Some Really Crude Basics
Let's admit from the start that by "college paper" we mean a paper for a course in the humanities. The sciences, bless them, have their own peculiar ways of using language that many of us in the humanities find bizarre. Of course, the way some humanists write papers is also beyond belief. One need only pick up any work by one of the adherents of the modern "deconstructionist" school of literary analysis to see how bad academic writing can get. Forget all that academic jargon. Any college paper you write reflects your opinion and should be in whatever style or voice is most comfortable for you. And whether the paper is for the English Department, History Department, Psychology Department, Religious Studies, or any of the many subsets of the social sciences, the rules here outlined generally apply. Even such pseudosciences as economics and business require papers that are written in English and follow the same general rules and procedures as an essay on Emerson.
That said, it is undoubtedly true that you can get away with more colorful and creative--if not downright peculiar--experiments in a paper for a literature class than in one for an economics class. But even this is not guaranteed. Some English professors imagine themselves as supersophisticated, scientifically based apostles of some wacko school of literary analysis and therefore insist on rigidly exact performances, whereas some economists are as loose as the proverbial goose. And some of the