Collateral Damage: Humanitarian Assistance as a Cause of Conflict Assignment | Top Essay Writing

 

Political Science 208Y5Y:

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Writing Assignment

 

 

 

The following material will guide you through the writing assignments.  Although not required, students are also encouraged to contact the instructorto discuss their assignment.  While I will not do your work for you, I can get you pointed in the right direction.

 

 

 

Assignment Due Date

 

 

 

See course outline for details regarding the due date and late penalties.

 

 

 

Handing in Your Assignment

 

 

 

See course outline for details regarding the submission of your assignment.

 

 

 

The Assignment

 

 

 

You must pick one of the options listed in the section below and prepare an analytical article critique.An analytical article critique is a kind of “mini-book review” except that it focuses on a substantial and challenging journal article instead of a book.

 

The bulk of your analytical article critique must consist of a critical analysis of the chosen option and notsimply consist of asummary of the article.  Any background/summary section in your paper (if you deem one necessary) should be no more than one to two pages for an assignment of this length.  Assignments that mainly summarize the issue and which contain little in the way of critical analysis will not receive a strong grade.

 

Students may choose to critically analyze a variety of themes raised in their chosen article, but time and page constraints will typically limit you to discussing perhaps three or (perhaps) four main themes.  If you only cover one or two, you are probably not covering a sufficient range of themes and if you try to cover much more than three or four main themes are probably not going to be able to into those themes in any sort of meaningful way.

 

You should look at all sides of the major themes your article addresses.  For example, if the article you are analyzing argues economic and political sanctions placed on Syriawill have a negative impact on relations between the West and Syria’s ally Russia, you would want to look at evidence that supports the argument that relations will deteriorate as well as evidence that refutes this position before you draw your conclusions (i.e., what does the preponderance of evidence suggest).  In other words, your paper is kind of like a “debate” on the assigned issue and your job is to serve as “judge.”

 

As per Department of Political Science practice, a writing assignment for this type of course should run approximately 2,500 to 3,500 words in length (excluding bibliography).  Significant deviations from this standard may result in a lower grade (i.e., the equivalent of one or two pages over/under is ok, but more than that is not).

 

Finally, library research will be a necessary component of these papers.  As a rough guideline, students should expect to incorporate a minimum of half a dozen good quality academic journal articles and perhaps one or two relevant books or book chapters into their analysis.  This number is, obviously, a very, very rough approximation as the actual number you should employ depends much more on the quality of the sources you employ as opposed to just the number of sources (i.e., it is not merely a quantitative issue).  In other words, four high quality, relevant sources are better than fifteen tangentially relevant ones.  Finally, students may also use material from various websites as part of their research, but should do so with caution.

 

 

 

Options

 

 

 

Each student will prepare a research essay on one of following topics.  You must choose an option from this list.  Here are your choices:

 

Option 1

James M. Action, “Escalation through Entanglement: How the Vulnerability of Command-and-Control Systems Raises the Risks of an Inadvertent Nuclear War,” International Security, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Summer 2018), pp. 56-99.

 

Option 2

Ivan Arreguín-Toft, “How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict,” International Security, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Summer 2001), pp. 93-128.

 

Option 3

MålfridBraut-Hegghammer, “Revisiting Osirak: Preventative Attacks and Nuclear Proliferation Risks,” International Security, Vol. 36, No. 2 (Summer 2011), pp. 101-132.

 

Option 4

Valerie M. Hudson and Hilary Matfess, “In Plain Sight: The Neglected Linkage between Brideprice and Violent Conflict,” International Security, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Summer 2017), pp. 7-40.

 

Option 5

  1. Paul Kapur, “Inadia and Pakistan’s Unstable Peace: Why Nuclear South Asia is Not Like Cold War Europe,”International Security, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Fall 2005), pp. 127-152.

 

Option 6

Jack S. Levy and William R. Thompson, “Balancing on Land and at Sea: Do States Ally against the Leading Global Power?” International Security, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Summer 2010), pp. 7-43.

 

Option 7

Sarah Kenyon Lischer, “Collateral Damage: Humanitarian Assistance as a Cause of Conflict,” International Security, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Summer 2003), pp. 79-109.

