This page is currently under construction for use in a little tutorial on writing short articles. [edit | edit source]
This will be a rough draft, not a finished product. It will be used to demonstrate a way to research and rough draft at the same time. Remember: Rough Draft No worries at this time about anything but committing raw research information to the page. You may choose to do this rough draft/research in your sandbox or on the New Page depending on how long you think it will take you to write the article. If you use the New Page, remember to save your work often. (I've lost many a rough draft because I forgot that step.) (I'll have the article finished in its polished form by 3 PM MST today.)
There will be three primary stages of your article:
Rough Draft: Here, you will be reading the article and gathering the information and facts that you want to include. You can use words, phrases, rough sentences or a combination, your choice.
Writing the article: This is the time to put your information and facts into sentences and paragraphs. Read the article aloud to yourself and it will help you to catch little mistakes. What your eye will miss, your ears will surely hear.
Polishing the article: This will include adding links, changing headings, adding a photo, and editing the finished product at least 3 times. Switch the article into wiki text in order to catch spelling errors. Rich Editor does not have a spell check feature, but wiki text does. Ask another Wiki volunteer to read over and edit your page at this point. Don't be protective about your work. Even the very best and well known authors utilize and appreciate the services of an editor, often more than one of them. Once you've committed the words to the finished page, let it go. It is no longer yours but now belongs to the community. Fresh,unbiased eyes can signifantly improve an article.
Here are some points to remember:
Plagiarism: the outright copying of another writer's work. It is illegal and if done in a venue such as our Wiki, can lead to legal consequences if discovered.
Paraphrasing: Part of the research process, it involves gathering information and facts from other sources and paraphrasing what you find, versus copying what you find. None of us are going to travel to Pennsylvania, measure the pathway and gather information at it's source. Instead, we will read the information gathered by others and paraphrase, picking and choosing which pieces of information are useful to us. (Some writers use quotation marks around various phrases and then attribute the work to the original authors but it is a lazy and distracting writing technique.) Here are some generalized points about paraphrasing:
1) Never copy a sentence.
2) Change wording at least every 5-7 words.
3) Often the ending of a "research" sentence can be used as the beginning of your own sentence. (Transposing the sentence)
4) Look for different words that can be substituted for words that are common in the article. This is another way to avoid plagiarism.
a) Area, location, locale and Vicinity can frequently be interchangably
b) Living, inhabiting,/ lived, inhabited, /resides, resided in, /can be interchanged.
c) Native American, First Nation People, American Indian Tribe, Cherokee people, Choctaw people, etc. (Never terms like Redskins, Indians etc.) Be PC.
First Action: Split your screen into a research page and a writing page. You can either work on the new page or your sandbox, depending on how much time you feel you'll need to complete the article.
Second Action: Place your links. You can make them pretty later on, just get them in first so that you don't forget them. At the bottom of most pages there is a section for Categories. Further reading and research can be done on those articles as well and, if information is taken from those pages, add a link to them.
Third Action: What do you plan to emphasize? What is the purpose of the article? Migratory Routes? Information about Native Americans? Information about the state itself? Categorize your article. It helps you not to forget to categorize, but more importantly, it helps you to stay focused on your emphasis.
Fourth Action: Get started with your new page.
Add your link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kittanning_Path (remember that the wiki is designed so that links will automatically go to the top of an empty new page.)
Add your categories:(remember that once you save your page, the categories will move automatically to the bottom of the page.
Begin your page by reading the article you are researching. Decide how you want to arrange your new page. For this article, let's use Chronological order. This particular wikipedia article basically breaks down into four sub headings: Earliest History, Geographic Description, Historic Uses, and Modern Day Preservation. If you prefer other headings, feel free to use whichever titles for your sub headings that you like. Your writing should reflex your own preferences.
Resarch notes on History:
Path in use by 1721 (in use, not created) use generic paragraph on trails
1744 John Hart license to trade with Native Am in the western part of PA lands, closed to settlement by whites, campsite 'hart's sleeping place', encampment=campsite
On Colonial maps, 1754, trail used by John Harris, founder of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, slept there
Last N.A. encampment recorded at the site in 1781
Becomes: 1st paragraph
It is known that the Kittanning Path was being utilized as early as 1721, although it had probably been used by First Nations People prior to that time. John Hart, a white trader, was given a license in 1744 that allowed him to trade with Native Americans in western Pennsylvania lands. At that time those areas were closed to settlements by whites. Mr. Hart built a campsite along the path named "Hart's Sleeping Place" in what is now Cambria County, Pennsylvania. This campsite was noted on colonial maps and it is known that John Harris, founder of present day Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, traveled the path sleeping at the encampment in 1754. The last American Indian use of the campsite was recorded in 1781.