UMD Department of Social Work
Guidelines for ALL Written Assignments
All written assignments should:
• Be typed
• Be printed in a 12-point Times New Roman font (unless otherwise specified)
• Be double-spaced
• Be stapled together
• Have one-inch margins
• Have page numbers on each page
• Have your name and the course number on the cover
• Be read aloud and checked for errors in spelling and grammar.
• Use the American Psychological Association (APA) format.
• Include a complete list of references
• Cite all ideas and quotes taken from others
The UMD Social Work Department uses APA format. You will be expected to use APA
format in all your courses. The APA Manual 5th edition includes information on the
• Writing style (orderly presentation of ideas, smoothness of expression, economy of expression, precision and clarity and strategies to improve writing style)
• Grammar (verbs, agreement of subject and verb, pronouns, misplaced and dangling modifiers, relative pronouns and subordinate conjunctions, parallel construction
and linguistic devises)
• Reduced Bias in Language (gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic identity, disabilities and age)
• Editorial style (periods, commas, semicolons, colons, dashes, quotation marks parentheses, bracket, and slashes);
• Capitalization (when to use it)
• Italics (when and how to use it)
• Headings Quotations
• Statistical Copy
• Reference Citation in Text
• Reference List
The NASW website also has helpful writing tips and can be found at
Examples of citations in the text of the book:
There are two different ways of citing sources in papers when you do not use a direct quote.
The literature on service learning and social work education addresses recreational services for elementary school students (Butcher & Hall, 1998), housing for the homeless (Forte, 1997), and companionship for the elderly (Dorfman, Murty, Imgram, & Evans, 2002; Hegman, Horowitz, Tepper, Pillemer & Schultz, 2002).
Lowes (1998) agrees with Epstein that patient centered care involves developing an agreement with the patient about the nature of the problem.
Citing Direct Quotes
The following is an example one way to cite a source when you use a direct quote.
Characteristics of service learning include learning academic course content through service in the community and “civic learning” that prepare students for “community or public involvement in a diverse democratic society” (Howard, 2001, p. 38). Please note that in the above example the page number is included.
Examples of how to do the reference section
The following is an example of how to reference a book in the reference section of your paper.
Krathwohl, D. R., Bloom, B. S., & Masia, B. B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational objectives. White Plains, NY: Longman Inc.
Example of a reference from an edited book
Liu, G. (1995). What National and community service means for higher education. In J. Galura & J. Holward (Eds.), Praxis III: Voices in dialogue (pp. 9-15). Ann Arbor, Michigan: OCSL Press.
Example of a reference from a journal
Mabry, J.B. (1998). Pedagogical variations in service-learning and student outcomes: How time, contact and reflection matter. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 5(3), 32-47.
Example of a reference from a web-based source
The following website is very helpful for properly citing electronic material:
Example 1 (Electronic Version of Journal)
Calsyn, R. J., Winter, J. P., & Burger, G. (2005). The relationship between social anxiety and social support in adolescents: A test of competing causal models (Electronic version). Adolescence, 40(157), 103-114.
Example 2 (Internet only Journal)
Edelman, M. W. (2003, February 27). Hunger and homelessness: Real homeland security issues. Retrieved May 4, 2005, from http://www.childrensdefense.org/childwatch/030227.aspx
Elements to Remember When Writing
The majority of your paper should be written in your own words. Quotes may be used as long as they are cited but your paper should not consist of one quote after another. You need to lead into quotes with your own words. Do not put a quote in your paper without explaining the point you are trying to make in your own words. Whenever you use another person's idea, you must give that person credit by citing him or her.
All good papers have an introduction, a middle section, and a summary. Be sure to include an introductory paragraph in your paper that captures the reader's attention and explains what will follow in the rest of the paper. Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence which is a general statement supported with information in the following sentences in the paragraph. Typically there should be a minimum of two sentences for a paragraph. You need transitions between paragraphs and between sentences so that they
flow logically. Support your assertions with evidence from the literature. The summary section of your paper should touch on the main points you want the reader to remember. It is not a good idea to introduce new information in the summary. Also, in a formal paper it is best to write words out rather than using use contractions such as “can’t.” To catch errors read your paper out loud. Also, it is a very good idea to have someone else read your paper to give you critical feedback that you can use on your final draft.
The following two websites give examples of APA Style for the body of your paper as well as for the bib or reference list.
The following site links you to official APA information http://www.apastyle.org/
The following site will help you format references http://www.stylewizard.com/
Some Helpful Writing Web Sites
The following are online writing tutorials
This is a free online writing tutorial.
This is one of the very best websites that covers a multitude of writing issues – grammar, style, genres, etc.
This is an interesting website that provides practical examples of how and when to use articles, comparatives, nouns, pronouns, confusing words, adjectives, conditionals, quantifiers, questions, agreement, clauses, prepositions, homonyms, and passive voice.
This is a great website that answers questions about literally hundreds of common errors in English.
Some good, simple guidelines and examples of how to correctly cite resources, both in the text of your paper and in your Works Cited list.
More guidelines about the common errors in writing.
Another excellent guide regarding a variety of general writing issues.
University of Texas at Arlington Social Work website will help you with grant writing.