013, Web, Figure 7.1
Age refers to the time that has passed since the day of a
person’s birth. The University of Central Florida is the second largest
university in terms of enrolled students in the United States, based on
Fall 2012 enrollment (Binette). With such a large population of
students and faculty, several different generations, including Baby
Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Millennials, make up the
entire population of UCF. Everyone at UCF should be careful to not
stereotype and offend other individuals based on their age in their
daily communication and writing. There are many areas regarding
age that most people do not take into consideration when
communicating. Most of the age related communication that does
happen or will happen occurs unconsciously and may not be
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 275
intentional. There are several steps that should be taken in your
communication to avoid age stereotyping.
For example, do not stereotype a young person as unwise and
unintelligent; older people should not underestimate the capability of
an individual just because she is of a younger age. Do not write a
sentence like this, “Ahsan is a responsible 6 year old girl that does not
need to be reminded to care of her pet.” A better way to phrase that
statement would be to write, “Ahsan is a responsible girl that takes
good care of her pet every day.” Younger people should not
stereotype people who are older as well. There is a common
generalization that older people, especially seniors, do not know how
to use devices like computers and smartphones. That misconception
is not true for every single older person. In fact, some older people
are at the very forefront of technology and help design and test the
latest applications and programs for popular gadgets. Also, do not
just assume that all older people are hard of hearing; some of them
can get sensitive about that or feel like you think they are no longer
capable individuals that always need help.
Other types of age stereotyping to be aware of are
generalizations and clichés. One example is to not say that an
individual is easily distracted just because that person is a part of
Generation Y. A Generation Y individual may in fact be an extremely
focused and dedicated person. He may become offended when
people say he slacks at his work with distractions just because of a
stereotype. Do not type, “Jack, a Generation Y worker, gets
distracted all the time at work.” The recommended way to phrase
that statement would be, “Jack gets distracted all the time at work.”
Care should be taken about the language used in
communication, especially the usage of a person’s actual age. Having
a number for age should be limited unless the context needs it. As an
example, it would be better to write a sentence like, “Adira is an
D i v e r s i t y | 276
upcoming professional doctor,” instead of, “Adira, 25, is an upcoming
professional doctor.” The first statement tells the reader the
important facts without any extra, unnecessary information. The
second sentence adds the age of the person, which is not important
for readers to know. So, do not put unnecessary information, like age
or generation group, when there is no need for it.
Clichés, like “spry”, “chipper”, and “precocious” should also be
avoided (Inclusive Communication 2). These words invite
stereotyping, which should never happen in communication. The
only time information like age should be used is if it is needed or
relevant to the conditions. Bringing age into the topic may invite bias
as well. There are some people who look down upon people because
of their young age, while others view elderly people as requiring help
for even the simple tasks. It is best to reasonably represent a large
population with a large range of generations. It is also better to not
get too detailed or exaggerate in communication with peers or an
People tend to group each other, even unconsciously, based
on perceived differences in class. This means that when people sense
another person or group of people who are different from themselves
in a significant way, they will tend to label each other based on these
characteristics. Think of the stereotypical cliques you might associate
with high school students; these are examples of social groups based
on class. People categorize classes based on a wide variety of criteria,
for the purposes of this manual, we will discuss economic, regional,
and social class differences. Some of the outward signs that cause
people to perceive a class difference can be found in fashion or style,
hobbies, careers, or place of origin.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 277
As Figure 7.1 shows [chart with demographic info will be
inserted at beginning of chapter], UCF is a diverse campus with
students and faculty from all over the world, and from different
income brackets and lifestyles. Before coming to UCF, many students
will never have experienced such a diverse population before
(Bowman et al. 467). It is important for the UCF community to be
aware of the presence of classist sentiments in communication so
that none of the diverse groups on campus will be caused
unintentional offense.
Economic Classes
Economic class is commonly linked to social class because a
person's wealth may be seen as an indicator of social status or lack
thereof. Along with race, it is one of the largest social dividers in the
modern university campus and even in the entire United States
(Bowman et al., 472). To maintain professionalism, one should never
make any irrelevant remarks about another's income, no matter if it is
low or high; either one may be a sensitive subject.
Appearance may relate to economic class. In professional
communications, it may not be appropriate to indicate anything
(good or bad) about the appearance of another person. Even humor
may have a negative effect. For example, telling a coworker or fellow
student that they "clean up" nicely is usually intended as a
compliment. However the statement may be taken to be offensive by
implying that he normally does not have a tidy appearance (Inclusive
Communication 3). Furthermore, if that person has a low income, he
may be sensitive to the fact that he is usually unable to afford nice
clothes and accessories. The comment was not meant in a negative
way, but it was not inclusive and unintentionally alienated the other
D i v e r s i t y | 278
Regional Classes
Regional classes may involve cultural, ethnic, or national
groups from the same region. However, they may also include
subcultural groups. For example, although a man from South Carolina
may be considered part of the American national group, he may also
be considered part of a regional group in the American South.
Because groups like these may sometimes share characteristics and
culture, people tend to classify each other based on these groups.
Region may also intersect with race. Because of this, people often
make unfounded generalizations about race as it relates to place of
origin (Bowman et al., 472).
In professional communications at school or in the workplace,
it is not appropriate to make generalizations about any individual
person social group based on regional origins. Others may be
offended to be stereotyped or placed into a class based on this
criteria. Also, it is best not to assume the regional class of another
person, as it may not be accurately indicated by outward
appearances. For example, Sally is using Canvas to send an informal
message to Brandon, a fellow student in her algebra class. She sees
that his profile picture is one of him wearing a Boston t-shirt, and she
decides to ask him if he is a Patriots fan. This assumes two things: a)
that he is from Boston, and b) that he might be a Patriots fan because
he is from Boston. While these two things may or may not be true,
the assumption may offend Brandon either way.
Instead, Sally might ask Brandon where he is from. Then, she
could ask what football team he likes. Sally can use this method to
obtain the same information as before, but in a safer and more
professional manner. The difference is the use of open-ended
questions rather than "yes or no" questions. "Yes or no" questions
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may assume information about the questionee, whereas open-ended
questions will allow the other person to give information about
themselves as they see fit.
Social Classes
Social class is often linked to other criteria, such as economics
or regionalism. People often associate wealth or regional origin with
social status. It can, however, stand on its own in the form of cliques.
To maintain professionalism, follow the rules outlined above. Do not
refer to another person's social group unnecessarily. Also, do not
stereotype any social groups in any way, as it is not always possible to
know what groups others identify with.
Many people are familiar with the portrayal of social groups in
United States high schools, as movies frequently portray cliques such
as "jocks," "nerds," "preps," and "goths." This type of categorization
extends beyond high school and Hollywood into the real world. For
example, people who work in the Information Technology
department of a large company could be classified as "nerds" by their
coworkers in other departments simply because they work with
technology. However, this should be avoided as it does not foster a
positive work environment.
