Writing Self-Assessment


Introduction


Throughout your academic career at Capella, you will work to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of material through writing. As you create your written presentations, you will want to work to ensure that your research, reading, organizing, and drafting stages of your process are well defined and complete. In the Capella writing process, these first concerns-these first areas of focus as you write discussions, papers, etc., are called the global concerns, as they are the large pieces that will determine the effectiveness of the messages you are working to communicate. These global issues should be addressed and examined in your writing before you move on to the local concerns like APA internal and external citations or grammar or punctuation, otherwise known as local concerns.


For local concerns, as you create your written presentations, you will want to work to ensure that the citation style, grammar, punctuation, and proofreading elements of your writing are executed well in advance and with careful detail. In the Capella writing process, these lcoal elements of your writing process are addressed after you have researched, organized, and drafted your work; these local concerns are sentence and paragraph level and should not be addressed until you have a good working draft in place. Academic writing requires that you follow the rules of grammar and punctuation when you write, and in academic writing, you will often have to write in an editorial style, like MLA or APA. Most work at Capella is completed in APA format, so the questions on editorial style in this self assessment pertain to APA format.


The following self assessment is designed to give you an idea on where you currently stand in terms of your understanding of and application of global and local in the academic writing process.


As you work through each of the questions, notice that the reasons why each answer is correct or incorrect are provided. Notice that resources for more information on the topics covered in each question are also provided. Additionally, once you have completed the assessment, you will receive your score and a list of resources.


1. When using headings in APA format, headings are placed:



  • one line above the page numbers.

  • three lines below the page numbers.

  • five spaces to the left of the page number.



Answer: C. The correct place for headings in APA format is provided in option C. For more information, visit the Headings section of the APA: APA Style and Formatting module.


2. When writing an abstract in APA format, the abstract should be no more than:


Answer: A. APA has very specific guidelines for writing an abstract. The correct word limit is 120. For more information, visit the Internal Citations section of the APA module: APA Style and Formatting module.


3. When using internal citations in APA format, a writer must include the author’s name, year of publication, and page or paragraph numbers for:



  • summaries, quotes, and paraphrases.

  • direct quotes only.

  • summaries and paraphrases.



Answer: B. The correct inclusion of page numbers is provided in option B. For more information, visit the Internal Citations section of the APA module: APA Style and Formatting module.


4. When citing an electronic book, you must:



  • include “Retrieved from.”

  • cite it the same as a print book.

  • include “Available from.”



Answer: C. While there are elements in an electronic book citation that resemble a regular book citation, including author name and book name, you must make differentiations as well to let the reader know that your source is located in an electronic location. In many electronic sources, you use “Available from” in the reference, but with a book that is meant to be accessed electronically, you must use “Available from.” For more information, see page 10-11 of the APA Electronic Reference manual, available in the Writing Center at APA Style Guide to Electronic Resources.


5. When citing APA sources on the reference page, the year of publication is:



  • not required.

  • required for electronic sources only.

  • equired for all references.



Answer: C. While other reference styles, including MLA, do not require the inclusion of the year of publication, APA does require the year of publication to be included in internal as well as in the external citations-the citations on the reference page. For more information, see the Writing Center’s The Reference List.


6. When using two or more sources by the same author or authors, what determines which source comes first on the reference list?



  • Name of the publication.

  • Name of the publisher.

  • Date of the publication.



Answer: C. While other reference styles, including MLA, use the title of the cited work to determine which source comes first, in APA format the year of publication determines which source comes first. The oldest source is cited first on the list and is then followed by the newer sources by the author or authors. For more information, see the Writing Center’s The Reference List.


7. When referring to a figure in the text, how should the figure be referred to?



  • By Roman numerals.

  • By Arabic numerals.

  • By letter.



Answer: B. While figure placement is decided by the author, the way figures are presented is prescribed by APA. In APA format, figures must be referred to in the text by the Arabic numbers that must be used to name them. For example, one might refer to a figure as “see Figure 1.” For more information, see the Writing Center’s Figures.


8. Which of the following sentences reflects appropriate academic register?



  • Writing is a cool way to spend the afternoon.

  • Writing is a compelling field of study.

