Online Writing Lab

Some tips for research papers and how to use the Rider University Library website!

Finding Sources

  • Wikipedia.org is not really a valid source. It can be okay to look at to give yourself an idea of what things you could research, but it should never be your source. Anyone (even you) can edit the information on a Wikipedia page, so you never know if you are getting truthful information.
  • The University Library’s website (www.rider.edu/library) will often be the best place to find your sources. You can search the library’s collection of books as well as through websites with scholarly articles (ex: JSTOR, under Full Text Journals, is often a good place to look for scholarly articles.) The link to the library’s page can be found on the left-hand side of the computer screen under “Academic Resources” on Rider University’s main page. 
  • The library is only a short walk away when you are on campus! Try using some books!

Documenting Sources

  • Both APA and MLA style guides can be found on the library page, along with NoodleBib. On the menu on the left side of your computer screen, there is a link that says “NoodleBib & Style Guides” under the “Library” section.
  • Familiarize yourself with APA and MLA. They may seem a bit difficult to do on your own, but once you get the hang of it, you won’t need to refer back to any websites! Also, NoodleBib may not always give you the accurate formatting that you need. It’s easy to plug in incorrect information.
  • View APA & MLA Smackdown

Having a hard time finding the information to document?

  • In a book, there is a copyright page at the beginning (either before or after the title page). This is where you will find the publisher, edition, and year of publication. Information such as title, author, editor, and/or place of publication should be found on the title page.
  • On a website, typically the information should be at the very bottom of the page, where the copyright information is listed.
  • Scholarly articles from online databases often give you the information on the first page before the article.

For more help with the library Web page and finding sources, refer to “Instructional Services,” located on your computer screen under “Library,” or schedule an appointment with a tutor at the Writing Lab.

Writing Resources

Stuff You Forgot You Learned

I Love You, Jenny GUMP: Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, and Punctuation Review

Simply stated, grammar and mechanics are the way words are combined into sentences, and usage is the way words are used within a specific discipline. Contrary to popular opinion, the rules of grammar are not fixed. A language that is used for day-to-day communication, such as English, is constantly evolving which creates changes to the conventions of Standard English. The frustration of remembering this information is further complicated because the handbooks will sometimes have inconsistencies between them. Students need to be aware of the standards for each discipline s/he is studying and each professor’s expectations.

Usage refers to conventions of speech and writing accepted and expected within a discipline. This is the dialect you are expected to use in formal speech and writing. Your integrity within your discipline will be weakened if you ignore these conventions. (Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers. A Writer’s Reference. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Print)

The .pdf handouts below will help you remember what you forgot you learned. Click on a link to learn more about each topic. For additional help, schedule an appointment at The Writing Lab.

Grammar Review

Usage

Thesis Development

Quick & Dirty Grammar

When you open a writing handbook do you feel like you are reading an ancient text in some extinct language? The files below offer a quick & dirty way of understanding how the error is made and, more importantly, how to fix it.