 

Option 8

Michael Mousseau, “The End of War: How a Robust Marketplace and Liberal Hegemony are Leading to Perpetual World Peace,” International Security, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Summer 2019), pp. 160-196.

 

 

 

Grading

 

 

 

Papers will be graded on the basis of the following three criteria:

  • First, papers will be marked on the coherence, complexity, clarity, and originality of your argument and the degree to which you demonstrate an understanding of the material.
  • Second, papers will be graded on the strength of your writing style (including grammar and spelling) and the degree to which you are capable of communicating your thoughts.
  • And third, you will be graded on how well you undertake the mechanics of scholarly writing at a university level (i.e., proper bibliographies and endnotes or footnotes).

 

The first criterion (your content and argument) will constitute seventy percent of your grade, the second criterion (writing style) will constitute twenty percent of your grade, and the third criterion (the documentation of your research) will constitute ten percent of your grade.  See the sample marking key (attached below) for more details.

 

 

 

Hints and Tips for Writing a Scholarly Paper

 

 

 

The Structure of Your Paper

 

The Title Page

This is not a high-school course, so (please) no duotangs, mini-binders, plastic covers, or similar kitsch.  A simple, separate, title page is all that are required to give your paper a professional, academic look.  Your title page should include your name and student number, the title of your paper (indicating what topic you are addressing), and the course number.

 

Organizing Your Paper

There is no one, perfect way to organize your essay, but here are some ideas that usually work.  The sections of a typical essay are as follows:

 

Introduction

  • Usually 2 or 3 paragraphs long. The first paragraph will typically be a (somewhat) flowery, very general introduction to the topic.  The idea is to wet the reader’s appetite or catch their attention with some intriguing comments related to your topic (e.g., why your chosen topic is an interesting or important issue to be studied).
  • In the second paragraph, your introduction will invariably present your main purpose or idea (i.e., the “thesis”). The thesis in the vast majority of cases will present two or more competing or contradictory ideas (e.g., “this paper will consider whether or not referendums enhance or inhibit democracy”).  Something like that.
  • Finally, your introduction will usually include a very brief outline of the main arguments you will be making. Remember, however, the emphasis here is on the word brief(i.e., one or two sentences describing each of the issues you will be raising in your paper).  For example, you may say something like: “Section one of this paper covers the history of the UN.  Section two will cover the argument that structural constraints such as the use of the veto inhibit the working of the UN.  Section three will cover G.F.W. Hegel’s argument that the UN is blessed with hidden political assets that enable it to bring world peace.  And, finally, Section four will include an overall assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of both arguments and conclude by arguing the UN can prevent wars.”  Of course your essay will say all of this in a much more exciting and creative way!  [Note: Some authors prefer to combine the second and third short paragraphs of the introduction together.  That is perfectly fine.]

 

Background and History

Many essays will include a section in which the background and/or history of the topic will be discussed.  For example, if you are writing about electoral reform in Canada, you might talk a little bit about previous electoral reform efforts (or whatever).

 

Again, however, the key is to be brief.  Many students will have a tendency to get carried away with this section of their paper.  But remember, this is considered to be descriptive material and should not comprise more than one-third or so of your total paper — and preferably less (i.e., somewhere around 20% of the paper is ideal).

 

 

The Actual Arguments and Ideas

Now we come to the meat of your paper (i.e., the sections where you present the various competing and contrasting ideas you have researched).There are many different ways to organize these sections — all depending on personal taste.  You could, for example, discuss all aspects of one side of your argument (i.e., all the “pro” arguments) and in the next section cover all of the contrasting views (i.e., all the “con” arguments).  Alternatively (and this is usually more interesting), you can compare and contrast the two sides of the argument side-by-side and point-by-point.  It makes no difference.  Use whatever system you prefer.

 

Conclusion and/or Summary

Now we come to the final section of the typical paper: the conclusion or summary.  In the concluding section, you will briefly review the conflicting or contrasting opinions and ideas you have previously discussed and determine which arguments are stronger (e.g., “Yes, the UN can prevent wars” or “No it cannot”).