  • Writing is important and helps you to write down things that matter to you.



Answer: B. While option A is grammatically correct, the use of the word ‘cool’ is not in appropriate academic register. While option C is also grammatically correct, the use of the word ‘things’ is not appropriate in academic register, as the word is non-specific. While B is not in depth and full of detail, the word choice is concrete and appropriate for academic register. Thus, B is the appropriate choice. For more information, please see :


9. Which of the following selections reflects writing in the third person?



  • When you study writing, you want to focus on writing in the third person.

  • When one studies writing, one wants to focus on writing in the third person.

  • Studies on writing often include a focus on writing in the third person.



Answer: C. While option A is grammatically correct, it reflects writing in second person, with the use of the ‘you’ pronoun. While option B is grammatically correct and does use the pronoun ‘one’ to make an objective presentation, ‘one’ is a second-person pronoun, serving as a substitute for ‘you.’ Option C does not contain a pronoun substitute, and it does make a direct, active statement that reflects the purpose of writing in third person: removing personal pronouns when possible to create objective writing. Thus, C is the correct answer. For more information, see Writing in Third Person [pdf] and Active and Passive Voice [pdf].


10. Which of the following selections BEST reflects concrete language most appropriate for academic writing?



  • Writing is an important field of study, and sometimes many things can be learned in writing studies that benefit all fields of academic study.

  • Writing is an important field of academic study, and according to leading scholars in the field of rhetoric and composition, some important connections are being made between writing studies and critical thinking.

  • Writing is an important field of study, and many of the most important academic studies involving critical thinking are being linked to the teaching of writing.



Answer: B. While all options are grammatically correct, notice that option B provides a combination of many academic elements that lead to concrete presentation. The source for the information is implied with the signal phrase “according to many scholars in the field.” The writer goes on to add another concrete detail-the specific field of study: rhetoric and composition. For more information, see:


11. Which of the following selections provides the MOST clarity between the writer and the sources being used by the writer?



  • According to Smith (2002), writing is an important field of study that “incorporates many elements of critical thinking” (p. 4).

  • Writing is an important field of study that “incorporates many elements of critical thinking” (p. 4).

  • Writing is an important field of study that “incorporates many elements of critical thinking” (Smith, 2002, p. 4).



Answer: A. While option B does offer the quotations and page numbers necessary for citing a direct quote, it does not include the author’s name or the signal phrase to let the reader know going in to the sentence that an outside source is being used. While option C does include all of the necessary quotations marks and internal citations for APA format, no signal phrase is used, so the reader does not know at the start of the sentence that an outside source is being used. Thus, option A is the best choice, as it incorporates all necessary internal citation information and the signal phrase ‘according to.’ For more information on using signal phrases, see Handout: Who Says What to Whom (WFT2.2.3)


12. Which of the following sentences uses active voice?



  • The happy children were marched off to the playground by the teachers.

  • The playground where the children were marched off was revealed by the teachers.

  • The teachers marched the happy children to the playground.



Answer: C. While all three sentences are grammatically correct, option C is in active voice, as the teachers are the ones doing the action-marching the happy children off to the playground. For more information, see Active and Passive Voice [pdf].


13. Which sentence has the correct subject/verb agreement?



  • The ideas for the project is interesting, and the people are impressed.

  • The ideas for the project are interesting, and the people are impressed.

  • The ideas for the project are interesting, and the people is impressed.



Answer: B. Because all three sentences address plural nouns (ideas, people), the verb tense must also be plural for both nouns. Thus, the correct answer is B. For more information on grammar, see The Writing Handbook/Grammar/Sentence Basics and Sentence Structure.


14. Which of the following sentences has the correct pronoun agreement?



  • The student liked to write about their ideas.

  • The students like to write about their ideas.

  • The students like to write about his or her ideas.



Answer: B. Options A and C are incorrect in their attempts to tie the pronouns to the nouns. Option A is incorrect because “student” is singular and “their” is plural. Option C is incorrect because “students” is plural and “his or her” is singular. When using nouns and pronouns together, you must use the same form of the pronoun for singular and/or plural nouns. For more information on grammar, see The Writing Handbook/Grammar/Word Choice.


