Individual Topics: Hints on How to Write


Before you begin to write you need to READ. That sounds like simple advice but .....

First, do not write your paper as you read. This leads to plagiarism by encouraging copying what you read immediately into your paper. While you can use attributed quotes and figures and pictures, you should write most of the paper on what you learned from the readings.  So read MUCH more (maybe 30-60 pages) than you need to write, then organize and synthesize the material in your mind, and write it in your own words. As you read keep notes and record your sources so you can list them in your bibliography and footnotes.


Second, you can start with a wiki article to give you a background, but branch out to other sources. Since there is so much stuff out there, much of it junk, I like to restrict my search to the educational and government sites by including  and in my searches.  That misses some of the great European pages, but you can include ESA and ESO in your searches and capture a lot of European astronomy.

The other thing is to search inside a large important astronomy site like Hubble or JPL or HEAO.


Third, when you start to write, organize it in a logical manner.  Remember you are also going to give a 10-minute talk on this and you want it to be organized also.  Then write in your own words!  When you use a quote or a picture footnote it by referring to your bibliography.


Fourth, here is the bibliography style

Website name. “Title of article.” Associated publication/college/etc. [If there is one]. Date of access. URL.

Hubblesite, Hubble Takes Close-up Look at Disintegrating Comet, News Release Number: STScI-2016-35, Sept 16, 2016,

Set footnotes by putting the material in quotes and followed by (Website).  For example "The Hubble Space Telescope caught the latest cloud of debris ejected by Comet 332P. " (Hubblesite)