CGA Article Guidelines

The primary goal of the Comparative Genre Analysis unit is for students to see that all disciplines incorporate the elements of the academic essay into their writing (thesis, motive, evidence, analysis, structure etc…) even though those elements might look different. A secondary goal is for students to be empowered to ask professors what writing looks when taking a class for the first time in a new discipline.

To that end, instructors should choose four articles for this unit that represent a range of academic disciplines. Ideally, papers should include one from the humanities, one from the sciences, and two from the social sciences (one that is more humanistic in nature, such as history, and one that is more quantitative in nature, such as sociology). Shorter is better than longer, and it is important to use a broad theme to allow for maximum flexibility.

Humanities elements to look for:

  • MLA citation style
  • Single author (or two at most)
  • Thesis near the beginning of the article
  • Direct quotations
  • Active voice

Social Science elements to look for: 

  • Chicago Style (for more humanistic) and APA or numerical style (for more quantitative)
  • Motives that have wider importance / social impact (as opposed to only answering academic questions)
  • Humanistic papers should include some elements from the humanities, and more quantitative papers should include some elements from the sciences

Science elements to look for:

  • IMRD format
  • Multiple authors
  • APA or numerical citation style
  • Data
  • Tables and figures
  • Motive answers a scientific question (i.e., a gap in the science)
  • Passive voice