Read and, if necessary, reread all of this information and the "working with the literature" page linked to it. Both this web page and the "working with the literature" page include important instructions for writing your essay. Not following instructions is one of the most common reasons why students lose marks.
Looking for literature references before the internet. ("The Jerusalem Library," fresco. Rome, The Vatican Museum. Photo I. Kalmar.)
The purpose of the essay requirement is to allow you to creatively and critically explore in some more depth than what was possible in class, a specific issue that falls within the scope of the course.
You are free to suggest a topic of your own and are encouraged to do so. It should be a topic that falls within one of the areas discussed in class. You must email your topic with at least one literature reference by the deadline stated on the seminar schedule. Your literature references must be formated correctly as discussed on the "working with the literature" page.
Do not necessarily settle on the first idea that comes to mind. You will only know what to write on once you've found literature that you can work with. Therefore, set time aside to search the literature and to come up with an appropriate title for this essay, before you submit your topic. For this course, you may want to make sure that there is sufficient literature online, which you can reach through the U of T Library site. Otherwise, you may find titles in the Berlin libraries, as instructed in class.
You may be asked by the professor to revise your topic. You may not write on a different topic without the professor's approval.
Write the essay according to the requirements listed on this web page or linked to it.
When you're done, follow the instructions on how to submit your essay. Electronic submission only is required. Give yourself plenty of lead time: technical difficulties with uploading your essay will not be accepted as a reason for being late!
Your essay may not exceed 2,000 words (not including the reference list). If you exceed this limit, you may be penalized up to 15%. There is no penalty for your essay being shorter than this, though below 1,200 words it might not be substantial enough. Students who think that markers appreciate reading longer papers are severely mistaken. Worse still, padding your essay may lower its quality. The rule is: if you can say the same things more briefly, do so. Or, in Ernest Hemingway’s words (when he was asked about the secret of good writing), “cut out the junk.” It makes absolutely no sense to add material simply to get your paper up to the length limit.
You must use at least three scholarly journal articles, or chapters in edited books, in your essay related to your overall approach or analysis. (For this purpose, an "edited book" is one to which several different authors have contributed chapters.) It is expected that you will carefully search for the right, closely relevant articles and that you will read them. In addition, you will want to use additional literature to support specific facts or minor points. It is not necessary that you read all of this additional literature carefully, but do go to the sources themselves rather than to summaries by others, which may be inaccurate. Read enough to be sure that you are not misrepresenting the author. When referring to specific passages in your sources, indicate the page numbers where the information that you are referring to is found.
Very important question! Get the answer from the "working with the literature" page.
If you do not follow this method, a penalty of up to 10% applies.
Direct quotes (that is, passages taken from somewhere else and placed in your essay in quotation marks) may not be used in this essay, except as follows:
1) Pithy expressions that sum up better than you can what they refer to. These must not be longer than one sentence.
2) Text that you are analyzing. You discuss the words of the author of the quote rather than his or her ideas. (This does not let you use a quote without you discussing it.)
Even if you use quotes according to the above guidelines, they should only take up a very small part of your essay. We need you to write your own essay using your own words!
Avoid these things and instantly sound more convincing as an academic writer:
Late essays will be penalized at a rate of 3% of the assignment grade per day (including Saturdays and Sundays).
Notwithstanding the above, essays will not be accepted beyond the seventh day after the due date; such assignments will receive a 0.
Only in exceptional circumstances, and with supporting documentation (as required by course policy ), will extensions be granted and a full or partial waiver of the late penalty be considered, for either the essay proposal or the essay.
Your work will be evaluated for your ability to fulfil the assignment requirements for choice and use of sources, organize your thoughts, argue critically and creatively, and write concisely and correctly.
This course follows the grading statement found in the Arts and Science calendar: see the webpage Arts and Science Statement on What Grades Mean.
A. It depends. You may also choose to present an essay rich in factual information and little analysis. But normally, there will be a point of view you wish to support, in "conversation" with the literature. You need not state your thesis as such; it may be just implied. But most of the time it is a good practice to state it somewhere in your first or second paragraph; usually at the end of the first.
As an example, use scholarly papers you have read. Some use headings and subheadings. Study how they do that. Will it help your paper to do the same?
As an example, use scholarly papers you have read. Some use "I." Do you like the way they do that? Then try to do it that way yourself in your paper. Note that academic writers often use "I," but rarely do so to express personal opinion without independent supporting evidence.
Q. How do I get back my essay?
Once your essay is marked, you will see your mark in the Grade Center on Blackboard. You will be emailed your essay, with the professor's comments, to the email address that is linked to ROSI and Blackboard.
Q. Will you please regrade my essay?
If you wish to dispute the mark you receive on a writing assignment, then you must contact your professor via e-mail with a detailed list of ACADEMIC/SCHOLASTIC reasons for why you feel an adjustment is in order. If your professor feels your concerns are justified, then a meeting will be arranged to discuss the issue. As per Faculty regulations, you must submit your written request no later than 30 days after it has been announced that your assignment is ready to be picked up.
Q. I really need your understanding. Will you please give me a better mark?
To avoid embarrassment and disappointment, please do not approach the professor with a request for improving your mark because you tried hard, or for any personal reason at all. To satisfy such a request would be unfair to other students who may not come forward with their own difficulties. Note also that marks at the University of Toronto can be awarded only on merit.