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Write a “how-to” article of 4-5 double-spaced pages (1,000 words). How-to articles require you to think logically and explain steps simply. You also must use a clear, engaging style. No matter what your discipline, how-to articles are a great way to share your knowledge and get recognition for your expertise.
1.List things you know something about that others might like to learn—practical topics complex enough to need explanation but focused enough to cover in the word count allotted. No need to be an expert yourself; be interested in the topic and know the basics. Then, from your list, select a topic.
2.Determine what you want to teach in your article and who your audience is. Think in terms of general readers, not technical people at your workplace. Your audience might by UMBC students, newspaper readers (the general public), professionals (readers of a business journal), parents, etc.
3.Create a working title, such as Steps for buying a digital camera that meets your needs. Flower gardening for beginners: how to plant a summer of color. What you should know to keep your home computer problem-free. Twelve ways to make the most of your study time.
a.Find 3-5 pieces of reliable background material (articles, books, etc.) You do not need to quote from these, unless you believe a direct quote or paraphrase will help you explain the process you describe. This article should be written in your own words.
b.Also interview at least 2 people who know the subject well and can share tips. You have A LOT of experts right here on campus, in your workplace, or among family and friends. (First develop interview questions for a phone, email or personal interview.) You must QUOTE your experts in your article.
5.Based on what you’ve learned in your research, list your how-to “steps” or tips in a logical order.
6.Write article so it is clear, readable and focused. Make it personal by using “you” and including examples readers can relate to. Start it in an interesting way that ties in with your topic.
7.Include quotes and/or paraphrased information from the experts you interviewed. You must quote each expert at least once in the article. You do not need to use in-text citations, but you need a bibliography at the end of the paper.
8.Include simple visuals if relevant: a chart, illustrations, diagram. This is in addition to your word count.
9.Include a “sidebar” that offers additional information that could not be included in the main article. For example, if you article teaches the reader how to build a computer, you could have a sidebar of the best local stores to buy computer equipment. You could also provide a short list of safety considerations for your process. The sidebar is part of your word count. The quotes from your experts should not be in your sidebar.
10. Hand in:
a.The final version of your article, including the sidebar.
b.A bibliography that includes source information for background material you read and the names, titles and contact information for the people you interviewed.
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