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English 127
Research Writing

Email and Contacting the Instructor
APA Format
Attaching Documents
Filename Conventions
Document Layout

Email and Contacting the Instructor y

Subject Lines
Many of you, like me, may have experienced information overload over the Internet.   If you are subscribed to a news or discussion group (listserv), the problem is that much worse.  Therefore, it is important to include an informative subject line, so your email is not lost in the flood of messages that we all receive.  Also, since many email addresses can be cryptic, I request that you also include your full name in the subject line of your message.  This will help me and, I suspect, all of you in your communications with each other as well.

Subject line:  E127 / Your first and last name (e.g, John Smith) - Informative and commonsensical title for your message.
(Please do not send messages with blank subject lines!)

Contacting the Instructor
Note that there are no "live" meetings for this class.  If you are ever confused about what appears within or have other questions, please don't hesitate to email me.  I will most often be able to respond to your email questions within 24-48 hours (with the exception of weekends and holidays; also, this turnaround time does not apply to sending you grades for the final drafts of your major papers, which you should get back within 7-10 days, depending on my workload at any given time). If I am not able to answer your questions or clarify whatever might be confusing via email, we will schedule a phone conference.  I am also available for face-to-face meetings in my office (SH 120-36) during my office hours or at other times during appointments.  During summer quarters, face-to-face meetings may be more difficult to schedule.

While I invite you to contact me via email whenever you need to, I can be of most help if your questions are specific and well thought-out.   If you're working on a writing assignment, make sure you have carefully studied the assignments guidelines sheet (I recommend printing these out) and the relevant textbook sections.  I am likely to interpret a question phrased, "I don't understand what you want us to do.  Can you help me?" as evidence of laziness.

Professional (Formal) Style
Finally, preserve a degree of formality and professionalism in your communication with me (and your fellow class members).  This means that your emails should include a salutation and your own closing "signature."  In your emails, you should address me as "Dr. Bahl" or "Professor Bahl."  If we've gone back and forth a couple of times on a particular email thread, it's appropriate just to write "Thanks" or "I understand" to close the conversation without addressing me or closing formally each time.

DO NOT USE ALL CAPS in your email messages, forum postings or other writing.  ALL CAPS is the email equivalent of SHOUTING!

Don't use emoticons or the abbreviations that have evolved for text messaging.  For example, don't say, "u r gr8."  This is a college English class, and you should consider each writing occasion, even informal assignments and communication, as an opportunity to write thoughtfully and carefully.  At the same, time, I do not want you to stress about informal writing occasions.  I'm just asking you not to be careless or to forget that our work in the course is serious and purposeful.

American Psychological Association (APA) Format y

Because this is a research writing course, it's very important that you take the documentation (citation) of your sources seriously for each of the major essays for this course.  This includes properly incorporating quotations, giving in-text citation information, and producing a References page.  There are many documentation systems that have evolved in various academic disciplines; for example, you may have run across the Modern Languages Association (MLA) style in a previous English class.  Many of the social sciences (though not all) use the American Psychological Association (APA) style, which is what we will be using in this course.  You can refer to your writer's handbook, and you can also refer to the Holman Library website for documentation in APA Format.  Also see the guidelines, explanations and examples at the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Attaching Documents y

Your work in this course will take the form of participation in the weekly discussion forums and writing assignments submitted via email.  While you will be submitting the final drafts of your papers online via Canvas, you may at some point need to send me an attachment.  Please familiarize yourselves with this function in whatever email program you are using.  For example, in Microsoft Outlook (my email program), I can "attach" a document by pulling down the Insert menu and choosing "Insert File" (which can include wordprocessing documents as well as pictures and programs). 

Save your documents in either doc, docx, or pdf formats. 

Filename Conventions y

While the titling of email messages is important, the labeling of wordprocessing documents is equally crucial for my own file management.  Therefore, follow these conventions for the naming your files.

[Last name][Assignment abbreviation]

For example, SmithBE means the file you are sending me is the final draft of the Background Essay.   JonesPR means that this is the peer review that Jones has done for a classmate on his/her draft of the final paper.  CallahanFRAF means that this is the final draft of the Final Research Article. 

Document Layout y

Your presentation should be professional. Proofread all work, even if you use a spellchecker with your wordprocessor. Read writing out loud slowly to yourself to catch those stubborn mistakes.  Observe the following specifications for all work:

  1. Do not include a title page (except for the Final Research Article), cover sheet, or any other blank sheets.
  2. Leave at least one inch margins on the top and bottom and sides of each page.
  3. Place page numbers on all pages preceded by an abbreviated version of your title. Page numbers should be placed in the header on the top right corner of the page, 1/2 inch from the top edge. Note:  Do not try to number your pages individually since your word processor can keep track of them regardless of how you change content or formatting.  To place the page number in your header, you can either choose "Page Numbers" from your "Insert" pull-down menu (and then choose the desired location for the page numbers), or you can open the "Header and Footer" from the "View" pull-down menu of your word processor. You will find a # symbol on the Header and Footer toolbar; using the tab key, move the cursor to the spot where you would like to place your page number and then click on the # symbol.  Learn to use "Headers and Footers" in your word processing program
  4. Use no smaller than a 12 point Times New Roman or equivalent font.
  5. Double space (not single, one and a half, or triple) all work.
    Note:  Do not press the “Enter” key at the end of every line; since word processing programs have a feature called “wrap around,” they will automatically move your cursor from one line to the next.  Only press the “Enter” key at the end of a paragraph (or title, bullet point, etc.).  In order to get your text to be double-spaced without pressing “Enter” twice after each line, choose “Paragraph” from the “Format” pull down menu at the top of your screen, and then choose “Double” from the Line-spacing option in the middle of the popup window.
  6. Do not use extra spaces between paragraphs, and use five character tabs (1/2 inch) to begin each paragraph.  Note that you do not have to hit a carriage return <CR> after each line, only after each paragraph, since your word-processor will automatically "wrap around" the text to the next line.
  7. References should be placed on a separate page entitled "References" (without the quotation marks) in the proper American Psychological Association (APA) format and should also have a page number.  See the Purdue OWL for more info about your References page:  https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/05/.

Begin all writing as follows:


                                               [should be in header] Paper Title Abbreviation       1

Your name
E127 / Bahl
Date the assignment is being turned in
Assignment [e.g., Paper #1 – Causal Arguments, Peer Review #2 for Jim Morrison, etc.]

Title [e.g., Biting the Bullet: The Case for Legalizing Drugs]

Note: Don’t use quotation marks for titles. Capitalize all first letters of words except articles, conjunctions and prepositions such as "the," "and," "of," "with," etc.

Begin text.