Author Archives: writingstudio


Blogging is a great way to put your ideas and your work out there. FIT has some great tips about blogging that are helpful to anyone considering maintaining a blog. Below we provide our own guide with Art and Design students in mind.

It is also helpful to look at other bloggers and to think about how they build a readership. Google reader is helpful in keeping you up to date with the blogs that interest you.


Grammar is something that we all find ourselves concerned with as writers. Simply put, grammar has to do with the way that we arrange words in a sentence to make meaning. But it never seems to be as simple as that. Professor Mark Goldblatt offers us a crash course in grammar in his series of survival grammar videos. Part 1 can be viewed by clicking “Download Video”. (Note: The link will take you directly to the video’s YouTube page.)

Chicago Style

The proper use of the Chicago Manual of Style allows writers to give credit to authors whose materials they have used, avoid plagiarism, and provide readers with factual accounts that give credibility to writing.

The Chicago Style of citation is formatted in two ways: the Notes-Bibliography system, which is used predominantly for writing in history, art and other humanities, and the Author-Date system, used for writing in the social sciences and other science disciplines.

Notes-Bibliography System

The main components of the Notes-Bibliography system used in the humanities include the use of footnotes and/or endnotes and a bibliography.

Author-Date System

The author-date system, preferred for works dealing with science, utilizes in-text citation as well as a bibliography.

Citing Sources using Chicago

Learn how to cite your sources in your text and create a bibliography using Chicago Style. This guide offers examples of how to cite commonly used sources. 

The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, and Kate L. Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7th edition, both located in the Library at FIT, can provide complete information regarding this citation style.

Writing Situation Model

The model below demonstrates how people, relationships, places, ideas, and beliefs influence our writing in complex ways.



The arrows pointing in all directions on the model depict the different connections that exist between readers, writers, and texts. These connections or relationships happen in physical, social, and cultural contexts that shape the way that readers and writers enter into these relationships and understand these connections. Think of it this way: whenever we read or write anything, we do so with other texts we have read and written in mind, with an understanding of how we to relate to others, and with the physical, social, and cultural experiences and events that have shaped the way we think.

Literature Reviews

A literature review is a unique entity among papers and essays. The “literature” would be sources of information on any given topic (i.e. editorial articles, journals, books, websites, traditional papers), and the “review” the compiling, examining, and discussion of these sources themselves. A literature review may stand alone or be used as part of a larger research paper as a sort of introduction.

Whereas a typical research paper would depend upon proper sources of information to support the writers’ thesis or main argument, a literature review is concerned with discussing the sources themselves, their validity, their meaning and value in that given field. The intriguing part of writing a literature review in terms of style is that it is written as an expository essay. It requires an introduction, body, and conclusion, and is therefore different from an annotated bibliography, which would be concerned only with commenting on an alphabetized list of sources.

Basically, this means that your literature review shouldn’t be a bunch of summaries tied together but rather a kind of argument that develops out of a discussion of your sources. A typical structure would contain an intro, body, and conclusion, and the body would focus on comments pertaining to:

• Historical background and previous research findings

• Recent developments in the field

• Areas up for debate/areas in need of closer examination

• Areas of agreement; leading authorities’ views

• Varying approaches on the subject

• Qualitative analyzes of the subject.

The literature review may be organized based on chronological research and shifting opinions over time, a theme concerning varying opinions within the field, the methods through which research has been conducted, or a review concerned with proving gaps or illogical research within the field. A last helpful note: A literature review is NOT primarily about you or your relationship to the literature. Therefore, a literature review should NOT be organized as a narrative of your own research process.