Culture is defined as the beliefs, customs, and way of life of a
particular society or group of people. It is not the same as Ethnicity
and Race although it is similar. For example, the holidays and
festivities that people celebrate as part of tradition are a large part of
culture. Some of the holidays and festivities other cultures have
include Ramadan being celebrated the ninth month of every year by
D i v e r s i t y | 280
Muslims and the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival celebrated at the
beginning of every year by the Chinese. Since, UCF has a large
student population, the university also sports a diverse range of
cultures with many different customs and languages. Communication
and writing must take into consideration all the different cultures
represented at the university by students and faculty. This should
also apply for outside our community as well because with the
Internet and the progression of technology, the easier it is to
communicate with the entire world. If culture is not taken into
account, then the possibly of offending and estranging certain groups
will increase. This section of the diversity chapter is intended to raise
awareness of the cultural differences that exists on campus.
Source: Llopis, Glenn. Diversity Must Become a Profit Center for Enterprise
to Flourish. 2012. Photograph. ForbesWeb. 10 Nov 2013. Figure 7.2.
While UCF has a large range of cultures, most members of the
community identify themselves as part of the American culture. The
majority of the population at UCF can be considered to fall under
American culture, so it can be considered the most influential culture
on campus. This takes into consideration those with families that
have adopted American customs, however much, into their native
culture. Non-American cultures are represented by American
students at the university, but most of them have been Americanized
in some way after their family has lived in the United States for a
period of time. While parents may keep their own cultural traditions
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alive, the younger family members adapt more of the American
culture and influence their older family members over
time. However, there are representations of cultures that have not
been Americanized yet at all or only a small amount present at
UCF. International students, like exchange students from China, at
the university are good representatives of their own country’s culture
with minimal to no Americanization. These foreign students that
come to the United States for the first time may experience a
disparity and see a large cultural difference from their own. The large
or small cultural difference between their own culture and American
culture mainly depends on where the foreign student is from.
With all of the different cultures represented on campus, care
should be taken in order to avoid upsetting, by accident or not,
individuals that have a different cultural background. Be careful
when talking or writing about topics that relate to culture. Topics
that can involve culture are numerous and range from talking about
the type of food to eat for lunch to the kinds of clothes other people
wear. When having a casual conversation in public be aware of
everyone in the surroundings so you do not say something that
insults the culture of another person. It is not recommended to say
this in public, “I do not understand how people can read from right to
left. The normal way to read is from left to right.” The second
sentence is extremely condescending and implies that people who do
read from right to left are abnormal. There are cultures all over the
world where the reading and writing system goes from up to down
and right to left, like Chinese. There is nothing that says the only way
to read and write is from left to right. A better way to phrase the
second statement would be to say, “The way I am used to reading is
left to right.”
One of the most interesting and delicious parts of culture is
cuisine. Each culture has its own style of preparing and cooking the
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type of food that people associated with the culture eat. Americans
may consider certain types of food as exotic, like dragon fruit, while
other dishes, like frogs, may be frowned upon; this may also be true
from another culture’s viewpoint towards American dishes like
meatloaf. Some cultures, like the groups in Asia, eat animals like
turtles, snakes, and dogs. Many Americans would find that disgusting
or inhumane. Some of them may even insult the culture and those
that eat those animals. However, no one should insult or judge
another person because of what they eat. Is there really a difference
between eating a snake and pig that one is deemed disgusting and
the other is considered normal? While there are people that do
believe there is a distinction, they should not look down upon or
insult those people that have those animals in their diet. There are
even cultures that do not accept eating certain animals or any kind of
meat at all. There should not be any disdain towards other cultures
because of their cuisine, but understanding.
Modern clothing and dress throughout the world and on
campus is predominantly Euro-American fashion (Stillman, and
Stillman 161). Most people on campus dress like the majority of
Americans. However, there are some people that dress in traditional,
ethnic clothing. This might be because of tradition or an event as
most cultures throughout the world have festivals or events that
require or encourage specific dress. For example, people from Saudi
Arabia and other countries in the Middle East still wear traditional
Arab clothes every day; Muslim women in these countries wear a veil
to cover their head, which may be frowned upon by others. During
New Year and other festivals the Japanese normally wear yukatas or
kimonos. These are traditional clothes that used to be everyday
clothes hundreds of years ago and are similar to the Western
robes. People from other cultures may find the kimonos funny or
feminine and insult males that wear them. There may be times at
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UCF where people will dress in traditional fashion. Do not judge a
person based on what they wear, even if it seems out of place. This
should be especially true in a country like the U.S with a large range
of diverse cultures.
Language is one of the defining traits of culture. The first
language a person learns while growing up will have an impact on
everything they do in everyday life, including how they think,
communicate and write. A good example that shows how language
impacts a person is to compare children that are the same age, but
speak different native languages. According to Lera Boroditsky,
children with Hebrew as their native language learn their own gender
faster than children that speak English natively, while children that
speak Finnish as their native language learn about their gender slower
than English and Hebrew speaking kids (Boroditsky, 62-65). The
differences in languages are the main reason for the disparity in time
the kids learn about their own gender. Hebrew is structured in a way
that specifies gender very often. This allows Hebrew children to learn
about gender very easily. In comparison, Finnish has no gender
specific or distinct words, so Finnish children learn about gender later
than Hebrew kids. Clearly, this shows that the language a person first
learns impacts development and thought.
Japanese is another language that has gender distinct
words. There are several different words that a Japanese speaker can
use to refer to himself. The “I” or “me” word a Japanese person uses
will more often than not denote her gender. “As is well known, these
are nearly categorically gender linked: (w)atashi is primarily used by
females and ore and boku by males (Ono, and Thompson 321-47).”
For this reason, it is easier on average for Japanese people to
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determine the gender of the person they are communicating with.
Most Japanese women do in fact use the terms watashi (私) or atashi
(あたし) to reference themselves, while most Japanese males use
boku (僕) and ore (俺). However, just because a Japanese person
uses the term more associated with females does not mean the
person is a female. That person may be a male that speaks more
politely as the “I” or “me” terms associated for males are considered
to be rough. This is also true the other way, with a female using the
term associated more with males. So, when you are communicating
or speaking Japanese to a person who understands the language you
need to be careful about assuming what gender the other person
is. To be on the safe side use a commonly accepted or gender neutral
term (for more about gender go to the section on this chapter on
In another case, people that speak Kuuk Thaayorre always
know the cardinal directions wherever they are. The language is
structured in a way such that the cardinal directions are part of
everyday casual conversation and thought. If you were to ask a Kuuk
Thaayorre speaker which way is East, the person would be able to
point in that direction with no problem, even if the conversation was
inside a building or in unfamiliar environments (Boroditsky, 62-65). In
comparison, English speakers on average would have some trouble
determining which direction East is. Kuuk Thaayorre has no words
that are the equivalency of the English right, up, down, and left. You
would only hear East, North, South, and West. That is why you will
never hear a Kuuk Thaayorre speaker say the computer is behind this
wall; instead, you might hear that the computer is north of the
wall. This is what allows the native speakers to be good with
directions. So, do not become frustrated if you are communicating
with someone that is not giving directions in terms you would
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like. Try to carefully listen or ask the other person to explain using
different words if possible.
People from different cultures that speak their own native
languages first have different thinking processes and speaking
habits. The way a person communicates can be said to be related to
language. So, we need to be mindful of the differences in languages
and must be careful when communicating with people that have a
different native language from our own.