 

Now, there may be a wide variation in the way you present your findings.  Some people like to present their conclusions as they arise in the discussion.  In this case, most of your conclusions will already be apparent to the reader because they were presented in the previous sections.  In this case, your concluding section will be more like a very brief summary of the main arguments (i.e., sort of like the introduction in reverse).  Other people like to wait until the final section and then group all of their analysis together.  That’s fine too.  In this case, the concluding section will be somewhat longer and detailed.  It is simply a matter of personal preference.

 

 

***

 

Documenting Your Research

 

Formatting Your Footnote/Endnote and Bibliographic References

It is vitally important for academics and other scholars to acknowledge their research.  Failure to do so (i.e., plagiarism) is a very, very serious academic offense and could result in a variety of penalties including the student being expelled from the university.

 

Note that you must use the formatting style outlined in this handout for your footnotes and bibliography.  Although it is very similar to the “Chicago” formatting style, there are some differences.  Follow the instructions provided in this handout.Representative examples of this style are included in this handout.

 

You may not use the “sociological” format (i.e., the system wherein references are placed in the text within parentheses).  These examples in this handout will not cover 100% of the situations you can expect to face, but they should cover the most common ones.  If in doubt, consult the instructor.

 

When do I need a Footnote/Endnote?

In general terms, consider the following:

  • Direct/ExactQuote — Yes (pretty clear cut).
  • Close Paraphrase — Yes. When you follow what someone else wrote and only change a small number of words, you definitely still need a footnote.
  • Basic Facts and Dates — For basic facts and data (e.g., the fact that WWII started in 1939 or that Charles de Gaulle was President of France between 1959 and 1969 or that 27 countries belong to the European Union) you generally do not need a reference. These kinds of facts are considered “common knowledge.”
  • And how do you know if something is common knowledge? This is where the “Rule of Three” comes in.  If you pick up three general books on your topic and they all relay the same information, it is a good bet that that information is common knowledge.  Harvard College has a very useful guide on the common knowledge exception.

http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k70847&pageid=icb.page342055

  • But if you are still unsure if a particular piece of information is common knowledge, you can always consult with the instructor and/or TAs.
  • Material Covered in Class — Generally,this falls under the “Common Knowledge” category (i.e., no footnote needed) for purposes of any essay written for that same course only, but students should go back to original sources whenever possible (especially where specific facts or data or analysis is presented or if the words of individual theorists or other experts are presented). For example, assume that in class the instructor talks about research that suggests ⅔ of all democracies with bicameral legislatures (i.e., legislatures with two parts) fail to consolidate their democracy within ten years.  If you wanted to use that information in your essay, you would want to go back to the original source rather than rely solely on what was covered in class.  For one thing, as a conscientious academic, you want to make sure that your professor hasnot made a mistake — or is making things up!  In short, when it comes to writing your paper, the lectures should be considered “background” material which helps you understand a topic in an overall fashion.  A warning, however, in that you certainly do not want to have your essay consist solely of the lectures parroted back to the instructor in typed format.

 

Footnote/EndnoteNumber Format

First, the footnote/endnote number appears as a superscript at the end of the sentence that includes the quotation in 99% of all cases and generally should not appear in the middle of your sentence.  WRONG: Churchill’s “Fight them on the Beaches”³ speech is well known.  CORRECT: Churchill’s “Fight them on the Beaches” speech is well known.³  In cases where a footnote/endnote is missing, the notation fn. will appear in the text.

 

Please note the order in which your punctuation appears with respect to a footnote/endnote.  In the case of Canadian standard English punctuation, the footnote/endnote number follows the punctuation and the quotation mark.  (British and American style practices sometime differ.)  WRONG: Hegel said: “Be a person and respect others as persons”.³  WRONG: Hegel said: “Be a person and respect others as persons”³.  CORRECT: Hegel said: “Be a person and respect others as persons.”³  In other words, you go: (i) period (or question mark or exclamation mark), (ii) closing quote mark, and (iii) footnote/endnote number.

 

Footnotes versus Endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes are virtually identical.  Footnotes are merely grouped at the bottom of each page while endnotes are grouped together on a separate page following the last page of text (albeit before the bibliography).  IMPORTANT: Endnotes are often confused with the bibliography or “works cited” list, but they are not the same things.  If you use endnotes, you still need to include a separate bibliography.

