Students will be required to submit a 6-8 page double-spaced paper comparing any book, article, or media outside of the class with any of the assigned readings on May 6. Papers must be submitted in hard copy in class. Students will present their papers during the final two weeks of the semester before the final exam. The topic of this paper is open to student’s interpretation of readings and will be graded on the strength of analytical comparison of readings. It is not simply a summary of readings, but the analysis should connect the readings in some form of comparison or contrast. This will be discussed further in class. Guidelines for Writing Papers
Papers will be evaluated on the basis of the care with which they are written in addition to the quality of their analysis and research. Please keep the following guidelines in mind:
1. Write your papers from your reading notes not your lecture notes. If there is nothing in your paper but what you heard and wrote down in class, it will show. Lectures for this course will inevitably be less vivid and clear than the readings. Think seriously about the implications of whatever question you are trying to answer.
2. Don’t go to the opposite extreme and try to copy or paraphrase your paper right out of the readings. A good paper should be written largely in your own words, supplemented where appropriate with a few well-chosen quotations from or references to relevant portions of the text.
3. Make sure that your paper has something from you as well as something from the readings. I am not looking for great leaps of imagination, or a paper filled with unsubstantiated opinion. Just try to have a unique point to make, or a unique set of examples to discuss. Select your own favorite arguments or pieces of evidence from the many that are offered in a given reading, make you own selection of points to compare and contrast, etc.
4. As you do each reading, ask yourself how it relates to other readings and topics. As you spot connections, start keeping a file of notes on each theme. Then after several units have been completed, all you will need to do to get ready to write your paper is to sort through your thickest or most interesting pile of notes.
5. You do not compare two readings by presenting a summary of one reading followed by a summary of the other. Identify the principal similarities and/or differences that you see between the two readings at the start of your paper, and then devote the rest of the paper to documenting them. Don’t wait until the final page of your paper to start making comparative statements.
6. Since papers are supposed to reflect the readings, they should include proper documentation of their sources. All quotations and other references to a source should be accompanied
by accurate page references. Make sure that whatever quotes you use are accurate
GENERAL WRITING GUIDELINES
• Paragraphs: Each paragraph should be organized. It can be
o General to particular: a topic sentence which is general followed by specific details to support the topic sentence
o Particular to general: a topic sentence, followed by particulars leading up to a general statement
o Get rid of excess words
o Example: instead of “beginning to learn” say “learning”
• Avoid trite expressions and slang
o Trite expression examples: off the wall, crying out for, coast to coast, hits home
o Slang examples: sort of, cops, kids, guys
o Avoid extreme language: Examples: fabulous, horrible, excruciating, unbelievable
• Avoid absolutes
o Don’t use: all, never, every, absolutely, always, prove
o Do use: seem to, appear to, tendency, tend, suggests
o Proofread carefully!
o Always use complete sentences
o When you have a list of things, all must be in the same form (i.e. plural, singular, adjective, adverb, present tense, past tense)
o Noun form and verb form in the same sentence must match
o Be consistent in what verb tense you use.
• No sexist language. When referring to people (as opposed to men or women) use he/she, s/he, they, individuals
• No contractions
• Spell out numbers ten and lower
o Punctuation always inside quotation marks, except for semicolons
o Transitional word as the first word in a sentence is followed by a comma
o Transitional word in the middle of sentence is preceded by a semicolon and followed by a comma
o Double space after periods
o No single quotation marks
• Avoiding Plagiarism:
o Directly quoting the words of others without using quotation marks or indented format to identify the source
o Using altered wording, materials or ideas of others without properly identifying the source
o Representing someone else’s ideas as your own