There are two main types of disabilities - physical and learning
(Inclusive Communication 4). The UCF community must be aware of
the differences between these disabilities, and that there are certain
accepted terms used to refer to those with disabilities. Failure to use
appropriate terms may alienate an audience that includes people
with disabilities.
Physical Disabilities
When referring to any person (or group of people) with any
type of disability, always remember that the disability does not define
the person. It is best to use phrases such as "people with disabilities."
Note that the word "people" or "person "should come before any
mention of the disability. Use this method first, and afterward it may
be acceptable to use "disabled person "and similar terms sparingly,
for the sake of brevity. We do this so that people with disabilities do
not feel dehumanized to be characterized by their disability before
D i v e r s i t y | 286
anything else. Of course the best way to be inclusive is to not mention
the disability at all if it can be avoided. However, there are times
when it is appropriate to use a label, especially if it is relevant to the
subject. If a student were writing a paper about famous people with
disabilities or health conditions, then it would be appropriate to say
that "Although completely blind, Ray Charles became one of the most
famous musicians of all time." Despite the fact that the term "blind"
came before any mention of Ray Charles as a person, this statement
is relevant to the topic and effective. In many cases, a judgement call
will be required. Additionally, terms such as "handicap" or
"impairment" are not interchangeable with "disability" (Inclusive
Communication 5). "Disability" should be used exclusively to avoid
confusion. Remember, if the disability is not absolutely relevant, then
there is no need to mention it.
When referring to those without disabilities, avoid using the
terms "normal" or "able-bodied." Similarly, people with disabilities
should not be characterized as sick or diseased. "Invalid" is one
common term which actually has a negative connotation for the
disabled community (Inclusive Communication 4). Be aware that
there are many varying attitudes toward disabilities, positive and
negative. Although those without disabilities may be quick to
conclude that the disabled are unfortunate, those with disabilities
may actually have a very different outlook. For example, many deaf
people are proud of their lack of hearing. More specifically, this trait
is carried through generations and seen as a valuable part of family
heritage. Families such as these are often proud of the way they have
overcome their disabilities, and feel that being deaf or hearing
impaired has caused them to become stronger rather than weaker
(Payne 25).
Learning Disabilities
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Many of the rules listed above in the Physical Disabilities
section also apply to those with learning disabilities, however some
additional considerations must also be taken. It is important to note
that people with learning disabilities typically have normal, if not
greater, intelligence. Learning disabilities are in no way related to
mental retardation. Rather, this type of disability manifests itself as a
deficit in the intake, retention, or expression of information (Inclusive
Communication 7).
Often, a learning disability may not be evident to observers.
However, if a student or faculty member has a known learning
disability, it is important to provide them with very organized
communications. This means that you should define any schedules or
requirements in advance and use visual aids wherever possible to
improve comprehension. Most of all, remain patient when
communicating with individuals with learning disabilities - you may
have to repeat ideas or find different ways to explain them. If one
method doesn't work, try something else until an effective one can be
found (Inclusive Communication 8).
Ethnicity and Race
Ethnicity and Race are social constructs used to categorize
people (Inclusive Communication 14). There are some people that
may have separate definitions for ethnicity and race. For these
people, ethnicity encompasses language and everything else that
involves culture, while race refers to the physical characteristics, like
skin color, of a person. Other people may describe ethnicity and race
as two terms that have the same meaning. Culture, as defined in a
previous section, is separate from ethnicity and race, while these two
terms will have the same definition. For more information about
D i v e r s i t y | 288
culture, please see the section in this chapter dedicated to culture,
starting on page x. [Make sure to insert page number in place of x]
Ethnicity is defined as, “A named social category of people
based on perceptions of shared social experience or
ancestry. Members of the ethnic group see themselves as sharing
cultural traditions and history that distinguish them from other
groups (Peoples and Bailey).” The collective history and social
experience of a group of people is what defines their ethnicity. A
person is ethnically Egyptian if she shares the same history and
traditions with the entire group of Egyptians. This applies even if she
is not living in Egypt and is Egyptian American or Egyptian
Canadian. It does not apply to a person if he is born in Egypt, but
does not share the same traditions and history with other
Egyptians. His ethnicity instead would be Italian since he shares the
traditions and history of Italians.
Race became a term used to describe groups of people based
on their distinct physical characteristics (Keita, Kittles, and et al S17S20). People, notably in the Western world, classified groups of
people into different races based on their appearances, especially
skin color. A lot prejudice, discrimination, and terrible acts arose
from this type of classification. Examples of racial discrimination are
segregation in the United States until the Civil Rights Movement in
the 1960s, the Nazi genocide in the middle of the 20th century, and
the battles between the original 13 Colonies and Native
Americans. The use of the term race reached its peak in the middle of
the 1940s during World War II. More recently, the use of the word
race has fallen out of favor, perhaps because of its connections to
Nazi Germany and the horrors its regime caused in using the phrase,
“superior Aryan race.”
In order to avoid all the potential confusion and
misunderstandings, ethnicity and race will have the same definition
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for this style manual. Ethnicity and race will be defined as, “A group
or population of people that share traditions and history that are
distinguishable from other groups.” With this it is easier to see that
the culture of a person does not define her ethnicity and race. For
example, Henry is a person that lives in South Africa. His ethnicity is
British due to his ancestry and sharing history with the majority
population of Great Britain. However, he identifies himself culturally
more as a South African because he celebrates South African
traditions. Henry was born in South Africa and has been influenced
by South African culture ever since he was young. He has gotten very
little exposure to his ethnic British culture. Henry is a type of person
that identifies himself with a culture different from his ethnicity and
race. The large diversity on UCF’s campus and in the United States
has potential for a lot of people similar to Henry.
Keeping in mind that ethnicity and race are different terms
with the same meaning and differs from culture is important for
communication. This is especially true for a community that is as
large and diverse as the second largest university in the United
States. Everyday communication with others on campus will take
place in public where other people are able to overhear
conversations, intentionally or not. Papers and homework are graded
by professors, instructors, and teaching assistants whom may not
belong to the same ethnic group as yourself. Outside of school work
and campus, technology and the Internet make it increasingly easier
to communicate with people over long distances. The chances of
communicating with people of different ethnicities on the Internet
are essentially guaranteed, so it would be better to be more aware of
phrasing and words being used in communication.
It is recommended to avoid identifying people by ethnicity and
race unless it is related or there is a need to (Inclusive Communication
14). This applies to individuals as well. Doing this will help lower the
D i v e r s i t y | 290
chance of accidentally insulting or alienating a particular ethnic
group. However, there are some cases where talking about ethnicity
and race is required. A paper for a course about ethnic cultures has a
high chance of requiring students to bring up ethnicity and
race. These topics are related and there may be a need to identify
people or individuals by their ethnicity and race. If the topic of
interest is about getting into a university, then ethnicity and race are
not needed. For example, “Maria Hernandez, a Latina undergraduate
student, got an interview to John Hopkins University for their medical
program.” Saying that Maria is a Latina is not necessary in the
statement. There is nothing relevant to ethnicity and race in this
context. One could argue about the equal opportunity minority
process, but that is adding unnecessary detail that implies Maria only
got the interview at John Hopkins because she is a minority. It would
be better to leave her ethnicity and status of being a minority out
altogether and say, “Maria Hernandez, an undergraduate student, got
an interview to John Hopkins University for their medical program.” In
most communication, a person has throughout a day ethnicity and
race will not be relevant.
