The CLU Writing Center

Writing in the Disciplines

Writing in the Humanities

Purpose & Practice

The humanities explores the human experience, addressing controversial issues, interpreting available evidence, and providing reasonable, researched answers. Humanities papers often respond to art, literature, ideas, events, and individuals (a) interpreting and discussing the meaning and/or importance of a subject, (b) comparing meanings and/or connections with other similar/dissimilar subjects, and/or (c) contextualizing the subject within the larger realm of human events/experiences.

Formatting & Documentation

The primary method of formatting and documentation for literature is MLA (Modern Language Association). Historical studies use CMS (Chicago Manual of Style).

Writing in Science and Technology

Purpose & Practice

Science and technology explain and apply knowledge about the physical world.Writing in these areas provides a record of scientific research and communicates that record to others.

Writing in the areas of science and technology typically takes one of two forms. The first, Research/Lab Reports, provides a formal report of original (primary) research and often follows a problem-solution approach, consisting of four parts: introduction (purpose), methods, results, and discussion (significance/ meaning).

The second, Literature/Scientific Reviews, synthesizes current knowledge on a topic, seeking to cover and bring coherence to a range of studies. Reviews may (a) argue in favor of a particular position based on the available literature or (b) evaluate articles and advise readers as to which merit attention.

Formatting & Documentation

The primary formatting and documentation method used is CSE (Council of Science Editors as of 2000, previously CBE, Council of Biology Editors).

Writing in the Social Sciences

Purpose & Practice

The social sciences present the systematic study of human beings and their interactions in society and with their environment by (a) discovering explanatory patterns in group behavior, (b) describing and defining social laws, rules, and conventions by which people operate, and (c) predicting human behavior and relationships.

The key components of writing in the social sciences are observation (precise description) and analysis (careful examination). The primary types of writing are:

  1. Experimental Reports which usually consist of the following sections:
    • abstract - a one-paragraph summary of the study's goals, methods, and findings
    • introduction - an explanation of the importance of the issue, areview of past research, a discussion of researchers theoretical perspectives, and a statement of research questions and hypotheses
    • methods - a description of the details of the study methods often broken into several subsections, including subjects, research design, follow-up, and analysis
    • results and discussion - a report of the results of analysis and a discussion of the implications of the findings
    • conclusion - a summary of the overall findings and their importance
    • references - a listing of all the sources cited
  2. Field Reports which typically provide a detailed description of observed behaviors as well as an analysis and discussion of the possible significance of those behaviors.
  3. Case Studies focus on a relatively short, self-contained episode or segment of a person's life which becomes the occasion for analysis.
Formatting & Documentation

The primary formatting and documentation method is APA (American Psychological Association). Sociological studies require ASA (American Sociological Association).

Writing in Business

Purpose & Practice

Business focuses on the study of human behavior in connection to the environment of business and business reports are written both to become knowledgeable about particular topics and to communicate the knowledge gained to others. Through clear, accessible, and useful writing, a business report seeks to do the following: (a) clearly summarize the present situation in a particular field or market and (b) objectively interpret and logically organize information so that it is easily accessible for readers.

The formatting and documentation style used by the CLU School of Business is APA (American Psychological Association).

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