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Writing A Term Paper. What is an essay or term paper?  A piece of academic writing that contains an argument or claim.  An argument is a coherent series.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing A Term Paper. What is an essay or term paper?  A piece of academic writing that contains an argument or claim.  An argument is a coherent series."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing A Term Paper

2 What is an essay or term paper?  A piece of academic writing that contains an argument or claim.  An argument is a coherent series of statements based on some premise and which lead to a conclusion and which is generally intended to persuade  A claim, in academic terms, is something that is asserted to be true or valid, and which must be based on factual evidence. Academics critically analyse and evaluate the evidence upon which claims are based.  This means it must address an issue or raise a question and present the appropriate data or information to illustrate it in a logical sequence, and then analyse and comment on it critically

3 Because it is an argument, an essay, has a definite structure  Introduction The what/who; what when; where, of the general topic and specific focus of the essay The why and how, the central issue, claim or question addressed, and the aims and outline structure -- A statement of the argument and an indication of the evidence you intend to marshal in support of it refers back to the introduction - how the aims were met. a summary of the argument and the subsidiary arguments used to demonstrate it. limitations of the present work suggestions or recommendations for future study or research  Conclusion..

4  Body Scene Setting the presentation and analysis of that evidence The theoretical context/background to the question/issue raised, which may include ideas or hypotheses or reference to previous research as well as fully-fledged theories. The situational context/background section will specify the who/what/where/when/how /why and show the link between the theory etc. chosen and any practical applications or provide the historical context within which the theory evolved. The rationale or justification for the links between the theoretical and situational contexts need to be given. Examples

5 Analysis/ explanation an examination of the results or outcomes or changes - including the expected and unexpected - in detail, a comparison between theories/theory and practice, predicted and actual results. This may include discussion of/comparison/contrast with similar studies or different approaches (theory or practice) with reference to other writers' experience/theories and your own deductions/inferences based on the previous sections

6 Evaluation discussing problems and remedies, whether they exist in the theory (theories) or in practice or in both and what contribution they make to understanding and knowledge (to what extent the theory was able to predict practice/how far practice followed the theoretical guidelines); the need to modify or adapt the theory or methods of application; any areas ignored by the theory/research or any imbalance (perhaps gender bias) of emphasis or application, all leading to suggestions and recommendations in the conclusion  Introduction and Conclusion –10-15%  Scene Setting – 50% maximum for purely descriptive elements  Analysis and Evaluation – 30% minimum

7 Selecting a Topic Anthropology of Art too broad The Art of Africa – An anthropological approach too broad The Art of the Dogon – An anthropological approach just right The Art of the Dogon between 1750 and 1880 too narrow

8 Turn the topic into a Question The cultural construction of Gender Is gender a cultural construction?  provides focus and direction. When you have a question you are forced to answer it, and forced to come to some conclusion.  an argument is a reply to a question whether implicit or explicit

9 Analyze the Question  Helps to maintain topic focus  Helps make your note taking more efficient.  the structure of your essay emerges from the analysis of the question. Brainstorming. Think of as many other related questions as you can alternatives opposites definitions implications exceptions qualifications comparisons examples who, what, where, when, and why

10 The cultural construction of Gender – Is Gender culturally constructed?  What is gender?  Why gender and not sex?  What does cultural construction mean?  Why cultural instead of, say biological?  Who says it’s a cultural construction  Is gender constructed?  If so how is it constructed?  What are the theories of gender construction?  What are some examples?  What are the implications of gender being culturally constructed?  Is there anything else that’s culturally constructed such as race?

11 The Essay Plan  Write down all you know about the topic.  Put the questions in some sort of order  Consider the type of writing - description, comparison, theoretical, case study etc.  Key argument/issues/questions  Time frame – reading, writing, downtime,  Select a working title

12 Begin Research Early Sources of Information Research Before you begin your research, or when you begin a fresh research session, quickly read over the essay topic and your plan to refresh yourself about what it is you’re looking for. encyclopedias Introductory texts Internet Books standard works Reading lists Bibliographies Periodicals Library catalogues Archives work up a reading list or bibliography of potential sources of information.

13 Anthropology Encyclopedias GN307.E57 1996 GN307.E57 1996 Encyclopedia of social and cultural anthropology Barnard, Alan (Alan J.) GN307.E53 1996 GN307.E53 1996 Encyclopedia of cultural anthropology Levinson, David, 1947- GN25.C66 1994 GN25.C66 1994 Companion encyclopedia of anthropology Ingold, Tim, 1948- GN307.W56 1991 GN307.W56 1991 Dictionary of concepts in cultural anthropology Winthrop, Robert H. GN11.S49 1986 GN11.S49 1986 Macmillan dictionary of anthropology Seymour-Smith, Charlotte.