In cases where ethnicity and race is important, it is good to
remember that not everyone will accept certain terms or
designations for their ethnicity and race. As an example not all
people from Asia may like being called Oriental. They may prefer to
be called Asian. This is also true the other way; some may prefer to
be called Oriental and not Asian. Technically, both terms are correct,
but there is some historical context that must be applied because
some people of Asian descent may be offended at being called
Oriental. As John Kuo Wei Tchen, director at New York University,
said, “With the anti-war movement in the ‘60s and early ‘70s, many
Asian Americans identified the term ‘Oriental’ with a Western process
of racializing Asians as forever opposite ‘others’.” In the 1960s and
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early 1970s, the United States was embroiled in the Vietnam War,
which sparked a lot of controversy surrounding ethnic Asians and
Communism. So, while most Asian Americans do not care at being
called either term, there are some who do care about it. Punctuation
with ethnic group terms also needs to be given attention. It is
recommended to only put hyphens when using name compounds
that are fragments, like Afro-American. When using the full name
compounds, like African American, no hyphen should be used
(Inclusive Communication 15).
Stereotyping is one of the biggest issues with ethnicity and
race. Even positive comments about a person’s ethnicity based on
stereotyping should not be done. For example, it is a common
stereotype that Blacks are athletic and good at sports. While that
may be true, it does not apply to all Black people. There are some
Black people that are not athletic or good at sports. So, do not phrase
a statement like this, “Calvin Johnson, a Black receiver for the Detroit
Lions, is a great football player that had 14 catches for 329 yards in
one game.” This sentence seems good, but there is subtle
stereotyping. That is not a polite statement and is just stereotyping
because there are lots of great football players that are not Black. It
also brings up ethnicity and race when it is not relevant. A better way
to phrase that statement would be, “Calvin Johnson is a great football
player that had 14 catches for 329 yards in one game.” This sentence
does not stereotype Calvin Johnson and leaves ethnicity and race out,
which is irrelevant to the topic. It is always better to not use phrases
or anything that reinforces stereotypes.
American is another term to be aware of. This is because
most people associate the term American with United States’
citizens. As most people know, the U.S is part of North America,
which also includes Canada. So, if someone in the U.S is considered
American, so should people in Canada; they are not just
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Canadians. American also applies to those that live in Central
America and South America. There are many other terms and
situations to be aware of in regards to ethnicity and race. For more
information about this topic, please go to the Office of Diversity
Gender and Sexual Orientation
Often when we are asked to consider the term" gender," we
only think of the biological differences between males and females. In
reality, gender is a construct of society, whereas sex is the term which
refers to actual physical makeup of males and females (Inclusive
Communication 9). Because gender roles are largely determined by
culture, different cultures may perceive gender in a diverse number
of ways. Although sex may be an indicator of gender, some people
also do not identify their own gender based on their outward
appearances or sex. Another important aspect of gender diversity is
sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is a separate issue from gender,
however the two are often intertwined as issues of sexuality may
sometimes be associated with gender roles. For example, a man who
has a sexuality different from the majority culture may be criticized as
being too feminine because he does not conform to the stereotypical
gender role expected of him. By the same token, many lesbian
women are called "manly" or "butch" (Flanders and Hatfield 374). In
order to promote effective and indiscriminate technical
communications, it is important to consider gender diversity. If we
assume the role or identity of another individual, it is possible to
alienate him or her. The following sections will outline some of the
features of gender diversity in our UCF community, as well as
strategies to remain inclusive in our communications.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 293
Cultural Perceptions
Although gender roles are becoming more flexible in the
western world, there are still some traditional stereotypes which
many people still identify with. For example, some people in America
may believe that it is a man's job to earn money for his household
while a woman stays home to cook and take care of the children. But
why couldn't a woman get a high-paying job while the man stays at
home? Why does the woman have to marry a man at all? Why do
men have to participate in sports, while women like shopping and
Your answers to these questions will likely be based on your
own cultural perceptions of gender roles. It is best to consider that
there are as many different answers to these questions as there are
cultures in the world, and although you do not have to personally
agree with any of them, none of them are necessarily incorrect. By
keeping an open mind, you will make it possible to communicate with
a much more diverse group of people both at UCF and in the
In Ghana, the Asante believe that parenthood is essential for
both genders to be fully functional as people. Just as many cultures
believe motherhood is the essence of womanhood, so too do the
Asante. However, in this culture women are expected to become
breadwinners and bear the financial burden of raising children to
adulthood. They do not stay home with their children, and leaving for
work is seen as an expression of devotion to motherly duties. This is a
matrilineal society which recognizes the female as a powerful and
assertive figure, and contrasts greatly with the dominant culture in
the United States. American culture tends to view matrilineal systems
as controversial, especially when considering the "conflicted working
mother." In our culture, working mothers are sometimes seen as
D i v e r s i t y | 294
people who do not have adequate time to care for their children and
only endure the hardship of working because of poor economic
circumstances, while in the Asante culture it would be shameful for a
woman not to work (Clark 717-719).
Ask yourself this question one more time: Why don't more
men stay home while women provide for their families as
breadwinners? To you, this may be a foreign concept. However, to
the Asante it is not. The Asante might ask themselves the opposite:
Why don't more women stay at home for the men to work? This is all
because we perceive gender differently, and there are expected
cultural norms based on this all over the world. Cultures with more
flexible ideas may be more open to people switching gender roles or
doing something out of the ordinary. However some are very rigid.
This is why it is important that before judging or saying anything
about anyone based on what we perceive to be their gender role, we
should ask ourselves why we think this way and how the other person
might be thinking also.
Applications in Communication
Now that you have learned about gender and sexuality and
seen some examples of the diverse views held in our multicultural
society, you can apply that knowledge to your communications with
others and avoid stereotypes. First, it is possible to use non-gendered
pronouns such as "you," "they," or "one." This can be awkward
though, so in many cases it is acceptable to alternate the pronouns he
and she or eliminate pronouns altogether if possible.
Consider this sentence: "As a student, he or she is entitled to a
parking permit." Although this is gender neutral, it can be awkward. If
you were addressing students directly you might simply say "you are
entitled to a parking permit." Or if giving general information, "each
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 295
student is entitled to a parking permit." If you would like to alternate
pronouns, consider the following: "Each student is entitled to a
parking permit. In order to receive the permit, a student must first
register his vehicle online at the university website. After verifying the
driver's license and vehicle information, emails are sent to students
allowing them to log on and remit payment for a permit. A student
who pays for a permit may pick it up in the Transportation services
office, or she may provide a mailing address. Mail-order permits will
typically arrive within two weeks." The words "he" and "she" were
used to refer to two nondescript students in this example.
When addressing men and women, it is best to refer to each
party by name and title wherever possible. When referring to
couples, people may sometimes say or write phrases such as "Dr.