 

Footnote/Endnote Format

Note, again, that you must use the formatting style outlined in this handout for your footnotes and bibliography.And although it is based on the “Chicago” formatting style, follow the examples provided here (i.e., representative examples of this style are included in this handout).

 

You may not use the “sociological” format (i.e., systems like APA wherein references are places in the text within parentheses).  Note also that the Chicago Manual of Style also includes an in-text referencing variant, but you must use the “footnote” variant as indicated by the examples that follow.  These examples will not cover 100% of the situations you can expect to face, but they should cover the most common ones.  If in doubt, consult the instructor.

(i) A Simple Book

¹Andrew Konawalski, Canada’s Big Book of Knowledge (New York: Friendly Publishers, 1996), pp. 56-58.

 

Note how this entry’s main components (e.g., author, title, publication information, and pagination) are separated from one another by commas — except there is no comma in front of the parentheses ( ) enclosing the publication information.  Note also that for footnotes — only — the author’s name is not presented last name first.  Note the hanging indent (for visual clarity).  (The use of the hanging indent is optional.  Some writers prefer to leave a blank line after each footnote to separate them visually on the page.)  And finally, note how the title of the book is presented in BOLD plus ITALICS — together.  (Alternatively, you may underline — without italics or bold — the book title if you prefer a more retro-typewriter look!)

 

(ii) An Article in a Journal

¹Joan Wasniek, “My Cool Article on Canadian Politics,” Canadian Journal of Politics and Philosophy, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Fall 1980), p. 288.

 

Note how the title of the journal is presented using BOLD + ITALICS whereas the article title is presented between “ ” marks.  Note that you need to include the complete volume and issue number as well as the complete date and, of course, the page number.

 

(iii) Subsequent References by an Author Previously Cited in Full

² Wasniek, p. 300.

 

³ Konawalski, p. 60.

 

All you need is the last name of the author (or authors if more than one) and the page number.  Do not use Latin abbreviations (such as “op. cit.” or “ibid.”) as those forms are very much out of style and — more importantly — usually done incorrectly.

 

(iv) Subsequent References by an Author TwicePreviously Cited in Full

If you used more than one source from the same author, you would write a full reference for each the first time they are used and then you would include a portion of the title (i.e., just enough of the title to differentiate them) with each subsequent reference.

 

² Wasniek, Canada’s Big Important Book…, p. 45.

 

³ Wasniek, “My Cool Article…,” p. 445.

(v) A Book with a Translator

¹Ivan Ivanovsky, A History of Russia: 1917-1921, trans. Ronald Corey (Toronto: Abletown Publishing, 1925), pp. 3-4.

 

(vi) A Chapter in an Edited Book

¹John Smith, “Chapter Title,” in Title of Book, eds. C.R. Thompson and Wiona Williamson (Boston: International Publishing, 1966), pp. 6-12.

 

(vii) Missing Data

³J. Smith, The Origins of Politics (n.p.: n.p., n.d.), p. 12.

 

In this case, certain data is missing (as sometimes occurs in older documents): n.p. = no publisher and/or no place of publication while n.d. = no date of publication.

 

(viii) Internet Sources

¹ William Easterly and Tobias Pfutze, Where Does the Money Go?  Best and Worst Practices in Foreign Aid, Global Economy & Development Working Paper 21 (Washington: Brookings, 2008), p. 6.

< http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2008/06_foreign_aid_easterly.aspx>

 

You must include the full “http” number of the actual document — not the home page of the organization — the first time you cite a particular document.  Present the http number between <> marks.  If the http number is excessively long, you can put it one a separate line from the rest of the reference (otherwise your word processor will have difficulty coping).  For internet sources, include as much of the usual information as possible (e.g., author, publisher, date of publication, and so on).  Often this information is hidden in small print at the bottom of the web page or you might have to go to the site’s About Us” link to find it.  If, however, specific information is missing, describe the document as best as you can (e.g., this document had no formal title).  The http number is critical, but not sufficient in itself to constitute a proper footnote.

