Beer Paper

Due as HARD COPY in class on Monday 01 Oct

Ogle Paper: Beer as High Tech

In the late 19th century beer was the quintessential high-tech industry. By How did innovations in that era transform the structure of the industry? Why?

Structure: This is not a research paper; your primary and likely only source is the Ogle’s history of the US industry. Note below that I emphasize the first and last paragraphs.

  • You should clearly state your topic in the first paragraph, ideally the first sentence, and if not then in the last sentence.
  • Your conclusion should not summarize the paper. Your professors may be absent-minded, but they will surely remember what you said all of 4 or 5 pages earlier. A summary isn’t a waste of space, it detracts from the paper. Instead you need to draw conclusions. Examples:
  • This paper analyzed xxx. However, I believe that yyyy had a much bigger impact. …
  • Here I focused on the impact of AAA on BBB. The book hints at two other effects, CCC and DDD. However, it fails to provide an analytic framework. …
  • Beer seemed to respond to technology in way kkk. How general is that? In industry mmm today there seems to be no such response. But nnnn does seem to work that way. So it’s not clear how general the beer case is.

Use the Williams Communication Center!

  • Length: as needed to make your argument. Think in terms of paragraphs, not pages and certainly not word count. Your first paragraph may be all you need for your introduction. Another 2 paragraphs should indicate your analytic framework, how you will approach the issue, and what you will not do. You then need 3 paragraphs (and perhaps as many as 5 paragraphs) developing your argument. Then comes your conclusion, which might be 2 paragraphs. That comes to 1 + 2 + 3 + 2 = 8 paragraphs. You may be able to get by with less, but you shouldn’t need more than 10 paragraphs.
  • Prose and format: readable font and margins, lean prose – don’t use passive prose. Writing in first person helps. Avoid indefinite modifiers: “a few” “some” “often” diminish the impact of your prose. If you delete such terms, you still have a proper sentence. And is the reader misled? – generally the context makes the approximate magnitude clear.
  • Sweat the first paragraph. If you stumble on page 4, your reader is both hooked and has gotten through what you want to say. If you stumble in the first paragraph, your paper will never come across as good.
  • Have someone edit your paper – again, think the CommCenter, or if you have nowhere else to go, your mom. However, unlike moms, the CommCenter does not suffer foolish prose.

Please submit a hard copy at the start of class on Monday, October 1st.

Style for citations: use an inline citation “Ogle (2006, p xxx)”, never include the title in the text of your paper. After the first cite simply put the relevant page number in parentheses: “(yy)”. Bib format is:


Ogle, Maureen (2006). Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Books.