The Longman Dictionary of American English defines “glossary” as a “list of technical or unusual words with the explanation of their meanings printed at the end of a book.” The words within this glossary are technical and unusual in the sense that they are not a part of everyday speech.

People don’t grow up in college. They attend college; so to ensure the college students’ success in understanding the purpose of an academic paper, as educators, we must make every effort to prepare students to think critically about a topic. With this in mind, the reference system we use within this online  glossary is simple and effective.

The Use of See and See also

The explanation for each comment represents a dictionary entry.  This is a glossary in every definition of the word.  The glossary defines the comment, provides examples as supplementary material, and uses a cross-referencing system to guide readers from one comment to the next.

For example, See also is used more frequently than See.  Sometimes a student benefits more from an expanded viewpoint of a comment. In other words, if more information is necessary to explain a comment further, the glossary uses See also to point the student and/or teacher to the extended explanation. The use of See also ensures that the student will gain a good understanding.

When a comment doesn’t have a corresponding definition, See refers students to where they can read a definition.  Typically, See refers students to a comment that teachers use in everyday grading.

For example, professors generally will write in the margins of a student’s paper the comment “explain” over “be specific,” and “confusing” over “tangled phraseology.”  The glossary uses See to help the reader get as close as possible to what the instructor might write in the margins.

The Use of Boldface

The glossary includes samples. The samples are references to past academic papers of the glossary’s Editorial Director, Regina Y. Favors. Here’s a brief background.

Favors conducted a study of old student papers dating back to junior college studies. In examining the papers, Favors analyzed the comments written to the left or to the right of a particular sentence or paragraph. Favors studied the circling and line drawing techniques the professors used to draw attention to the text.

For example, if a professor determined that a whole paragraph needed revision or deletion, the professor drew a circle around it. In another class, a professor drew a long line from the top of a paragraph to its bottom and then wrote in the margin “rephrase” or “awkward” or “transitions.”

Therefore, The FAVORS Glossary uses the bold feature for two reasons: 1) to separate the sample text from the main text and 2) to highlight the problems professors had with a particular essay.

The Use of Italics

The glossary uses the italics feature sparingly, applying it only to excerpts of quotations and book titles.

However, when a senior editor suggests revision of a paragraph, he or she employs the feature also to separate the response to the comment from the main text and to add revision to a paragraph or sentence within the right-side column of an excerpt. In other words, in rare cases, the editor will suggest a change to a sentence and apply italics to separate the content of the initial comment from the editor’s suggestion.

The Use of Underlining and Sample Excerpts

The glossary utilizes the underlining feature to highlight certain phrases of a thesis that falls under a particular revision process.

For example, the glossary includes sections for annotation tasks where senior editors first demonstrate how a thesis isn’t clear and second how to revise the thesis.

In many cases, in the left-side column of the student’s excerpt, editors underline key phrases or a full paragraph so students will know to which key phrase or group of words the comments apply.

We also use underlining in “sample excerpts” to highlight problems with sentences of the sample.

The Use of Strikethrough (Print Texts)

The glossary includes practical exercises. The purpose of these exercises is to teach students how to annotate.

For example, for some exercises, senior editors use strikethrough and apply the feature to certain sections of a paragraph.

The editors’ purpose is to demonstrate “preliminary thinking” behind the revision process, how they remove certain paragraph elements for the purpose of either recreating a new sentence or improving the logic.

The Use of Comment Headings

The subheadings for each comment do not conform to the normal standards of grammar.  Many of the comment headings will appear without an ending punctuation mark; and some comments will have an appropriate ending punctuation mark.

The glossary is inconsistent in its presentation of comment headings for the simple reason that professors write a comment in the margins quickly and move on to read the essay. Not all professors stop to add periods at the end of a comment.

Professors read in excess of 200+, 10-page to 12-page papers, for a 250-student class. They typically just include an additional long comment on the last page of the student’s paper.  This longer comment conforms to normal grammar standards.

The FAVORS Glossary does not include long comments because they vary by professor, subject, major, school, and individual.

Last, the glossary is inconsistent in its application of comment title capitalization to prepositions. The beginning letter of some prepositions receive a capital letter while the letters of other comment titles do not. The reason for this inconsistency is due to how the comment title appears on the webpage graphically. In essence, the prepositions of some comment titles benefit greatly from capitalization.

The Use of Tables and Full-Page Side Bars (Print Texts)

The glossary uses the table feature for two reasons:  to distribute and to demonstrate.

For example, the glossary distributes and categorizes information so that it is readable.  Students find it difficult to understand an argument and to separate the perspectives of different authors.

In addition, the glossary uses tables to provide a practical demonstration of how important it is to analyze and place the information  into categories as a way of promoting good planning.

The Use of MLA

The glossary applies the principles, standards, and rules of the MLA citation style for both bibliographic entries and parenthetical referencing.

We do not apply MLA principles to essay excerpts (figures). In other words, we do not correct essay excerpts that do not demonstrate the proper use of MLA within formal research papers.

The Use of Literary Works

The glossary includes references to literary works used within student sample essays.

The list of authors and their literary works is available under “List of References to Textual Readings.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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