Logical Fallacies

Logical Fallacies

  1. Hasty generalization: Conclusion not logically justified by sufficient or unbiased evidence.
  2. Post hoc ergo propter hoc: Literally, “after this, therefore because of this.” Just because Event B occurred after Event A does not mean that A necessarily caused B.
  3. Genetic fallacy: Arguing that the origins of a person, object, or institution determine its character, nature, or worth. Like the post hoc fallacy, the genetic fallacy is an error in causal relationships.
  4. Begging the question: Loading the conclusion in the claim. Arguing that “pornography should be banned because it corrupts our youth” is a logical claim. However, saying that “filthy and corrupting pornography should be banned is begging the question: The conclusion that the writer should prove (that pornography corrupts) is assumed in the claim.
  5. Circular argument: A sentence or argument that restates rather than proves.
  6. Either/or: An oversimplification that reduces alternatives to only two choices, thereby creating a false dilemma. Statements such as “Love it or leave it” attempt to reduce the alternatives to two. If you don’t love your school, your town, or your country, you don’t have to leave: A third choice is to change it and make it better. Proposed solutions frequently have an either/or fallacy.
  7. Faulty comparison or analogy: Basing an argument on a comparison of two things, ideas, events, or situations that are similar but not identical. Although comparisons or analogies are often effective in argument, they can hide logical problems. The point is not to avoid comparisons or analogies. Simply make sure that your conclusions are qualified; acknowledge the differences between the two things compared as a well as the similarities.
  8. Ad hominem (literally, “to the man”): An attack on the character of the individual or the opponent rather than his or her actual opinions, arguments, or qualifications.
  9. Ad populum (literally, “to the people”): An emotional appeal to positive concepts (God, mother, country, liberty, democracy, apple pie) or negative concepts (fascism, treason, atheism) rather than a direct discussion of the real issue.
  10. Red herring and straw man: Diversionary tactics designed to avoid confronting the key issue. Red herring refers to the practice of dragging a smelly fish across the trail to divert tracking dogs away from the real quarry. A red herring occurs when writers avoid countering an opposing argument directly. In the straw man diversion, the writer sets up an artificially easy argument to refute in place of the real issue. Avoid red herring and straw man tactics by either refuting an argument directly or acknowledging that it has some merit.

APA Style

In-Text Citations

Using in-text citations will help your readers to know where your information is coming from and how current that information happens to be. Here are a few examples of how to cite sources in your text using APA style:


According to Jones (1998), “Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time” (p. 199). Jones (1998) found “students often had difficulty using APA style” (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?

She stated, “Students often had difficulty using APA style,” but she did not offer an explanation as to why (Jones, 1998, p. 199).


According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.
APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

Notice that the author’s last name, the date of publication, and the page number are key to getting this right. The examples above show you a couple of ways that you can incorporate these three important pieces of information.

The Writing Studio can help you to smoothly incorporate your sources and to troubleshoot more difficult sources to cite. You can also go online to Web sites like the Online Writing Lab at Purdue to help you find answers to your APA questions.

Reference Pages

Here’s how to create a reference page in APA style. A reference page is what people will often call a bibliography. The sample reference page below has an example of a book, a Web site, a magazine article, an online newspaper article, an annual report, and a print newspaper article (in that order). Here’s how they look when put together:


Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC:     American Psychological Association.

Health Canada. (2002, February). The safety of genetically modified food crops. Retrieved from     /english/protection/biologics_genetics/gen_mod_foods/genmodebk.html

Henry, W. A., III. (1990, April 9). Making the grade in today’s schools. Time, 135, 28-31.

Parker-Pope, T. (2008, May 6). Psychiatry handbook linked to drug industry. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Petro-Canada. (2007). Opportunities tomorrow. Performance today: Annual report 2007. Retrieved from AnnualReport_en_2007.pdf

Schultz, S. (2005, December 28). Calls made to strengthen state energy policies. The Country Today, pp. 1A, 2A.


In APA style, presentations, personal communication, and e-mails are not considered recoverable information, so you don’t include them in the references page. However, you can include them in your paper. If you think of the writing studio director as a guest speaker you would like to cite, here’s how:

Brian Fallon noted that the Writing Studio can help us to learn more about APA style and is open 9-9 Monday-Friday, 1-4 on Saturday, and 5-9 on Sunday in room C612 (personal communication, March 1, 2014).

Art/Design Statements

Writing can be a significant part of any artist’s design process and can help you to develop sophisticated ways to articulate the significance of your work, your personal perspective and your aesthetic. 

Design Philosophy/Artist Statements

 Artists and designers often write statements that offer admirers of their work greater insight into the collection/portfolio, the design process of the artist, or what inspires the artist. Some of these statements are about a page and others are as short as a paragraph. You have to decide what works best for you and for your readers.  Either way, they need to be concise, yet meaningful.  Man Bartlett’s video (second down on the right) gives you an idea of how some artists choose to discuss their work and process.

Here are some questions that can help you build your own design philosophy/artist statement:

  • What inspires you as a designer?
  • What drives your design process?
  • What’s important to you as a designer?
  • What’s the theme or story behind your collection/portfolio?
  • How does that theme or story influence how you designed this collection/portfolio?
  • As a designer, what point are you trying to express through your collection/portfolio?

Maya Lin designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC while she was in college and won a nation-wide competition for her work (see video top right). She believes her design was chosen over others in part due to the essay she wrote to accompany it. Writing can be a significant part of any artist’s design process and can help you to develop sophisticated ways to articulate the significance of your work, your personal perspective and your aesthetic.