 

(ix) Internet or Electronic Document without Page Numbers

³ Lisa Smith, “Journalism in Canada,” Canadian Journal of Journalism, Vol. 2, No. 3 (August 1999), par. 16.

 

If an electronic document does not have page numbers, these can be added (i.e., refer to the page numbers you get when you printthe document) or — better yet — number the paragraphs to identify individual passages.

 

(x) Legal Cases

Legal citations normally employ a very complex, specialized format that is far beyond the scope of this essay guide.  For purposes of this course, use your best judgement if you cite any case law.

 

(xi) Miscellaneous

  • The notation p. = page and pp. = pages (pg. is not used for either)
  • By convention, the word “the” is usually omitted from the title of most journals (e.g., Globe and Mail not The Globe and Mail or Atlantic Monthly not The Atlantic Monthly). To confuse things even more, the reverse is usually the case for monographs/books (i.e., the article is retained).
  • Drop all references to “inc.” or “co.” or “ltd.” when referring to publishers
  • , opt cit. and other forms are usually done incorrectly and are very much out of style. Do not use them.

 

 

Bibliography Format

The bibliography includes a list of books that you quoted from as well as a list of books that contained background information or an overview of the topic, but from which you did not directly quote (i.e., books that helped shape your understanding of the topic).

 

(i) Book

Yaniszewski, Mark.  Answers to Everything.  London: Megalomania Publishers, 2012.

 

No page numbers are included because in this case you are referring to the entire book – not just the part from which you quoted.  Note how the author’s name is presented “last name first” and how periods — not commas — separate the main sections.  (Note differences from the footnote/endnote format.  They are NOT the same!)

 

(ii) Article or Book with Multiple Authors

Perlmutter, Amos and William M. LeoGrande.  “The Party in Uniform: Toward a Theory of Civil-Military Relations in Communist Political Systems.”  American Political Science Review, Vol. 82, No. 2 (September 1982), pp. 778-789.

 

Yaniszewski, Mark, Dick Beddoes, and Gump Worsley.  Correct Answers to Almost Everything.  London: Megalomania Publishers, 2009.

 

Note the hanging indent used for the second and subsequent lines.  Each separate bibliographic entry is single spaced and a blank line is left between them.  Note also how only the name of the first author of this article is presented “last name first” whereas subsequent authors are named in the normal fashion.  The same rules regarding the names of the authors would apply in the case of a book as well.

 

(iii) Chapter in an Edited Book

Latawski, Paul C.  “The Polish Military and Politics.”  Polish Politics: Edge of the Abyss.  Ed. Jack Bielasiak.  New York: Praeger Publishers, 1984.  Pp. 268-292.

 

Include the page range when separate authors write individual chapters in a collected work.  The same rule applies — albeit in a slightly varied format — in the case of articles found in a journal (see below).  Note also how the title of the book is presented with a combination of bold and italics, but the title of the chapter is not.

 

(iv) Journal Reference

Doyle, Michael W.  “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs.”  Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 12, No. 3 (June 1983), pp. 205-235.

 

Note how the journal title, the volume and issue number, the date, and the page range are all part of one component and are not separated by periods from one another.

 

(v) Subsequent Listing Same Author

—–. “Liberalism and World Politics.”  American Political Science Review, Vol. 80, No. 4 (December 1986), pp. 1151-1169.

 

Note how five dashes and a period substitute for the repeated author’s name (i.e., Doyle in this case).

 

(vi) Newspaper with No Individual Author

“Everything is Relative.”  Ottawa Citizen (January 18, 1992), p. B7.

 

(vii) Book with No Individual Author

The Military Balance.  London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1991.

 

Remember:   

  • Bibliography entries are not numbered
  • The notation p. (not pg.) = page and pp. = pages.
  • Drop all references to “inc.” or “co.” or “ltd.” when referring to publishers
  • , opt cit. and other forms are usually done incorrectly and are very much out of style. Do not use them.
  • Start the bibliography on a separate page.
  • Individual bibliographic references are single-spaced, employ a hanging indent for the second (or subsequent) lines of text, and are separated from each other by a blank line.
  • By convention, the word “the” is usually omitted from the title of most journals (e.g., Globe and Mail not The Globe and Mail or Atlantic Monthly not The Atlantic Monthly). To confuse things even more, this is usually not the case for monograph (i.e., book) titles where the article is retained.
  • In the bibliography, items without authors are listed alphabetically according to the first word of the title (not counting a, the, an, or similar articles).