15. Which sentence uses appropriate pronoun references?



  • The teachers are kind; she is good at explaining things.

  • The teacher is kind; they are good at explaining things.

  • The teacher is kind; she is good at explaining things.



Answer: C. Options A and B are incorrect in their attempts to tie the nouns and the pronouns referring back to those nouns together; thus, option C is correct because “teacher” and “she” are both singular-the pronoun matches the tense of the noun that it replaces. For more information on grammar, see The Writing Handbook/Grammar/Word Choice.


16. Which of the following sentences uses parallel structure?



  • I like walking, to run, and to eat.

  • I like to walk, to run, and to eat.

  • I like walking, running, and to eat.



Answer: B. While all three sentences discuss the same items, options A and C are not presented in the same grammatical structure; thus, option B is the correct answer. Notice that each of the three objects of the sentences (walk, run, eat) are presented in the same infinitive form (to walk, to run, to eat). Presenting items in parallel form this way makes reading easier for your audience.


17. Which of the following sentences reflects error-free prose?



  • I would like to have a apple for lunch.

  • I would like to have an apple for lunch.

  • I wood like to have an apple for lunch.



Answer: B. While the errors in options A and C are minor, they are still errors. Thus, option B is correct. In option A, “a” was missed by the proofreader, and in option C, “would” is spelled incorrectly, a mistake that can easily happen using an artificial intelligence tool like spell check in Microsoft Word. As you develop your writing process, be sure to budget time for careful proofreading. For more information on proofreading, see The Writing Handbook/Writing Process/Polishing How to Edit and How to Proofread.


18. Which of the following sentences is punctuated correctly?



  • I like driving cars when I drive I enjoy the scenery.

  • I don’t like driving cars when I drive, I enjoy the scenery.

  • I don’t like driving cars; however, when I drive, I enjoy the scenery.



Answer: C. While options A and B do have correct grammar, they are not punctuated correctly. Thus, option C is correct. In standard American writing, you cannot join two complete ideas together without using proper punctuation. Complete thoughts (contain a subject and a verb) not separated with a mark of punctuation create what is called a run on sentence. For more punctuation information, see Punctuating Complete Thoughts [pdf] and Basic Comma Rules [pdf].


19. Which of the following sentences is punctuated correctly?



  • I like cars, I like to drive them.

  • I like cars, and I like to drive them.

  • I like cars, because I like to drive them.



Answer: B. While options A and C have correct grammar, they are not punctuated correctly. Thus, option B is correct. Option A joins two sentences together with a comma, and a comma is not a mark of punctuation that can join two sentences together in standard American writing. Option C joins two sentences together with the word “because” and a comma. best dissertation writing service is incorrect because you do not place a comma in front of “because” in standard American writing. The punctuation in option B shows the comma usage required with a coordinating conjunction-the word “and.” For more information on avoiding comma splices and using coordinating conjunctions to join two complete sentences, see Basic Comma Rules [pdf].


20. Which of the following sentences is punctuated correctly?



  • I like cars; boats; trucks.

  • I like cars; however, I do not like boats and trucks.

  • I like cars and boats; no trucks.



Answer: B. While options A and C might make sense to the audience, in standard American writing, the punctuation is incorrect. Thus, option B is the correct answer. For more information on using semicolons to punctuate complete thoughts, see Punctuating Complete Thoughts [pdf].


21. Read the following task: In a well-organized essay of no more than 500 words, compare and contrast the three primary theories of the academic writing process. You are to select your three main theories from the 15 theories provided in your readings for this week.


Which of the following sentences BEST reflects a clear understanding of the given task?



  • I am going to write about why all 15 theories are important. I am going to demonstrate the common themes among all 15 theories.

  • I am going to explain how I have used my three favorite theories. I am going to write about the strengths and weaknesses of each of these three theories.

  • I am going to select the three theories that I find to be most relevant. I am going to define those theories, and then I am going to point out how they are alike and how they are different.



Answer: C. While the steps in options A and B may offer help as you work to select which three theories you will choose to answer the question, they are only small steps in a process of many steps. Thus, option C is correct. For more information on examining the questions asked in writing assignments, see The Writing Handbook/Writing Process/Overview/Critical Reading.


