Religious Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Standards of Good Writing

These are the standards of good writing adopted by the department of Religious Studies.

  1. The essay demonstrates an understanding of the material: a clear purpose and focus should be articulated in the introduction, along with an explicitly proposed conceptual framework, methodology and structure. There is a clearly stated thesis, and support for this thesis in the body of the paper, to support the writer's analysis, and an explanation is offered for each quotation. Important terms are clearly and accurately defined.
  2. The essay has an argument that progresses logically, displaying a solid understanding of the position in a clear and coherent way. Each paragraph contributes to this argument, and follows logically from the paragraph before it. The student shows that the issue has been correctly grasped, explained accurately, on the basis of a substantially correct interpretation of any texts involved. Key terms are used correctly. The essay shows evidence of the student's independent thought, and is written in her distinctive voice. Quotations are used when appropriate. The argument presented is persuasive.
  3. The essay obeys standards for good scholarly writing: there should be appropriate scholarly diction and a clear connection between title and text, sentences and paragraphs. Resources should be consistently cited and documented and correct grammar, syntax and spelling should be used.
  4. The essay's conclusion should be expressed with clarity, flow from and reflect the ground of the argument, demonstrate the thesis and, finally, convince.

Writing Center

Religious studies students are encouraged to contact the Writing Center for help with their writing. The Writing Center helps students with academic writing in all disciplines and all subject matter as well as other forms of writing including creative writing, personal statements, application essays, cover letters, and other important writing.

To view the current hours of operation and locations or to schedule an appointment online, visit http://writingcenter.gmu.edu.

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