Each student will write two researched literary analysis papers dealing with some aspect of our class readings. Papers will be approximately 7 pages (1750 words) long and include at least 3 secondary sources. Correct MLA style is expected. Papers may analyze issues such as theme, characterization, or genre; papers may consider the theoretical, cultural or historical context of the work. Comparative papers are welcome, as are interdisciplinary papers which seek to approach the text using ideas from other disciplines, such as business, history, religion, or psychology. Papers may not be primarily biographical, nor should they dwell overmuch on summary.
Appendix A: Some useful vocabulary
Here are some common transitional devices, thanks to our friends at the Purdue OWL. Use them to show the relationships between your ideas. (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/574/02/)
and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what’s more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)
whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison, where, compared to, up against, balanced against, vis a vis, but, although, conversely, meanwhile, after all, in contrast, although this may be true
because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is
To Show Exception:
yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of, despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes
To Show Time:
immediately, thereafter, soon, after a few hours, finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first (second, etc.), next, and then
in brief, as I have said, as I have noted, as has been noted
definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation
To Show Sequence:
first, second, third, and so forth. A, B, C, and so forth. next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore, hence, next, and then, soon
To Give an Example:
for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration, to illustrate
To Summarize or Conclude:
in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as I have shown, as I have said, hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result, consequently, on the whole
Appendix B: Some friendly advice for college success
This is from Robin Abrahams, the Advice Columnist for the Boston Globe. She makes some good points that you would do well to keep in mind throughout college. (http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/missconduct/2008/09/advice_for_stud.html)
1. Don’t ask what the professor “wants” in regard to an assignment.
You know what we want? We want you to be interested enough, and educated enough by the time you come to us, that you could just read the kinds of things we do and have a good discussion with us about it, and we could critique each others’ writing and we could learn from you as you do from us, and no grading would be involved. Unfortunately, you’re not there yet; people don’t usually get to that point until graduate school, if then. So we have to assign papers and tests and other exercises. But we’re not assigning them for our benefit, but for yours. It’s not like a sweatshop where every page the student writes, the professor makes five cents profit. Acting as though you are doing your assignments for the teachers is sure to drive them batty. (Especially because everyone hates grading; as the saying goes, I teach for free, they pay me to grade.)
2. Figure out what you are supposed to learn/prove you’ve learned from each assignment. This is related to point 1. Professors design assignments with particular learning objectives in mind. Sometimes, they’ll come right out and say what this objective is, but often they forget to do that. So you have to figure it out (or figure out some way of asking, “What am I supposed to get out of this?” that sounds sincere, not confrontational and snotty). Maybe you are supposed to get practice with a certain style of writing, or show that you understand a particular concept, or apply knowledge you’ve learned in class. Figure out what the learning objective is and meet that objective, and you won’t have to worry about grades.
3. Required page lengths are a prediction. Being told to write a “five-page paper” drove me crazy in college, and then I became a professor and discovered that my students didn’t really know what that meant any more than I did at their age. So let me decode it for you. An X-page paper doesn’t mean that the teacher personally desires to read X pages of your thoughts about mitosis or Kierkegaard or cognitive development, or even that they think that’s how much you have to write in order to learn. It’s less of a requirement than it is a prediction. When a teacher assigns a page length, it’s because they know that given your depth of knowledge about the topic, and the specific requirements of the paper (research write-up, critique, compare & contrast, personal response), that’s about how much you’re going to have to say that is worthwhile. Shorter, and you’re probably not engaging with the material deeply enough; longer, and you’re probably not writing tightly enough. Every now and then, if a student would get too wrapped around the axle about the page length thing, I would say to them, “Forget the page length. Just write the paper according to the rest of the instructions, and write as well as you can.” Invariably, they’d be within a page of the original length I’d specified.
4. Be fun to read. If you get any kind of choice about your papers, pick topics that are unusual. If you’re taking a developmental psychology course, I can tell you right now, do not write a paper on the effects of media violence on children. Why? Because a third of your fellow classmates are writing that exact same paper. This means, for one thing, that you are boring the teacher. It also means that your paper will be compared to aaaallll those other papers on the effects of media violence on children, and chances are good that some of the other students in your class are going to be better than you. If they’re not, that’s still not good news for you–it means that, in the teacher’s mind, all the papers on the E.O.M.V.O.C. are an undifferentiated mediocre mess. Write about something original and different, that will capture the teacher’s attention. (This is especially crucial in big classes.) If it helps to pretend you’re in a reality show–“America’s Next Top Student” or “Who Wants a 3.5 GPA” or whatever–do it.
5. Make the class better because you’re in it. No, that’s not a euphemistic way of saying “Suck up to the teacher.” If I meant “suck up to the teacher,” I would have just written “suck up to the teacher.” I mean, ask yourself, am I contributing thought-provoking comments, asking questions that other students are afraid to, creating an atmosphere of cooperative learning, bringing insights from my own unique life experience and skills? If you aren’t, why on earth aren’t you? Every effort you’re involved in, from a family reunion to a temp job to a class to a volleyball league, should be better because you’re there. Check out this oldie-but-goodie Fast Company article on “Brand You.” What’s your brand? What do you bring to the table? Start thinking this way now and by the time you make it to the job market, you’ll be so ahead of your peers it won’t even be funny.