22. Read the following task: In a well-organized essay of no more than 500 words, locate three resources that address theories on the academic writing process. Which of the following lists BEST reflects appropriate academic sources for the given task?



  • Wikipedia, National Geographic magazine, and a local newspaper.

  • The Journal of the Academic Writing Process, The Academic Writing Process Handbook, and The Federal Report on the Academic Writing Process.

  • The Journal of the Academic Writing Process, People magazine, and a local newspaper.



Answer: B. While all of the sources in options A and C can be used in certain writing contexts, for the purposes of academic writing, the sources in option B are correct. Those sources are academically credible sources-a peer reviewed journal, a handbook, and a government report. For more information on selecting academic sources, see Capella Library: Using Sources: What can you use for your research? Get information on how to use sources effectively. and Peer-reviewed Articles


23. Which of the following BEST reflects an appropriate element for an academic abstract?



  • Summarize the main idea(s) of the paper.

  • Provide details about how the evidence was gathered.

  • Describe the writer’s other scholarly work.



Answer: A. Generally speaking, academic abstracts contain a summary of the main idea. Option B is incorrect because details of the evidence and research methodology are generally found in the paper itself. Option C is also incorrect. While a reader might consider a writer’s other work to put a specific paper into context, this is not included in an abstract. For more information on writing an abstract or executive summary, see:


24. Which of the following BEST reflects a function of an effective introduction for an academic paper?



  • Forecast the scope and structure of the paper.

  • Detail the audience analysis that the writer completed.

  • Suggest further work on the topic that should be accomplished by other scholars.



Answer: A. Academic introductions contain a forecasting of the scope and structure of the paper. The audience analysis in option B is generally a pre-writing activity that informs the introduction, but is not included in the introduction. Option C, suggesting further work, is usually left for the conclusion. For more information, see:


25. Which of the following methods is MOST useful in organizing a paper during the pre-writing stages of the Capella writing process?



  • Ensure sentence variety

  • Write an annotated bibliography

  • Write the introduction first



Answer: B. Option B is an effective tool for establishing a logical organization pattern in a written assignment. The key is to experiment with all methods to determine which work best for you. Option A is a polishing task that is one of the final steps of the writing process. Option C is a drafting task, and many writers find it easier to write an introduction after drafting the paper itself. For more information on organizing your academic writing, see:


26. Read the following citation information: Smith, John. (2002). A 100 Year History of the Importance of Cars.
Which of the following sentences best reflects the appropriate APA incorporation of the summary?



  • According to Smith’s 2002 book on cars, the automobile is a vital part of a thriving American economy.

  • According to Smith’s book on cars, they are important to America’s economic survival.

  • According to Smith’s book on cars, they have been around for 100 years and have always influenced the American stock market.



Answer: A. While options B and C offer some of the information about the book, option A really works to summarize the broad context of the main points of the book and contains the year of publication, so no other internal citation is needed; thus, A is the correct answer. For more information on incorporating summaries in APA format, see:


27. Read the following text:
ORIGINAL TEXT by Smith, 2003, p. 7:
Cars are vital to America’s economy. In my book published last year, I talked about the history of how the car came to prominence. In this publication, I will talk about the future of the car industry in America.


Which of the following sentences BEST paraphrases this text using APA format?



  • Smith’s (2003) second book on cars addresses what he projects will be the future of the car industry.

  • Smith’s second book on cars addresses what he projects will be the future of the car industry in America (2003, p. 7).

  • Smith’s second book on cars addresses what he projects will be the future of the car industry in America.



Answer: B. While options A and C capture many elements of Smith’s text, option A leaves out the detail that Smith is discussing the American car industry, and the necessary APA citations are also not included. In option C, the necessary APA citation information is not included. Thus, the answer is B. Please note that while this author chose to include the page number from where the paraphrased information originated, page numbers are not required for paraphrase in APA format. The writer may choose to include the page or paragraph number for a paraphrase if the writer wants the reader to know exactly where to locate the paraphrased information. For more information on incorporating paraphrase, see:


  • The Writing Handbook/Writing Process/Overview/Critical Thinking.

