Sample Writing eQuestions
- eQuestion: I’m writing an assignment for my social problems class, and I need to decide on a research question. Here’s what I have so far: “How does post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affect Canadian society?” Is my research question specific enough?
- Response: You have a good start here because you have identified a specific social problem—PTSD—and asked a question about its effects. Great! However, this question is a big one, and it will probably be hard to answer it well in a short paper. You could narrow your question by discussing specific populations affected by PTSD or by analyzing causes or effects of PTSD. Ask yourself questions like the following ones. Will you talk about children or adults? Will you talk about particular causes of PTSD (e.g., family violence, military conflict, etc.) or all of the causes together? Will you talk about the effects that PTSD has on a particular social group (e.g., the family) or on all of society? Will you use a particular methodology or social theory? Will you draw conclusions about government policy or the health care system? As you think about these questions, do some preliminary research to make sure that you can find good, scholarly data that addresses your research question. Finally, feel free to revise your research question and resubmit it here. In the meantime, check out http://twp.duke.edu/uploads/media_items/research-questions.original.pdf for some good tips on creating a research question.
- eQuestion: My English instructor tells me that I often have problems with subject-verb agreement. I’m not sure what that is or how to fix it. She says that this sentence has a problem with subject-verb agreement: “In the last few months, the Ebola virus—which has reached epidemic status in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierre Leone—have resulted in over two thousand deaths.” Can you help me find the problem and fix it?
- Response: Yes, I sure can help you with this problem. A fault in subject-verb agreement happens when the subject (the person, place, or thing that the sentence is all about) and the verb (the action or state of being) do not agree in number. For example, in the sentence “He eat vegetables,” he is the subject, and eat is the verb. But he is singular: it refers to just one person. Eat is the plural form of the verb: we could say “They eat” but not “he eat.” To fix this error, you have two options. First, you could make the subject plural: you could say “They eat vegetables.” Second, you could make the verb singular: “He eats vegetables.” Choose the option that fits your meaning best. Now, in your sentence, you need to find the subject and the verb to see if they match. I’ll give you a hint: “have resulted” is the verb. What is the subject? What has caused the deaths? Once you have found the subject, see if the subject and verb match in number. If not, you need to change one of them. Once you have corrected this sentence, make sure you check your whole essay for more faults in subject-verb agreement. Also, for practice correcting these faults, see https://depts.dyc.edu/learningcenter/owl/agreement_sv.htm. You’ll see a grammar explanation on the page and then some exercises down at the bottom. Finally, feel free to submit another eQuestion if you need more help!
- eQuestion: I’m writing a personal reflection paper on my nursing practicum, and I need to cite an email I received from the head nurse on my unit. How do I cite an email in APA format?
- Response: Thanks for your question! In APA, for all personal communication—emails, interviews, etc.—you do not need to provide an entry in your reference list: you just need to give an in-text citation. For the in-text citation, you need to give the name of the person who emailed you, the phrase “personal communication,” and the date of the email: (R. Kelly, personal communication, February 6, 2015). See https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/11/ for an explanation.