6. Dare to fail. Okay, not to fail the entire class–that would be bad. But you know how teachers always say, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question?” They’re lying. But ask the stupid questions anyway. For one thing, you don’t yet know enough to even know what questions are stupid and which ones aren’t, so stop trying to second-guess yourself. For another, either half the class wants to ask the same question you just did, in which case you’re doing everyone a favor, or else the question you’ve asked has never occurred to anyone before, in which case–dang! I mean, that’s how knowledge happens. I know a lot of scientists, and do you know who scientists love and fear being interviewed by more than anyone else in the world? Not reporters. Not other scientists.
Little kids, that’s who. Because little kids don’t yet know the rules of what questions are out-of-bounds and which ones aren’t. They’re not afraid to ask the big questions, or the really little ones. Which makes them unpredictable and fun, because in answering their questions, the scientists have to re-engage their discipline in a whole new way.
Take chances, make a few mistakes. That’s how you learn. Of course, if your teacher is a nasty bully–and of course there are some–then keep your head down and your ego safe. But if the class is a good one, and the teacher really wants you to learn, there’s nothing that will make them happier than knowing you’ve got the guts to fall on your face once in a while in the headlong pursuit of wisdom. And they won’t penalize you for it.
Appendix C: Avoiding plagiarism
Below is some general advice on avoiding plagiarism from the helpful folks at the Purdue OWL. (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/01/).
Research-based writing in American institutions, both educational and corporate, is filled with rules that writers, particularly beginners, aren’t aware of or don’t know how to follow. Many of these rules have to do with research and proper citation. Gaining a familiarity of these rules, however, is critically important, as inadvertent mistakes can lead to charges of plagiarism, which is the uncredited use (both intentional and unintentional) of somebody else’s words or ideas.
While some cultures may not insist so heavily on documenting sources of words, ideas, images, sounds, etc., American culture does. A charge of plagiarism can have severe consequences, including expulsion from a university or loss of a job, not to mention a writer’s loss of credibility and professional standing. This resource, which does not reflect any official university policy, is designed to help you develop strategies for knowing how to avoid accidental plagiarism.
Is It Plagiarism Yet?
There are some actions that can almost unquestionably be labeled plagiarism. Some of these include buying, stealing, or borrowing a paper (including, of course, copying an entire paper or article from the Web); hiring someone to write your paper for you; and copying large sections of text from a source without quotation marks or proper citation.
? Let?s look at some strategies for avoiding even suspicion of plagiarism in the first place
When Do We Give Credit?
The key to avoiding plagiarism is to make sure you give credit where it is due. This may be credit for something somebody said, wrote, emailed, drew, or implied. Many professional organizations, including the Modern Language Association and the American Psychological Association, have lengthy guidelines for citing sources. However, students are often so busy trying to learn the rules of MLA format and style or APA format and style that they sometimes forget exactly what needs to be credited. Here, then, is a brief list of what needs to be credited or documented:
? Words or ideas presented in a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium
? Information you gain through interviewing or conversing with another person, face to face, over the phone, or in writing
? When you copy the exact words or a unique phrase
? When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, pictures, or other visual materials
? When you reuse or repost any electronically-available media, including images, audio, video, or other media
Bottom line, document any words, ideas, or other productions that originate somewhere outside of you.
There are, of course, certain things that do not need documentation or credit, including:
? Writing your own lived experiences, your own observations and insights, your own thoughts, and your own conclusions about a subject
? When you are writing up your own results obtained through lab or field experiments
? When you use your own artwork, digital photographs, video, audio, etc.
? When you are using “common knowledge,” things like folklore, common sense observations, myths, urban legends, and historical events (but not historical documents)
? When you are using generally-accepted facts, e.g., pollution is bad for the environment, including facts that are accepted within particular discourse communities, e.g., in the field of composition studies, “writing is a process” is a generally-accepted fact.
Deciding if Something is “Common Knowledge”
Generally speaking, you can regard something as common knowledge if you find the same information undocumented in at least five credible sources. Additionally, it might be common knowledge if you think the information you’re presenting is something your readers will already know, or something that a person could easily find in general reference sources. But when in doubt, cite; if the citation turns out to be unnecessary, your teacher or editor will tell you.
Best Practices for Research and Drafting
Reading and Note-Taking
? In your notes, always mark someone else’s words with a big Q, for quote, or use big quotation marks
? Indicate in your notes which ideas are taken from sources with a big S, and which are your own insights (ME)
? When information comes from sources, record relevant documentation in your notes (book and article titles; URLs on the Web)
Interviewing and Conversing
? Take lots of thorough notes; if you have any of your own thoughts as you’re interviewing, mark them clearly
? If your subject will allow you to record the conversation or interview (and you have proper clearance to do so through an Institutional Review Board, or IRB), place your recording device in an optimal location between you and the speaker so you can hear clearly when you review the recordings. Test your equipment, and bring plenty of backup batteries and media.
