By Ryan Maxwell:
Right now, you are still in college; therefore, you are considered a novice, an apprentice, not yet an expert. However, at some point in your academic writing career, you will likely need to write something as if you were an expert. Therefore, you must know how to establish credibility in your writing. Anything which you write, whether academic or not, should establish your writing credibility. If your credibility is not established somehow, your audience cannot trust what you say.
So, without yet possessing a degree, how can you appear credible? Well, there are several ways to do this. Firstly, correct grammar and spelling are important to credibility. Misspelled words, punctuation errors, and muddled sentences will distract the reader from your writing, and make even the best of content seem untrustworthy and confusing. However, correcting these errors will make your writing clear and professional.
A second way to establish writing credibility, especially in research papers, is to use trustworthy sources for your information. As you may be aware, the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is a non-credible source, due to the fact that it is generalized, and therefore cannot factor in all the variables necessary to create topic-specific source material. Generally, websites ending in “.edu” are college-run and likely have peer-reviewed, well-researched articles. Also, here at Amarillo College, we have several excellent online databases which can be accessed from the AC library’s website.
Finally, following your teacher’s instructions is very important to establishing credibility. Some writing must be part of any college degree program, and that writing is supervised by a teacher, who likely has specific requirements of their students’ writing. While a student, you must prioritize carefully following the directions. The instructor will be likely to give you higher grades, and, as every assignment is designed to teach you useful writing skills, you will best master new concepts, if you correctly follow instructions.
Now, since establishing credibility can seem a difficult endeavor, you may find yourself needing assistance with grammar, or finding a trustworthy source for your paper. Or, you may just want someone to look over your paper, to help you see whether you followed the assignment sheet properly and cited all your sources. Whatever you might need, Writers’ Corner, Ordway 104, is here to help. We can assist you in accomplishing professionalism.
This column about writing and the writing process is created by the Amarillo College Writers’ Corner tutors. The name “Word for Word” pays tribute to Robert W. Wylie (1923-2011), who worked at Amarillo College from 1963 until 1992. He was chairman of the English Department from 1984 to 1992, served as Writer-in-Residence at AC for several years after his retirement and wrote a weekly column for the Amarillo Globe-News called “Word for Word” from 1992 through 2003.
The Writers’ Corner provides free tutors who review assignment requirements, provide constructive feedback, and guide students through all phases of the writing process.
The Writer’s Corner also offers
- One-on-one tutoring sessions with trained tutors
- Small workshops throughout the semester covering various aspects of academic writing
- In-class presentations on the role of the Writers’ Corner
- A waiting area for walk-ins and early arrivals
- Coffee for students with appointments