Fisher and his wife" or "Dr. and Mrs. Calvin Fisher." Although usually
unintentional, these statements tend to emphasize the
accomplishments of men while subjugating those of women. Note
that in each of these statements, the woman is not even mentioned
by name as only Dr. Fisher's name is deemed important. However,
Mrs. Fisher's name is important too as well as her accomplishments.
Instead, it is recommended that each person's name and title be
equally included in the statement as in "Dr. Calvin and Mrs. Jane
Fisher," or simply "Dr. and Mrs. Fisher." If they are both doctors, then
they can be called "Doctors Calvin and Jane Fisher." Pluralization of
the word "doctors" as well as the mention of each individual name,
will cut down on redundancy (saying "doctor" twice) while also
recognizing both husband and wife.
Another important thing to remember is that it may be
harmful to assume aspects such as marital status or sexual
orientation (Inclusive Communication 11). For example, if Bill is
inviting Sarah to a club meeting, he should not tell her to bring her
husband, boyfriend, or spouse. Instead, he may simply suggest that it
D i v e r s i t y | 296
is okay for her to bring a guest if she prefers. This way he will not risk
assuming that she is heterosexual or married or any other stereotype.
He leaves her the option to choose which guest she wants to bring
without feeling obligated to fit into one of the categories that
husband, boyfriend, or spouse might suggest. As a side note, he
should also avoid assuming that she has children if he has no personal
knowledge of the fact.
There are certain terms which are generally accepted for
certain sexualities and gender identities. Keep in mind that although
the terms may be accepted, they can still be considered offensive
when used in a derogatory manner. For example, although the term
"gay" is usually accepted to refer to both male and female
homosexuals, some people have taken to using it as an insult. If
someone just took a difficult exam and was upset about it, she might
say something like "that test was so gay." In doing so, she implies that
"gay" is somehow associated with the negative qualities of the test
that she did not like despite that the two things are completely
unrelated. This has become a social trend in America; many people
say things like this unthinkingly by repeating what others have said
and are not really trying to insult gay people. However in doing so,
they risk alienating those around them. Generally, you should try to
consider whether or not issues of gender or sexuality are relevant to
your topic. If they are not, then there is no need to make any type of
reference and you will not risk being misinterpreted. Jokes or remarks
about sexual stereotypes are disrespectful and do not belong in any
academic or professional setting.
LGBTQ+ Resources
LGBTQ+ is an acronym which stands for "Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Trans, Questioning, and others." This refers to a group of
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 297
people who are not heterosexual or else may not conform to the
gender role typically expected of them by their society (LGBTQ
Services). UCF is home to an organization called LGBTQ Services
which provides a comprehensive glossary of terminology on their
website at This website also contains
many other valuable resources for learning about the LGBTQ
community both in and outside of the university.
Political Ideology
Politics is a way for a group of people to organize and decide
on a course of action. For the purposes of this section political
ideology will be defined as, “An individual’s beliefs with respect to
policy statements that include social issues and economic issues
(Christine 140).” Every nation in the world has a form of
government. There are two main political parties in the United
States: the Democratic (liberal) Party and the Republican
(conservative) Party. Intense, heated topics of debate that occur in
the nation’s government sometimes make their way to places outside
government buildings, like UCF’s campus. Many people in the
country are affiliated with a political party or follow what is going on
in government and lots of university students are no exception. Some
students may even be majored in Political Science. This can lead to
students and staff debating about political platforms and government
agenda, especially during election time. These conversations should
not get too aggressive or heated because they can become hostile
quickly. Debates and discussions that promote political ideas,
considerations, and insight from different perspectives should be held
and even encouraged. However, a political discussion that
degenerate into arguments or become hostile is frowned upon.
D i v e r s i t y | 298
Points similar to, “The government needs to be more involved
in the airline industry because ever since it went private, the prices
for tickets increased exponentially,” are good, supported with a
reason, and do not say anything unfavorable about those on the
other side of the debate. Badly worded points like, “Abortion should
be outlawed because it goes against the teachings of God which says
that life is precious,” should not be used in any form of
communication. This statement introduces a religion into a debate
that is already centered around a sensitive topic. The First
Amendment protects the right to free exercise of religion. However,
not only does that statement invite conflict and strife, it also alienates
those who do not practice Christianity or its beliefs, which would not
be smart for a politician to do. A better way to structure that
statement would be similar to this, “Abortion should not be legal
because each life deserves a chance to live.” Most of the time that
this happens it is unintentional, but it is still important to be more
aware of phrasing so other groups are not alienated. There are some
people who do have a firm belief in tying religion to abortion
though. In order to minimize alienating groups, debate points should
stay relevant to the topic and only be about that topic, so other
potential issues do not arise.
While, many Americans identify themselves as being a
conservative or a liberal, other political groups like Independents,
Libertarians, and the Green Party do exist. These groups have their
own core beliefs on policies regarding economic and social
issues. Normally, they lean more towards either the conservative
side or the liberal side, but can be swayed to another
direction. Therefore, when communication involves politics it is
important to remember those who are not affiliated with either the
Democratic Party or the Republican Party. Of course, since only U.S
citizens are allowed to vote in the country’s political elections,
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 299
communication does not need to be geared to foreigners. However,
it would be smart to make sure that nothing in the communication
will unintentionally isolate any group. For example, a statement
about border control may cause backlash from an unintentional
phrasing of the message. “We must secure our borders in the South
to ensure that the lawless, drug dealing Mexicans do not get into our
country.” The way that sentence is framed has the potential to anger
Mexicans and Mexican Americans living in the United States. It is
recommended to phrase the statement like this, “We must secure our
borders in the South to ensure that no one enters our country
illegally.” This sentence does not bluntly call out any specific group of
people and has a lower chance of angering people.
Politics and policies are not only part of
government. Companies and organizations like universities also have
some form of politics. Policies are set as guidelines that outline how
people part of the organization are expected to behave, what process
or procedure to follow in situations, and create a standard that
applies to everyone equally. Tolerance and acceptance is very
important in the area of politics. Everyone should practice political
tolerance for each other, even if the elected officials in the
government do not.
Religion is a system involves a person's or group's belief (or
lack of belief) in a higher power, and the practices and values that go
along with that belief. Some important characteristics of religion may
include, but are not limited to:
 belief in a deity/deities
 doctrine of salvation
 moral/behavioral teachings
D i v e r s i t y | 300
use of rituals and sacred objects (Morgan 1-3)
Although organized religious institutions are common,
individual beliefs and practices also exist and must not be
disregarded. There is a wide variety of religions represented in the
world today including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism,
Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Bahā’ī, Jainism, Sikhism, Shinto,
Zoroastrianism, Mandeanism, Wicca, as well as various other new
religious movements. Each of these religions has different and
sometimes conflicting beliefs about how to live and behave, which
can make it difficult to coexist.
At UCF, and in the world as a whole, we come into contact
with representatives from a diverse range of religious perspectives.
From 1990 to 2008, non-Christian religious groups and faiths in the
United States increased by 3 million, to 8.8 million (Gelb and Longacre
510). We may not always agree with the religious view of others, and
that is perfectly normal. However, it is important to remember that
professional settings should not be used as a place for debate. Doing
so can result in alienating or offending classmates and coworkers.
