Writing and Citing
Different styles of writing are appropriate for different purposes so it is important to consider your audience and to choose a formality and tone that is best suited to your objectives. There are no hard and fast rules to writing well, but clear writing principles, correct spelling, proper use of grammar and punctuation, and accurate citing of sources are important writing skills when communicating professionally.
The following resources provide general information about health literacy and tips and tools to help you write clearly and concisely.
- Health Literacy Portal, Canadian Public Health Association
- Health Literacy Studies, Harvard School of Public Health
- The Plain Language and Information Network (PLAIN), U.S. Government
Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation
The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University in Indiana provides a vast array of writing resources. Navigate the site by browsing the left-hand menu. Topics covered include general writing resources, research and citation, subject specific writing and English as a second language. This site offers so much more than just instruction on grammar, spelling, and punctuation!
Citing involves giving credit to sources from which you took information or creative expression. It is important to give credit by citing to avoid plagiarism and to direct your readers to the source of information you used to inform your own writing.
You should cite another’s work when you have:
- Directly quoted another’s words
- Taken another’s ideas but put them into your own words, also known as paraphrasing, or
- Taken information from another’s work that is not widely known or common knowledge.
Public health professionals generally adhere to the mechanics of style and citation specified in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
The following resources provide information on how not to plagiarize and citing in APA.
- Avoiding Plagiarism: Mastering the Art of Scholarship (PDF 369KB), University of California, Davis
- What is Plagiarism? Simon Fraser University Library
- How Not to Plagiarize, University of Toronto
- Avoiding Plagiarism, The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- APA Style, American Psychological Association
- Citation Guide: APA (6th ed., 2010), Simon Fraser University Library
- APA Style, The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
Last modified on: August 31, 2016