? If you’re interviewing via email, retain copies of the interview subject’s emails as well as the ones you send in reply
? Make any additional, clarifying notes immediately after the interview has concluded
Writing Paraphrases or Summaries
? Use a statement that credits the source somewhere in the paraphrase or summary, e.g., According to Jonathan Kozol, ….
? If you’re having trouble summarizing, try writing your paraphrase or summary of a text without looking at the original, relying only on your memory and notes
? Check your paraphrase or summary against the original text; correct any errors in content accuracy, and be sure to use quotation marks to set off any exact phrases from the original text
? Check your paraphrase or summary against sentence and paragraph structure, as copying those is also considered plagiarism.
? Put quotation marks around any unique words or phrases that you cannot or do not want to change, e.g., “savage inequalities” exist throughout our educational system (Kozol).
Writing Direct Quotations
? Keep the source author’s name in the same sentence as the quote
? Mark the quote with quotation marks, or set it off from your text in its own block, per the style guide your paper follows
? Quote no more material than is necessary; if a short phrase from a source will suffice, don’t quote an entire paragraph
? To shorten quotes by removing extra information, use ellipsis points (…) to indicate omitted text, keeping in mind that:
? Three ellipsis points indicates an in-sentence ellipsis, and four points for an ellipsis between two sentences
? To give context to a quote or otherwise add wording to it, place added words in brackets, ; be careful not to editorialize or make any additions that skew the original meaning of the quote?do that in your main text, e.g.,
? OK: Kozol claims there are “savage inequalities” in our educational system, which is obvious.
? WRONG: Kozol claims there are “[obvious] savage inequalities” in our educational system.
? Use quotes that will have the most rhetorical, argumentative impact in your paper; too many direct quotes from sources may weaken your credibility, as though you have nothing to say yourself, and will certainly interfere with your style
Writing About Another’s Ideas
? Note the name of the idea’s originator in the sentence or throughout a paragraph about the idea
? Use parenthetical citations, footnotes, or endnotes to refer readers to additional sources about the idea, as necessary
? Be sure to use quotation marks around key phrases or words that the idea’s originator used to describe the idea
Maintaining Drafts of Your Paper
Sometimes innocent, hard-working students are accused of plagiarism because a dishonest student steals their work. This can happen in all kinds of ways, from a roommate copying files off of your computer, to someone finding files on a disk or pen drive left in a computer lab. Here are some practices to keep your own intellectual property safe:
? Do not save your paper in the same file over and over again; use a numbering system and the Save As… function. E.g., you might have research_paper001.doc, research_paper002.doc, research_paper003.doc as you progress. Do the same thing for any HTML files you’re writing for the Web. Having multiple draft versions may help prove that the work is yours (assuming you are being ethical in how you cite ideas in your work!).
? Maintain copies of your drafts in numerous media, and different secure locations when possible; don’t just rely on your hard drive or pen drive.
? Password-protect your computer; if you have to leave a computer lab for a quick bathroom break, hold down the Windows key and L to lock your computer without logging out.
? Password-protect your files; this is possible in all sorts of programs, from Adobe Acrobat to Microsoft word (just be sure not to forget the password!)
Revising, Proofreading, and Finalizing Your Paper
? Proofread and cross-check with your notes and sources to make sure that anything coming from an outside source is acknowledged in some combination of the following ways:
? In-text citation, otherwise known as parenthetical citation
? Footnotes or endnotes
? Bibliography, References, or Works Cited pages
? Quotation marks around short quotes; longer quotes set off by themselves, as prescribed by a research and citation style guide
? Indirect quotations: citing a source that cites another source
? If you have any questions about citation, ask your instructor well in advance of your paper’s due date, so if you have to make any adjustments to your citations, you have the time to do them well.
Appendix D: Grading Rubric
Grammar and Usage: 25
Are there many Dirty Dozen errors? Are the sentences clear and expressive? Is the writer?s voice apparent, or at least developing? Are there many word choice errors, malapropisms, or awkward phrases? Is the paper representative of formal academic writing or of casual speech?
Structure and MLA: 25
Is there a clear thesis statement? Are the paragraphs, including the introduction and conclusion, well-developed and well-structured? Is there a clear reason why the paragraphs are arranged as they are, or is there a disturbing randomness to this argument? Does the writer observe the conventions of MLA usage in citations and the Works Cited page? Are quotations and other uses of reference material properly introduced, cited, and discussed?
Does the writer demonstrate a thorough comprehension of the subject? Do they omit major points, or do they cover the essential elements of the issue? Does the writer manage competing points of view fairly? Does the writer show good judgment in the way in which sources are assessed and used? Do they use the best possible evidence? Is there a clear relationship between each piece of evidence and the paper?s claim? Is the evidence arranged persuasively?
“A” Grade Please, be detailed as possible, but not too detailed. Make at undergraduate level so not to suspect plagarism.
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