Instead, it is better to exclude religious topics from your
communication wherever possible and avoid conflict. Above all,
remember that members of faith groups are also diverse, coming
from a wide variety of races, nationalities, and cultures. Because of
this, they should not be subjected to religious stereotypes
(Intercultural Communication 17).
Of course, some types of generalizations regarding religion are
not the same as stereotyping. Stating that Muslims are supposed
donate to charity or that they believe that Jesus was a prophet just
like Muhammad is a fact. These are known keystones of Islamic belief.
But some people may not recognize the fine line between
appropriate generalizations and inappropriate ones. For example,
although the above statements about Islam are true, it would not be
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 301
true or appropriate for someone to say that Muslims want to wage a
holy war on Americans, and that they call this Jihad. Some extreme
groups believe in this type of Jihad, however the majority of Muslims
are peaceful. The concept of Jihad varies within the Islamic faith, and
many view it as an internal struggle within themselves. It is not fair to
generalize an entire faith group based on the views of some.
Overview of Major World Religions
Since the September 11th attacks in 2001, religious diversity
has become a more pressing issue in society. Much of the debate
over religious diversity has centered on the Christian and Islamic faith
groups, and religious stereotypes have fueled hatred between both
groups. Many Americans who do not subscribe to Islam have
misconceptions about its beliefs. Similarly, many other religions which
are less commonly understood in the United States have come under
scrutiny. It will benefit you to gain a better understanding of some
major world religions so that you can avoid stereotyping and prevent
misunderstandings from occurring. By expanding your worldview and
opening your mind to these concepts, you will be able to connect
with a wide variety of people in both your business and personal lives.
Buddhism: This religion originated in India and is practiced widely
throughout the U.S. There are over 300 Buddhist temples in Los
Angeles, CA. Followers try to attain what is called "Nirvana" or
"Enlightenment" to solve human suffering and do not necessarily
believe in any deity. The faith encourages people to live by moral
principle and to refrain from wanting. Wanting and craving for what
you do not have is said to be the source of suffering, so it is better to
simply avoid it. Many people do not believe that Buddhism is a
religion but rather a philosophy for living. Buddhist beliefs may be
D i v e r s i t y | 302
followed in addition to another religion such as Christianity as it does
not prescribe belief or lack or belief in a certain deity (Gelb and
Longacre 515-518).
Christianity: There are a variety of Christian groups, including
Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, and various other smaller groups. As
such, they have a wide variety of practices although the overall faith
is largely the same. Many (but not all) Christians believe that Jesus
Christ is the son of God who was crucified and resurrected. Generally
Christians emphasize the belief that all humans sin, but they can be
saved by turning to God and repenting for their sins (Gelb and
Longacre 516).
Confucianism: This is a prevalent philosophy and religion in East and
Southeast Asia and permeates all aspects of life there, regardless of
the presence of other beliefs such as Christianity. The core values of
Confucianism are respect for antiquity, for education, deference to
elders, and loyalty to family ties. It is sometimes considered more of
worldview or way of life than a religion, as Confucian values may be
important to people who follow other religions as well. Confucianism
values moderation and adherence to rules, as well as harmony in
society over the individual (Gelb and Longacre 516).
Taoism: This is an Asian religion which promotes harmony with the
natural world. Americans may associate this with the practice of Feng
Shui. Taking care of the body and good health are also emphasized in
Taoist practices (Gelb and Longacre 516).
Hinduism: This is the third largest religious group in the United States
today. Hinduism is a polytheistic religion with multiple gods.
Followers may believe in making offerings to the gods in the form of
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 303
animals, milk, grains, or plants, among other rituals. Today, Brahman
is seen by many Hindus as the "primary god" of Hinduism, although
traditionally that was not the case (Gelb and Longacre 516).
Islam: Islam is the fastest growing and second largest religion in the
world. There are more than 1,000 mosques in the United States
alone. (Gelb and Longacre 517). It is a monotheistic religion, with
followers who believe that there is one god who may speak to us
through prophets. Muslims believe in the same God as Christians,
however in the Muslim faith, Jesus is not viewed as part of the Trinity
as in Christianity. Instead, Jesus is seen as a prophet who spoke the
word of God. The "pillars" of Islam include declaration of faith in one
God, ritualistic prayer, fasting, donation to the needy, and pilgrimage
to Mecca (Gelb and Longacre 516-517).
Judaism: This is one of the smallest and most tight-knit religious
groups within the major world religions. Jewish beliefs are based on
the teachings of the Old Testament and the Talmud. Jews believe in
the same God as Christians and Muslims. However, they do not
believe in God as a trinity, so they reject the Christian idea of Jesus.
To Jews, God is a singular entity. (Gelb and Longacre 517).
Best Communication Practices for Religious Diversity
Spirituality does not automatically equate to association with
an organized religion; neither do ethnicity or nationality. For example,
many Jews and non-religious people (among others) celebrate
Christmas as a special holiday of giving. To be on the safe side, try not
to assume the religion of any person.
Because many people celebrate a variety of religious holidays,
it is important to be mindful of this in professional communications
D i v e r s i t y | 304
(Inclusive Communication 17). For example, Jack celebrates Christmas
and is planning a party for his company to honor the holiday. Many of
his coworkers also celebrate the holiday, or are pleased to come even
if they do not. However, Rachel celebrates Hanukah and does not feel
welcome at a Christmas party. Another coworker celebrates Kwanzaa
instead. Although Jack may feel that there is nothing wrong with
calling it a Christmas party, in a professional setting it would be better
to use a more generic term. Since all of these holidays fall around the
same time, he can invite coworkers to a "holiday party" where
everyone is able to feel welcome and included, regardless of religious
Other religious observances may also affect technical
communications, so it is important to be aware of the dates for some
major holidays. For example, Muslims observe the month of Ramadan
as a time of fasting. If Ramadan falls in July, it would be poor
judgement to plan an employee luncheon during that time. Of course,
it can be difficult to know or remember all of the holidays which
might affect your planning, so it may be useful to consult a calendar
or other resource which lists important dates. You can visit the UCF
Office of Diversity Initiatives website at
for a listing of various holidays and events.
U C F S t y l e M a n u a l | 305
Works Cited
Binette, Chad. "Freshman Class Sets New Records, Fall Enrollment
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Boroditsky, L. "How Language Shapes Thought." Scientific American.
(2011): 62-65. Web. 4 Oct. 2013.
Bowman, Nicholas et al. “Does Socioeconomic Diversity Make a
Difference? Examining the Effects of Racial and Socioeconomic
Diversity on the Campus Climate for Diversity.” American Educational
Research Journal 50.3 (June 2013): 466-496. Web. 1 October
Flanders, Cory and Elaine Hatfield. "Perceptions of Gender and
Bisexuality: An Exploration of the
Relationship Between Perceived
Masculinity, Femininity, and Sexual Ambiguity." Journal of Bisexuality
13.3 (Jul-Sept 2013): 374-389. Web. 21 October 2013.
Gelb, Betsy and Teri Longacre. “Acknowledging religious diversity:
Opportunities and challenges.”
Business Horizons 55.5
(September 2012): 509-518. Web. 1 October 2013.
"Inclusive Communication Guide." UCF Diversity Initiatives Office. n.d.
