What Actions Make Work That Is Useful and That Has Adequate Quality


1.     Did not write on one of the listed Comparison Topics
OR did not do all of the question
OR did not think through what the question was trying to get you to notice.

2.     Did not read the required content or did not read all of it.

3.     Did not follow the instructions in the link of instructions or in the file for the specific comparison.


4.     Repeated the same habits or methods you used previously even though that habit had been marked as an error.
Did not ask for help.

5.     Did not look up general words but assumed
OR looked up words that have a specific historical meaning and tried to use a current definition. (Frequently, students who try to use a modern meaning instead of the meaning in the era studied misread much of the content in the textbook.)

6.     Did not follow the model in the textbook for spelling, punctuation, or meaning of words about history.

7.     Did not check your work for accurate evidence (or proof for what you wrote) before submitting for a grade (or doing work to keep your job).

proof or evidence

Definitions from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

proof – “something which shows that something else is true or correct”


evidence – “something which shows that something else exists or is true”


A brain trick for checking your proof for what you say

Place your textbook (or your primary) on the left and your paper on the right.

If you have a citation for 185, you turn to 185 and touch the fact in the source with your left hand and you touch your page with your right.


Do they match:

·         In truth?
Any reader using a dictionary and reading before and after the fact would agree you read accurately? No embellishments, no assumptions, no misreads, no cherry-picking.
If not, fix the error.

·         In the page number?
All of the things you say before that endnote are on that single and specific page?
If not, either remove unsupported words from your paper or add citation for a page that does prove what you say.



·         You must treat the discipline of history as you would the disciplines of biology or chemistry or business or economics or any other discipline that is about things that are real and verifiable. You only say or write what you can prove with a citation from a reliable source.

·         You must have a citation from sources that this course lists as reliable.

o    For each quotation (exact words written by the author) you use—and you must also place those words in a pair of quotation marks (“”)

o    For every statement or set of statements you make.

If you have 3 sentences based on the same page of the source, you cite 1 time and after the last sentence.



8.     Did not proofread your work before submitting for a grade (or doing work to keep your job).


Proofread  (or proof) your work

Definition from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

to read and correct mistakes in (a written or printed piece of writing)”

Example: “He proofread the essay carefully.”



A brain trick for proofreading what you say for accuracy, good language  for history and in general, and for clarity


For accuracy of each quotation

Place your textbook (or your primary) on the left and your paper on the right.

1.     Between the opening quotation mark (“) and the closing quotation mark (”), check each letter and each punctuation mark.

2.     If you do not match the source, fix your paper.

3.     If you notice that nearby words are also in the same words and order as the source, place those words in quotation marks as well. In other words, fix your paper
To prevent this problem, close your book before you write one word. If you need to open the book, close it again before you start to type or use a pencil


For accuracy of words from the source

1.     Have you made sure that you have placed the author’s words in quotation marks as you should?

Go to Turnitin and check the Originality report for your paper.

2.     If some of your words are identified as a match of other submissions and those words are not in quotation marks (“”) correctly, then go compare those words in your source and in your paper letter by letter.

3.     If you should have used quotation marks (“”), fix your paper.

The link below explains the basic concepts with use of quotation marks (“”).



·         Do not put quotation marks around your own words.

·         Do not put quotation marks around some combination of your own words and the author’s words.

·         Do not put quotation marks around what you think is your paraphrase of the author’s words.

If any of you believe the above bizarreness or think you were told to do those things, please ask me and I will temporarily make visible pages from The Bedford Handbook—the standard chosen by WCJC. The chief author, Diana Hacker, is a brilliant and respected authority in the field whose examples of the rules make them clear to freshman students.


For accuracy of language used by the discipline of history

1.     Have you spelled the word the way the source does?
Example: Shays’s Rebellion

2.     Have you punctuated the word the way the source does?
Example: 1660s (not 1660’s)

3.     Have you used the word the way the source does?

Example for US History I: words such as freeman, servant, and slave have specific meanings in the discipline of history.
Example for US History II: words such as consumerism have specific meaning in the discipline of history


For correct use of language in general

1.     Run spell check and grammar check using your word processor. Do not accept every correction the software suggests. Click on the explanation to be sure.

2.     Go to Turnitin and check the Grademark report for your paper

3.     If some of your words are identified as incorrect sentences or unclear, then rewrite your sentences. Simple sentences are fine.


For clarity

1.     Read aloud each syllable in your paper, ideally in a silly accent.

2.     Your ear will notice omitted words, bad grammar, and errors in meaning that your eye will not.

3.     Write the corrections on your printed paper that you must make.

4.     Make them in your file.

5.     Compare your printed page with your file to be sure you didn’t make a new error. 







WCJC Department:

History – Dr. Bibus

Contact Information:

281.239.1577 or bibusc@wcjc.edu

Last Updated:


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