 

***

 

Miscellany

 

Back-Up Your Files

There is nothing worse than losing a file after you have spent hours working on it, so regularly back-up your files.  A thumb drive works well but another good way to save your work is to periodically e-mail it to yourself.  Just attach your file to an e-mail called “Essay as of 4:00 pm” and the next one as “Essay as of 7:00 pm” — that sort of thing.  It is like saving your files to the “cloud” — except that it is completely free!

 

Page Numbers

Your essay should have page numbers.  The most common format involves placing the number for page one in the middle of the bottom of the first page while all subsequent page numbers are placed in the top right corner of the page.  Mark them in by hand if you are having difficulties with printer settings.  (Leaving page numbers off of an assignment will not fool the marker into thinking the paper is longer than it is!)

 

Spelling and Grammar

Spelling errors will generally be marked with sp. or they may be circled in the text.  Common notations for sentence structure errors are: awk (meaning awkward phrasing), run-on or RO (meaning a run-on sentence or paragraph), inc. (meaning incomplete sentence), ss (signifying some sort of sentence structure error), and cs (signifying a comma splice).

 

Paragraphs

It is quite common for students to have problems with their paragraph construction by making their paragraphs either too short or (more commonly) too long.  Obviously, a one sentence long paragraph is not a “paragraph” but is a “sentence!”  But what about the other end of the spectrum?  Typically, a paragraph should focus on one main idea within the context of your essay.  That means that a typical paragraph is approximately 4 to 8 sentences long.  This is a very, very rough guide and there will invariably be exceptions, but if you find that your paragraphs are often only 2 or 3 sentences long it probably means that you are not going into enough detail on that particular idea or point.  And if your paragraphs run above the typical range (e.g., paragraphs running for two, three, or even more pages in length), it almost invariably means that you have more than one main point or idea in that particular paragraph and you should divide that text into more than one paragraph.

 

Headings or Transitional Sentences

In addition to dividing your text into paragraphs, you will invariably also divide your text into different sections (e.g., background material, argument number one, argument number two, conclusions, and so on).  To smooth the transition between different sections, you have two options.  You can use “transitional sentences” if you want, but an even better option is to use “headings” to separate your main sections.

 

The main advantage of using headings is that they are much more efficient in indicating that one section of the paper is completed and another is about to start.  For example, this writing guide is employing headings and (occasional) sub-headings.  Just avoid getting carried away.  Not every paragraph requires a heading or subheading!  Use them to divide the main sections of your paper.

 

Headings also enable you to avoid having to write what are often very awkward and artificial sounding transitional sentences.  An awkward transitional sentence might look like the following: “Now that this paper has completed a discussion of the history of this topic, it will now shift to an analysis of its implications.”  That sort of thing.  And nobody wants to write – or read – that!

 

Use of the First Person

Avoid the first person (both singular and plural) in serious academic writing (e.g., do not use “I” or “we”).  Use a passive voice instead.  The person marking your paper knows that this entire effort represents your opinion so they do not need to be reminded.  WRONG: I will be describing two ideologies in this paper.  CORRECT: Two ideologies will be described in this paper.

 

Contractions

Do not use contractions (e.g., it’s, don’t, haven’t) in serious academic writing.  Remember, you want to be taken seriously.  Besides, you would be shocked at how often “it’s/its” are used incorrectly.

its = possessive form

it’s = contraction of “it is”

its’ = just plain wrong (i.e., this formulation does not exist)

 

Apostrophes

And speaking of apostrophes, in Canadian English omit the apostrophe when writing dates.  WRONG: The music of the 1970’s was cool.  CORRECT: The music of the 1970s was cool.

 

Prepositions

As an example of another common error, do not end sentences with a preposition (e.g., ending a sentence with the words such as: of, for, at, about, and to).  WRONG: It does not matter which political party they belong toCORRECT:  It makes no difference to which political party they belong.