Kanthak, Kristin and George Krause. The Diversity Paradox. Oxford
Scholarship Online, 2012. eBook.
Keita, S O Y, R A Kittles, et al. "Conceptualizing human variation."
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Llopis, Glenn. Diversity Must Become a Profit Center for Enterprise to
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Morgan, Anthony. "Characteristics of Religion." 14 February 2012.
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Ono, Tsuyoshi, and Sandra A. Thompson. "Japanese
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Payne, James. “We Are All Disabled…On Some of Us It Shows
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Peoples, James, and Garrick Bailey. Humanity:An Introduction to
Cultural Anthropology.
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Sengstock, Mary C. Voices of Diversity. New York: Springer, 2009.
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Thomson, Gregg. "Diversity Matters: New Directions for Institutional
Research on Undergraduate Racial/Ethnic and Economic Diversity.
SERU Project and Consortium Research Paper. Research & Occasional
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Smith, Christine, et al. "The Place Of Political Diversity Within The
Social Work Classroom." Journal
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Stillman, Yedida Kalfon and Norman A. Stillman. “Arab Dress: A Short
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von Schorlemer, Sabine and Peter Tobias Stoll. The UNESCO
Convention on the Protection and Promotion
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Cultural Expressions : Explanatory Notes. Springer, 2012. eBook.
state names or
report abstract,
academic journals,
Adobe Photoshop,
American Sociological Association
APA Citation,
social sciences,
title page,
abstract ,
parenthetical citation, 80
Apple Aperture,
appositive fragments,
assembly instructions,
Black and White vs Color,
call number,
learning management
tools bar,
discussion board,
centered or left aligned text,
flow ,
tables and charts,
Chicago Style,
cover page,
general guidelines,
Parenthetical Citations,
in text citations,
collaborative authorship,
Comma Splices,
Common and Long Phrases,
Common Knowledge,
Common Sources,
conjunctive adverbs,
coordinating conjunctions,
Council of Science Editors,
cover letter,
Cover Letters and Resumes,
Cover Page,
style sheet,
relation to stereotypes,
style of dress,
Lunar New Year,
Demonstrative Speech,
dependent clauses,
descriptive essay,
direct quotes,
Email and Netiquette,
subject line,
Ethnicity and Race,
situated ethos,
invented ethos,
exchange students,
expository writing,
building the network,
Wall – News Feed,
privacy settings,
Finding Reliable Information,
Future Technical
Gender and Sexual Orientation, 292
gender roles,
LGBTQ resources,
Google Drive,
Google Picasa,
graphic acquisition,
Graphic Placement,
Green Party,
Headers and Footers,
how-to guides,
how-to speech,
block level elements,
inline elements,
human heart,
in text citations,
Informative Speeches,
instruction manuals,
international students,
inverted pyramid of journalism, 26
investigative journalism,
Khan Academy,
Lab Reports,
letter space,
1st degree connections,
2nd degree connections,
bullet lists,
numbered lists,
Logging In,
lonely verb fragments,
ragged right,
right justified,
metaphoric image,
Microsoft Word,
MIT OPEN Courseware,
MLA Style,
narrative essays,
news articles,
numbers in writing,
Online Citation Generator,
Son of Citation
online communication,
Online Learning Tools,
overwhelming images,
page number,
Page Size,
Parallel Structure,
Parenthetical Citations,
peer reviewed,
Persuasive Essays,
Persuasive Speeches,
Photo Editing Tools,
Corel Paint Shop Pro,
physical gestures,
Political Ideology,
primary source,
Print vs. Online Text,
Proof Reading,
Proper Sentence Form,
major world religions,
holiday calendar,
resume structure,
Run-on Sentences,
sales pitch,
Science Journalism,
Search Accuracy,
search engine,
Secondary Source,
Sentence Fragments,
Sigma Tau Delta,
snail mail,
Social Media,
state names or territories,
Subject and Predicate,
Subject Verb Agreement,
subordinating conjunctions,
Tables and Charts,
tertiary source,
Text Descriptions and Captions, 207
The Cloud,
time span,
top 10,
Topic Sentences,
transitional phrases,
Type of Paper,
paper grade,
white space,
Works Cited,
Michael Amorosa
Michael Amorosa was born and raised in New Jersey. He graduated High
School and joined the United States Marine Corps. He spent four years serving
our country state side and in Japan. His job in the Marine Corps was a
lithographic printer. He was honorable discharged. He attended college in New
Jersey for a year before moving to Florida. Michael attended Valencia College
and earned an associate degree. He transferred to the University of Central
Florida as a technical communication major. He hopes to work as a technical
editor for a science publication after graduation.
Michael’s role in the UCF style manual was writing parts of the rhetoric
and written communication chapter. He wrote the parts on expository writing,
descriptive essays, investigative journalism, science journalism, persuasive
speeches, and rhetoric. He also was an index editor, helping to organize and
reference a large amount of information. Being a technical communication major
he applied himself to making the jargon and technical terms in his writings
Cody Beacham
Cody Beacham was originally born in California, but raised in Florida.
He transferred to the University of Central Florida in 2011 from the University of
South Florida. Currently, he is in his senior year at UCF, majoring in Information
Technology. Before attending college, Cody served in the United States Air
Force as a Satellite, Wide-band, and Telemetry systems technician. During his
time in the military he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. After college, he
wants to work in the medical IT field as a system administrator.
His roles on the UCF style manual include: Biography editor and
Grammar, Mechanics, and Punctuation writer. Cody did extensive research on
grammar, mechanics, and punctuation to ensure this style manual would apply to
all UCF students, regardless of age or educational background. Attention to detail
has always been a focal and important point to Cody. This level of attention has
been put into the UCF style manual to provide the reader with a very easy to
understand mechanics section.
Katrina Botero
Katrina Botero is currently a senior at the University of Central Florida
and majoring in Technical Communication. She anticipates graduating in the fall
of 2014. Prior to attending UCF, Katrina earned her Associate’s Degree in
Liberal Arts at Miami Dade College. Katrina hopes to become a publications
editor or a film reviewer after college.
Katrina’s roles in the UCF style manual included proofreading and
making sure the information was as accurate as possible as a General Editor. She
was also a writer for the Mechanics, Grammar, and Punctuation chapter.
DeLana Carter
DeLana Carter is a junior at the University of Central Florida. Although
she initially studied anthropology, she is currently majoring in Technical
Communications. After earning her bachelor’s degree, DeLana hopes to begin a
career in education while pursuing a graduate degree.
DeLana’s roles in the production of this manual include writer for the
Diversity chapter, as well as General Editor. Because of her background in
anthropology, she was able to draw extensively on her knowledge of cultural
studies when writing about diversity.
Gregory Cook
Gregory Cook is majoring Information Technology and is currently in
his senior year at the University of Central Florida. Prior to attending UCF, he
had earned his associate’s degree from Valencia College in general studies.
Initially majoring in business administration, he later decided to switch for a
more technical field, which became information technology at UCF. After
earning his bachelor’s degree from UCF, his professional aspiration is to become
a database administrator for any large company.
His responsibilities for this UCF style manual as a biography editor and
an author for the rhetoric and writing chapter. His sections include: logos, ethos,
demonstrative speeches, abstracts, lab reports, and resumes and cover letters.
