Anthony J. Pennings, PhD


Writing Criteria

Dr. Pennings’ General Writing Assignment Criteria

Unless otherwise specified, all essays and papers will be required to follow the rules below. Each of the 5 categories listed will be allocated equal marks. Points are divided evenly among the following criteria:

  • Organization
  • Content
  • Style
  • Research
  • Impact

In the sections below I outline some of the major elements that should be covered in each writing assignment. Remember you should always check with your individual instructor about their requirements either in class or a properly constructed email.

These are guidelines for my assignments.

– A Good title. (Catchy, but descriptive) Capitalize the beginning of all major words. This is the American style, the British style only capitalizes the first letter of the first word.
– Thesis statement – What is this paper about? This should be integrated into the Introduction. What framework are you using?
– Introduction of the entire paper in the beginning – Tell me what you are going to tell me – then tell me – then tell me what you told me. While you can write a draft early in your writing, you should always write the Introduction last, when you know what you have actually written.
-Subheadings to help the reader. This indicates an ability to think contextually and supports the reader. Papers should include an Introduction and Conclusion. (Use American-style Capitalization)

– X-xx pages or paragraphs. As a general rule you can write less if you narrow the topic. Paragraphs should have about 5 sentences.
– Clear focus with ideas that are clear, complete, and well suited to the audience (usually the instructor) and purpose of the assignment.
– Consistent and appropriate voice. Mostly use 3rd person.
– Do you give enough evidence to support your paper?

    – Use charts, statistics, quotes.

– Submitted document file name includes YOUR name, class, assignment, date.

– Professional (academic) presentation (little white or “negative” space). Use of indentation OR double spacing between paragraphs. First sentence of a new section after a subtitle does not need to be indented.
– Text is left aligned and ragged right, NOT justified.
– Few spelling and grammatical mistakes. If a word is underlined in your document. That usually means it needs to be changed.
– Cover page with sufficient information (name, date, class, assignment).
Good paragraph development.

    – Three or more sentences per paragraph. Paragraphs have introductory and concluding sentences. Introductory sentence is a unifying idea for the paragraph. Several sentences to provide details. Try to conclude with a sentence that both summarizes and transitions to the next paragraph. Writers should strive for 5 sentences, using the rule of 3 to write at least 3 sentences of supporting information.
    – 2 or more paragraphs to a section with a subheading. Subheadings are bolded.


– Two (2) or more citations per page (Several can be from the same source). Use ibid to repeat a citation in foot/endnotes.
Tip: Try
– Footnotes and/or Endnotes in Indo-Arabic numbers (NOT Roman numerals). For help on using Endnotes for MS Word (See below). Endnote numbers should go at the end of the relevant sentence when information is specific like a quote or a number/statistic. It can go at the end of a paragraph if it refers to an idea or set of ideas represented in the paragraph.
– Bibliography listing all sources reviewed in alphabetical order. You can often cut and paste a citation from the Bibliography to the end/footnote.
– Web references have date accessed. Citing other social media such as blogs, emails, Facebook posts, and Tweets are becoming more important. Or use Easybib. Some web addresses may need to be shortened.
– Adhere in general to a major style (MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard) APA Style usually used for social sciences, business, and engineering. MLA for humanities. (Note, APA has not generally recommended endnotes, but only because it imposed additional costs on publishers. With new technology this limitation is becoming irrelevant).

– Overall impression.
– Originality.
– Relevance to the class and assignment (i.e. citing required sources)
– Strong finish (Told me what you wrote, and why it’s important).

Remember that writing takes time, and most importantly, rewrites. Get something down and then go over it – again and again. Time is always an important constraint, but take pride in your work, and make an effort to recraft it into a better creation.

This is some advice on writing papers from another STS professor at Waseda University.

The graded papers may contain the following marks.


The Writing Center at SUNY Korea is available to assist you with your writing assignments.

Fall 2023 Writing Center is open effective Sep 7 (Fri), 2023

1. How to Sign-up

*Make sure your calendar is set to Korea time before making an appointment.

2. Where to Meet Tutors : A713 – The Writing Center

– No walk-ins allowed (Book an appointment at least 4 hours prior to the meeting time)

– One visit per week accepted

Tips for editing your paper.

I’m writing my first university paper. What do I need to know?

English as a Second Language

Differences of Essay Writing in English and Korean

Writing papers for economics.

Writing and Citation Tips

A Comprehensive Resource for Students and Academics

Help with APA (American Psychological Association) style

For NYU Students

St. Edwards University Writing Center

For additional help on using footnotes and endnotes for MS Word 2003, 2007, and this Youtube video for 2010

Literature Reviews

Excellent presentation on how to do a literature review.



AnthonybwAnthony J. Pennings, PhD has been a professor and undergraduate program director for the State University of New York, Korea since 2016. Previously, he taught at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas and was on the faculty of New York University from 2002-2012. His first faculty position was at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.


  • Referencing this Material

    Copyrights apply to all materials on this blog but fair use conditions allow limited use of ideas and quotations. Please cite the permalinks of the articles/posts.
    Citing a post in APA style would look like:
    Pennings, A. (2015, April 17). Diffusion and the Five Characteristics of Innovation Adoption. Retrieved from
    MLA style citation would look like: "Diffusion and the Five Characteristics of Innovation Adoption." Anthony J. Pennings, PhD. Web. 18 June 2015. The date would be the day you accessed the information. View the Writing Criteria link at the top of this page to link to an online APA reference manual.

  • About Me

    Professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea since 2016. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, digital economics, and strategic communications.

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    The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers, past or present.