  • The Writing Handbook/Writing Process/Drafting/Using Sources.

  • The Academic Honesty module.

  • APA Style and Formatting module.

  • Writing a Course Paper.

  • Strategies for Writing from Secondary Sources.

  • Paraphrase and Summary [pdf].

  • Who Says What to Whom [pdf].

  • Plagiarism [pdf].

  • Academic Integrity and Plagiarism [pdf].



28. Read the following text:
ORIGINAL TEXT by Smith, 2003, p. 7:
Cars are vital to America’s economy. In my book published last year, I talked about the history of how the car came to prominence. In this publication, I will talk about the future of the car industry in America.


Which of the following sentences BEST reflects the appropriate APA incorporation of a direct quotation?



  • In Smith’s most recent publication, he (2003) talks “about the future of the car industry in America” (p. 7).

  • Smith (2003) has discussed the “future of the car industry in America” (p. 7).

  • Smith writes (2003) about “the future of the car industry” in the United States (page 7).



Answer: B. While options A and C incorporate the year of publication and page number in different places, they do not have the date in the appropriate place. Option C has the additional error of spelling out “page 7.” For more information incorporating direct quotations, see:


29. Read the following text:
As Smith noted (2002), pizza is eaten more by men than women.


Which of the following sentences BEST reflects the appropriate incorporation of the writer’s analysis of the evidence above?



  • Thus, marketing companies should target pizza advertising to men instead of women.

  • Thus, evidence indicates that the men in the group are likely to select pizza more frequently than the women in the group.

  • Thus, the study was probably flawed due to sample size.



Answer: B. While all three sentences show an attempt by the author’s attempt to interpret the cited information, answers A and C draw conclusions beyond the scope of that the evidence can support. Thus, the correct answer is B, as the evidence can support the analysis presented-the likelihood that men in a group might select pizza more frequently than the women in the group. For more information, see:


30. Which of the following BEST reflects an appropriate element in a conclusion?



  • Restate word-for-word the main idea of the paper

  • Reiterate the writer’s unique perspective on the main idea

  • Introduce a new idea



Answer: B Option A, restating word-for-word the main idea in the conclusion is incorrect because a good conclusion should be a confident and more detailed review of the trip the reader just took. Option C is incorrect because a conclusion should not introduce new ideas of concepts. Instead, a conclusion should capture the intent and the ultimate point that the evidence supports. For more information, see The Writing Handbook/Writing Process/Drafting/Conclusions and Writing a Course Paper.


31. Which of the following methods determines if a source is credible?



  • Find the source in an online format

  • Evaluate the quality of the research methodology

  • Ensure the author does not use first-person pronouns



Answer: B. Evaluating the quality of the research methodology is an important step in determining if the argument and the main ideas are well-researched. If incorrect research tools were used, the data can be misleading. Option A is incorrect because even if a source is available online, it does not ensure that the information is true. Option C is incorrect because some scholarly papers use first-person voice, even though third-person is generally more appropriate. For more information, visit the Capella Writing Center: Critical Thinking.


32. The abstract or executive summary provides a brief description of:



  • supporting evidence.

  • author’s educational background.

  • figures found in the complete paper.



Answer: A. The abstract or executive summary provides brief descriptions of the position statement, topic, or hypothesis; supporting evidence; results; and conclusion. Options B and C are often part of the complete paper, but are not found in an abstract or summary.


33. In an introduction to an academic paper, the writer should include:



  • a list of sources used in researching the paper.

  • a personal opinion on why the topic is important.

  • the main idea of the paper.



Answer: C. The introduction should always include a clear statement of the main idea of the paper. If you have difficulty determining your main idea, you likely need to think more about your argument. It is often helpful to write the introduction after the paper itself. Option A is incorrect because the list of sources should appear in the Works Cited page. An introduction might contain a brief overview of the kinds of sources used, but it should not include an exhaustive list. Option B is incorrect because personal opinions should be backed by evidence that supports a position. For more information, visit the Capella Writing Center: Critical Thinking.


34. To help readers understand the overall argument in a paper, a writer can strategically use:



  • topic sentences in paragraphs.