Being a science major, Gregory has written several lab reports and abstracts, and
understands the value of clear communication required for any field. He aims to
help others learn the importance of maintaining a clean structure and keeping
information clear and concise.
Daniela Corteo
Daniela Corteo is pursuing a Bachelor's degree at the University of
Central Florida, majoring in Technical Communications and minoring in
Literature. After graduation, Daniela plans to start a career as a teacher or as a
technical writer for a major corporation. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and
writing creative poetry and short stories.
Daniela served as writer for the Research and Documentation chapter of
this style manual. Her experience researching and writing during her time at UCF
makes her well-versed in research and documentation guidelines. She also served
as a general editor for this project, proofreading the work of her peers in order to
make the content of the manual as accurate as possible.
Cori Cunningham
Cori Cunningham is a born and raised Florida native. She is a senior at
the University of Central Florida, majoring in technical communications while
minoring in creative writing. She is currently the secretary for The Cypress
Dome Society and an intern for The Florida Review. Cori aspires to become an
editor at a major publishing house after graduating.
Her roles within the UCF style manual include: Grammar, Mechanics,
and Punctuation writer and Publishing editor. Cori researched grammar,
mechanics, and punctuation in order to provide ample knowledge and examples
for both the writers and readers of this style guide. Cori places a special focus on
creative tone and voice, maintaining the professional impression of this style
Michael Diaz
Michael Diaz was born in Miami, Florida, and is currently a sophomore
at UCF. He is majoring in Computer Engineering and minoring in Technical
Communication. With his degree, Michael hopes to pursue a career in software
design or the video gaming industry. Michael is passionate not only about
technology, but also writing, and plans to use his communication and design
skills to create technologies that are innovative and user-friendly.
For this style guide, Michael put his skills to use in a variety of areas. As
a cover editor, he designed the book's cover and chapter dividers. As a member
of the publication committee, Michael negotiated quotes from several print shops
and handled the writing team's book fund. Lastly, Michael served as a writer for
the online communication chapter of this style guide. He wrote about e-mail and
netiquette, the cloud, and UCF's learning management system, Canvas.
Ryan Flynn
Ryan Flynn is a technical communications major and is in his senior
year. He is from Clermont, Florida and came to UCF in the fall of 2012 after
obtaining his associate’s degree from a community college. After graduation,
Ryan hopes to work for a medical technology company.
As a member of the rhetoric and writing team, Ryan’s sections of the
book include Pathos, Informative Speeches, Narrative Essays, Persuasive Essays,
Glossary, and Reviews. He was able to use his precise writing skills to explain
concepts in a clear, concise manner. His sections were praised by the professor
for his hard work. He put all his effort into the manual for the best possible
Wesly Goris
Wesly Goris is majoring in Information technology and is currently
attending the University of Central Florida. He is interested in server’s
architecture and programming. He was born in Dominican Republic and has been
living in the United States for about seven years and can speak both English and
Spanish. He wants to become a system administrator and later start his own
technology company in the future.
He assisted in the Research and Documentation section by writing about
finding reliable information in the internet and citation styles and how to use
them. He helped his fellow students write good technical writing book and
provided leadership organizing the book before publication.
David Jackson
David Jackson was born in England but was raised in Florida. He began
working towards his college degree at the age of 15 due to the Early College
Program, and worked to gain his AA and High School diploma simultaneously,
alongside his brother. He Transferred to University of Central Florida to major in
Information Technology, aspiring to become a program analyst.
David’s role in the UCF style manual was in the Visual Elements and
Graphics section, he also helped as general editor. He helped proofread the work
and provide constructive feedback to help improve the content. He did a lot of
research to make sure the information he provided was accurate and helpful to
those who use the manual.
Matthew Jackson
Matthew Jackson was originally born in England, but moved to Florida
when he was one. He began his college experience at the age of 15 with his twin
brother, during his junior and senior years of high school, due to the Early
College program. He obtained his AA degree and transferred to University of
Central Florida to major in Information Technology in hopes to be a program
For the UCF style manual, Matthew’s roles included being a writer for
the Page Elements and Design Layout chapter, as well as being a Technical
Editor. He made sure that all researched information was relevant to the section
and to the UCF community.
Brian Ma
Brian Ma is a senior at the University of Central Florida, majoring in
Information Technology. He transferred to UCF in Fall 2011 and will be
graduating December 2013. Upon graduation, Brian hopes to be working for a
company as part of their Information Security team or Web Development team.
Brian's roles for this style manual were to help write the Diversity
chapter and Index editing. For the Diversity chapter, Brian applied his experience
and knowledge of Eastern and Western culture to the sections of Age, Culture,
Ethnicity and Race, and Political Ideology.
Mark Robinson
Mark Robinson was born in the small island of Jamaica, but spent a
majority of his life living in Florida. He is currently in his senior year at UCF,
majoring in Information Technology. During his attendance in college, Mark has
Interned with the Osceola School Board and begun doing freelance web
development. After graduation Mark’s professional goal is to become a System
He made contributions to the Online Communication Chapter in the form
of the social media, HTML, and online learning sections. Being an IT major,
Mark has developed several websites and is very familiar with web development
and technical documentation and applied his expertise in his chapter.
Joesph Santos
Joseph Santos was born in the Philippines and when he was three years
old moved to the United States with his family. He grew up in three different
states which include Virginia, California, and then his final destination Florida.
Joseph graduated with his associate’s degree in fall 2011 from Seminole State
College and transferred to University of Central Florida the following spring. He
will be graduating in the College of Engineering and Computer Science with his
Information Technology BS degree in the summer of 2014. Immediately after
graduation Joseph will be pursuing a career in computer security or database
Joseph’s role in the UCF style manual is in the Visual Elements and
Graphics chapter, as an Index Editor, and played a role in the Cover Art. The
Visual Elements and Graphics chapter introduces how to create visual elements
within photo editing tools, charts and tables, icons for visual representation,
documenting a process, and visually enhance ideas in technical writing. He
implemented the indexing in the back of the manual for quick referencing. He
also collaborated with a colleague to create the cover art and chapter art within
the manual. With his knowledge of technical writing and visual elements his
contribution to this manual is well distinguished.
Joshua Williams
Joshua Williams is a senior at the University of Central Florida majoring
in Information Technology. After college he has dreams of becoming a systems
During the production of the UCF style guide, Joshua participated in
writing the Research and Documentation chapter. He concentrated on the aspects
of Chicago style, APA style, and online citation generators. Also, given the
responsibility Joshua was the technical editor for the Rhetoric and Writing
Kevin Worrell
Kevin Worrell was born in Bronx, New York, but he grew up in the
sunny state of Florida in the city of Orlando. He is currently a senior at the
University of Central Florida. He is majoring in Technical Communications and
has a minor in Digital Media. He will be graduating in the summer of 2014 and
will hopefully be working as a technical communicator at a reputable company.
Kevin was responsible for working on a portion of the page elements and
design section of this style manual. He was also responsible for generally editing
a portion of the compiled chapters. Kevin did a lot of research to make sure that
the information that he provided was proficient to anyone who would use this
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