 

Abbreviations

The abbreviation i.e. means “that is” while e.g. means “for example” and cf. means “in contrast to.”

 

Acronyms

As for acronyms, if you must use an acronym you usually must explain it in full the first time you mention it.  EXAMPLE: In this paper, the influence of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be analyzed.

 

The only exceptions are acronyms that are extraordinarily well known (e.g., UN, US, etc.).  In the case of these extremely well known acronyms, you need not always spell it out the first time you use it.

 

Note, also, that modern convention is to omit periods in most acronyms.  WRONG: The U.S. economy….  CORRECT: The US economy….  If nothing else, dropping the period avoids awkward punctuation issue at the end of sentences.  AWKWARD:  He travelled in the U.S..

 

Quotation Marks (Using ‘ ’ versus “ ”)

In Canadian standard grammar, single quotation marks (‘ ’) are pretty much only used when a quotation appears in the original text of something you are quoting (i.e., a quote within a quote).  Otherwise, double quotation marks (“ ”) are used.  Note the following quoted dialogue in a simulated essay.  CORRECT: In the second act of the play, Varalla can be seen to be an important character.  She says: “The only thing he could yell was ‘Look out.’  It was, unfortunately, too late for us to get out of the way.”  At all other times use double (” “) quotation marks.

 

This is also true in the case of words or phrases you may which to emphasize in the text.  You would always use double quotation marks (“ ”) to highlight certain words.  WRONG: She was not known as ‘the boss’ for nothing. CORRECT: She was not known as “the Boss” for nothing.

 

Of course in the case of words you wish to emphasize, you can avoid this confusion in its entirety if you italicize words.  ALTERNATIVE: She was not known as the boss for nothing.  Just try not to overuse this technique.  It is kind of like raising your voice.  Doing it once can be effective, but yelling all the time leads people to tune you out.

 

Changing Text in Quoted Material

When adding or changing words, verb tenses, or capitalization within quoted material to make it fit your own sentence structure, use square brackets [] and not parentheses ().  Consider the following example.  ORIGINAL TEXT: “Careful research on the effects of Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) equipment demonstrates up to a fourfold increase in fratricide rates over baseline data when wearing this equipment for long periods of time.”

 

In this first case, you want to convert the sentence to the past tense.  CORRECT: “Careful research on the effects of Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) equipment demonstrate[d] up to a fourfold increase in fratricide rates over baseline data when wearing this equipment for long periods of time.”

 

Now in this second example, you want to change that military jargon to something less onerous by changing the term “Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) equipment” to “protective clothing.”  CORRECT: “Careful research on the effects of [protective clothing] demonstrates up to a fourfold increase in fratricide rates over baseline data when wearing this equipment for long periods of time.”

 

In this third example (still using the original quote), you want to omit a few words.  Specifically, you feel the phrase “baseline data” is redundant.  CORRECT: “Careful research on the effects of Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) equipment demonstrates up to a fourfold increase in fratricide rates…when wearing this equipment for long periods of time.”

 

Finally, in this fourth case you have chosen to omit the first word(s) of the sentence.  You do not use an ellipse at the start of a sentence.  CORRECT: “[R]esearch on the effects of Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) equipment demonstrates up to a fourfold increase in fratricide rates over baseline data when wearing this equipment for long periods of time.”  In this case, the fact that you had to change the “r” in research to a capital in square brackets already indicates to the reader that you have dropped text preceding the word research.

 

Long Quotes

Long quotations (typically 50+ words) are indented about 1/2 inch at both ends, single-spaced, and do not use quotation marks.  An example would look as follows:

 

The solutions and preventive measures required to reduce or eliminate incidents of fratricide on future battlefields are problematic.  Given the clear preponderance of direct human error as the source of most fratricide incidents, it is manifest that preventative measures must be directed toward the correction or improvement of human frailties, and these, as always, are the factors least amenable to correction.³

 

The rest of your essay would then continue as presented here (i.e., double-spaced and all the way to both regular margins).  Note that you should never end a paragraph with a long quote.  On the contrary, you always want to conclude a paragraph with your own words.  Consequently, you never indent the first line of text following a long quotation.  Such indentations indicate you either (i) ended the previous paragraph with a long quote (which is wrong) or (ii) you needlessly indented a sentence (which is also wrong).

