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The Mechanics of Scholarly Writing

Writing credible, well-designed papers for college or publication requires the use of scholarly writing mechanics. The writer must integrate ideas from sources, cite and reference properly, paraphrase, and use minimal quotes. Source material must also be accurately represented (University of Phoenix, 2011). Critical thinking skills are also necessary for scholarly writing.

"Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to beliefs and action" (Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2011, para. 3). Critical thinking entails the ability and practice of perceiving a problem objectively and intellectually. The academic or professional critically analyzes the issue and ponders possible conclusions and/or solutions which or she effectively communicates (Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2011).

This practice can be intimidating initially, but the practitioner soon realizes the benefits and can become quite proficient, using the skill for collegial, professional, and everyday decisions. Once the writer has mastered critical thinking, he or she can concentrate on the mechanics of scholarly writing.

The Mechanics

An important factor in scholarly writing is the proper integration of ideas from utilized sources. The writer must use direct quotes sparingly. The paper should contain no more than 20 percent of direct quotations.

Peer-reviewed sources may be the most reliable, and can be found in university libraries and online databases.

Paraphrased material should be carefully constructed. The writer must read the text thoroughly and understand it well. The precise meaning of the author must be represented in the paraphrased information.

The referenced material should have been published within the last 3-5 years. Citations must be precise, as should references. Consult the citation and reference style manual (APA, MLA, etc.) used by your organization for exact specifications.

Formatting issues include the title page, spacing, margins, headings, citations, and references (University of Phoenix, 2011). Each area must be precisely calculated.


The Critical Thinking Community. "Defining Critical Thinking"

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