  • long paragraphs with more than one main idea.

  • short paragraphs that require no transitions.



Answer: A. If you use paragraphs strategically, your audience should be able to read your introduction, the first sentence of each paragraph, and your conclusion to have an overall sense of the points you are making. Option B is incorrect because long paragraphs with more than one main idea make it difficult for readers to determine the main argument. Option C is incorrect because transitions help readers move from paragraph to paragraph. Short paragraphs can be useful primarily as emphasis points, but an academic paper should not include only short paragraphs. For more information, visit the Capella Writing Center: Critical Thinking.


35. Which of the following ways to cite a source is a word-for-word incorporation of borrowed text?


Answer: C. When quoting, you must cite the borrowed text word for word or copy the visual exactly as it was published. Make sure you cite the source in the text and in the bibliography. Option A is incorrect because a summary presents a shortened version of the original in your own words. Option B is incorrect because a paraphrase presents the source it in detail, but rewrites the information so that it is completely in your own words. Both summaries and paraphrases also need to have a citation in the text and in the bibliography. For more information, visit the Capella Writing Center: Critical Thinking.


36. Which of the following sentence demonstrates critical thinking by reflecting on outside sources?



  • I disagree with Stark’s (2006) argument that humans contribute to global warming because I don’t believe humans can have that large of an effect on the entire world.

  • Stark’s (2006) argument on global warming supports White’s (2003) evidence that pollution will increase as global warming increases.

  • Stark (2006) has a better argument than Smith (2007) because global warming is a serious issue.



Answer: B. Option B is the best answer because it relies on presenting evidence from another source to support another source. Option A is a personal opinion; to support that opinion, the writer needs to locate a reputable, scientific source to support the position. Option C uses two sources but does not demonstrate an understanding of the evidence that could support either position. For more information, visit the Capella Writing Center: Critcal Thinking Writing a Course Paper.


37. When an academic paper includes a clear thesis statement in the introduction and provides support and evidence throughout the body, a conclusion is:



  • redundant and, therefore, unnecessary.

  • confusing, because the reader expects new ideas there.

  • helpful, and should be stated explicitly.



Answer: C. An academic paper should always have a conclusion that states explicitly the main argument of the paper. A conclusion can engage the reader by calling for action or suggesting further work on the topic, and it should always include the main point. For more information, visit the Capella Writing Center: Critcal Thinking Writing a Course Paper.


38. Which of the following is appropriate material for an appendix?



  • List of figures and tables.

  • Sample questionnaire.

  • Annotated bibliography.



Answer: B. An appendix is found at the end of an APA paper. Appendixes are used to place detailed information that would be distracting to the reader if placed in the body of a paper. Sample questionnaires, surveys, or a computer program are examples of information found in appendixes. Option A, list of figures and tables, is found at the beginning of a paper. Option C, an annotated bibliography, is often used for pre-writing and research activities, and is generally not an element of a final paper. For more information, visit the APA Module.


39. When a writer wants to sound like an expert, the most effective writing style includes:



  • concrete language.

  • overly formal language.

  • jargon-laden language.



Answer: A. To sound like an expert, the best writing style is one that expresses the writer’s point. When trying to impress readers, writers can get lost in too many words that are too formal and use too much jargon. When writers focus on expressing their ideas through concrete language, strong verbs, and third-person voice, they are much more likely to sound professional. For more information, download the Writing Process Handbook [pdf].


40. Passive voice may be preferred over active voice when the writer wants to sound more:


Answer: B. While active voice is usually preferred over passive voice in professional and academic situations, writers can choose to use active voice to hide the actor in a sentence. In some cases, passive voice can be more polite because it avoids blame or naming an individual person or action that caused a problem. Depending on the situation, the writer might want to take the emphasis off a person to sound more polite. For more information, download the Grammar Handbook [pdf] and the Writing Process Handbook [pdf].


41. Which of the following sentences correctly uses a coordinating comma?



  • Michel is excited for his first airplane ride, and to visit his grandmother.

  • The data clearly show that the initial hypothesis was incorrect, and call for a new hypothesis.

  • The meeting was scheduled for June, so participants needed to adjust their vacations.