 

Jargon

Be careful about the way you throw around terminology and jargon.  As political scientists, we all may as well get used to using these words their proper context.  For example, a word like “Fascist” has very specific historical and ideological connotations and does not simply refer to anyone you dislike!

 

Last…But Not Least

Finally, what if you want to appeal your grade?.  First, read the comments written on your paper or the attached marking sheet.  There is nothing more annoying than having someone skip over an hour’s worth of comments/notations.  For this reason, appeals will generally not be discussed on the day the assignment is returned (i.e., come and talk to the instructor and/or TA in the following days).

 

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when considering an appeal.  First, although I consider myself to be a nice guy, I do not care if you think you deserve a higher mark because “you are trying to get into law school” and “you have to get an ‘A’” or whatever.  (I’ve actually had this happen — more often than I care to think!)  Your paper will be marked solely on its merits.  Second, the claim “you have never had such a low mark before” will not cut it either as past performance is no guarantee of future performance.  And worst of all, never argue you were “too busy” to give your paper the attention it deserved.  All Professors hate to hear this.  They all think their course should be your most important course.  In short, all I ask is that students considering an appeal do so for legitimate reasons.  The squeaky wheel does not always get the grease.

 

 

***

 

Sample Marking Sheet

 

 

Below is a sample of the kind of marking key that will be attached to each paper.  I am always tinkering with this template, so there may be changes to the layout and/or composition of the one actually used.  But this will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

 

 

Essay Marking Key

 

Part A: Coherence, complexity, and originality of your argument as well as the degree to which you demonstrate an understanding of the material you are critically analyzing.

Overall                                                                    Problems

□ Excellent (63-70)                                 □ Main Question Addressed Little/Not at All                                                           (    /70)

□ Very Good/Minor Errors (56-62)         □ Paper Too Descriptive

□ Good (49-55)                                       □ Fair/Weak Introduction and/or Conclusion

□ Fair       (42-48)                                    □ Paper Largely/Entirely Repeats Material Covered in Class

□ Weak (35-41)                                       □ Paper Fails to Adequately Address Pros and Cons of Topic

□ Serious Problems (< 35)                       □ Not an Assigned Topic

□ Uneven At Times/More Work Needed

□ Generally Headed in the Right Direction

□ Other/See Text

 

Part B: Writing style (including grammar and spelling) as well as the clarity of your arguments.  In most cases, representative examples of mistakes will be indicated in the first part of the assignment.  See Assignment Handout or a style manual for additional details on proper technique.

Overall                                                    Problems                                                                                                 (    /20)

□ Excellent (18-20)                                 □ Sentence Structure (Punctuation/Awkward Phrasing)

□ Very Good/Minor Errors (16-17)         □ Paragraph Structure (One-Sentence/Run-On Paragraphs)

□ Good (14-15)                                       □ Spelling/Improper Contractions

□ Fair (12-13)                                          □ Use of First Person or Colloquial Phrases

□ Weak (10-11)                                       □ Missing or Improper Title Page/Page Numbers

□ Serious Problems (< 10)                       □ Use Headings to Separate Main Sections

□ Incorrect Long Quote/Short Quote Format

□ Other/See Text

Part C: Proper use of academic references (i.e., indicating sources employed) as well as proper footnote/endnote and bibliography style.  See Assignment Handout for details on proper formatting.

Overall                                                    Problems                                                                                                 (    /10)

□ Excellent (9-10)                                   □ No/Insufficient Footnotes or No Bibliography

□ Very Good/Minor Errors (8)                                □ Most Sources from Bibliography Not Reflected in Text

□ Good (7)                                                              □ All/Most Sources Too Dated for Topic

□ Fair       (6)                                           □ Over-Reliance on Internet or One or Too Few Sources

□ Weak (5)                                              □ Minor/Moderate/Major Footnote Errors

□ Serious Problems (< 5)                         □ Minor/Moderate/Major Bibliography Errors

□ Other/See Text

GRADE (           /100)

LATE PENALTY ( —      /100)

OVERALL GRADE (           /100)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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