14 Anthro Net Portal for anthropology websites Free to all

15 Anthro-Tech: Another Anthropology portal Free to All

16 Anthropology Index Online Index to Current Periodicals in the The Anthropology Library at the British Museum Free to All

17 coverage of some 4300 periodicals with full-text of some 2600 peer- reviewed scholarly publications covering many academic areas of study, including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies. Includes full text articles =1&_ug=sid+B184A853%2DE3 AC%2D486E%2DA8BD%2DB8 9A7C90B51B%40sessionmgr3+d bs+aph+cp+1+DFCF&_us=hd+T rue+hs+True+ss+SO+sm+ES+A4 44&_uso=hd+False+db%5B0+% 2Daph+1BEE&newsrch=1 Academic Search Premier Must be U of C student

18 Anthropological Plus Combines Anthropological Literature from Harvard University and Anthropological Index. An Index of journal articles, reports, etc. in anthropology from the late 19th century to the present. Covers all core periodicals in the field in addition to local and lesser- known journals. Good for finding articles, but this is not full text Must be a U of C student

19 Article First Indexes articles and provides tables of contents for about 12,500 journals in science, technology, medicine, social science, business, the humanities, and popular culture. tyjsdetect=:javascript=true:screensize=medium:sessionid=sp05sw01- 55947-efsi7c97-m5ukwg:entitypagenum=1:0 Must be a U of C student

20 JSTOR Electronic archive of many journals Coverage begins at start of each journal and stops within 3-5 years of the present. Provides full text of journals. Must be a U of C student

21 eHRAF contains a variety of source documents (books, articles, and dissertations) indexed by culture and subject Good for cross- cultural comparisons of particular aspects of culture. Contains full-text articles Must be a U of C student

22 Project Muse full-text, articles from over 300 humanities, arts, and social sciences journals Must be a U of C student

23 Indexes monographs, essays, journal articles, dissertations and government publications covering native American topics and issues, including education, anthropology, psychology, political science, sociology, and legal and medical research. Bibliography of Native North Americans ustomer=univcalg&databases=BN Must be a U of C student

24 Indexes articles from 20,000 journals and books in all disciplines. Coverage is from 1988 to the present. Provides document ordering at user's cost Good for finding articles in books Ingenta Must be a U of C student

25  Social Sciences Abstracts (Wilson) Indexes and abstracts articles from 400+ English- language periodicals from a broad array of social sciences disciplines. Coverage is from 1983 to the present with abstracts from 1994 to present.  Sociological Abstracts Indexes and abstracts articles from 400+ English- language periodicals from a broad array of social sciences disciplines. Coverage is from 1983 to the present with abstracts from 1994 to present.  Social Sciences Citation Index H83.S642 2000

26  Assess the text  Skimming  Scanning  Index  Reading in Depth

27 read critically  Does what the author say make sense?  What premises is his or her argument based on?  What is the context in which the argument is presented, especially important if it is an older text.  What is the main point the author is trying to make?  Has he or she made it successfully and supported it with appropriate examples and illustrations.  Is the author saying something new or just synthesizing the ideas of others?  Does what he or she have to say agree or contradict what other authors you have read say.

28 Taking Notes 1.Know what kind of ideas you need to record 2.Don't write down too much record only ideas that are relevant to your focus on the topic; and they will mostly summarize rather than quote. Copy out exact words only when the ideas are memorably phrased or surprisingly expressed--when you might use them as actual quotations in your essay Otherwise, compress ideas in your own words. Paraphrasing word by word is a waste of time. Choose the most important ideas and write them down as labels or headings. Then fill in with a few subpoints that explain or exemplify Don't depend on underlining and highlighting. Find your own words for notes in the margin

29 3.Label your notes intelligently  record bibliographic information in a master list when you begin looking at each source.  Use authors name and brief title/date on tye cards or sheets you take the actual notes on  Try as far as possible to put notes on separate cards or sheets. This will let you label the topic of each note.  label the topic of each note.  Leave lots of space in your notes for comments of your own -- questions and reactions as you read  Put page numbers in the margin for direct quotes and paraphrases

30 Writing Order your notes Write an outline of the argument

31  Be Objective Since the aim of an essay is to persuade, it requires presenting a well-reasoned argument rather than an appeal to emotion Don’t omit contrary opinions or facts Don’t fail to support opinions with facts, and Don’t use emotive language  Avoid colloquialisms  Signpost using a word or phrase that informs the reader the point in the argument he or she has reached or the direction it is taking. There are three major difficulties with the functionalist approach to understanding society’  Use subheadings

32  The primary purpose of the first draft is to get your ideas into some coherent order—to fashion your essay into an argument.  Polishing it comes later.  Do it quickly  leave it for a day or two. The First Draft

33  are the points made relevant?  is it on topic?  does it fully answer the question?  is the argument logical?  are the points in the ‘right’ order and supported with examples?  is it convincing?  is it the right length  Read through your essay with cohesion in mind. Is the relationship between one paragraph and the next clear? Edit the rough draft

34 The Second Draft  The purpose of the second draft is to achieve clarity—saying what you mean. Are the sentences in each paragraph ordered logically Are the sentences grammatically correct including ensuring that they are actually sentences. Delete any repetitive or extraneous material Ensure paragraphs are linked and that the essay flows easily Ensure that the style is appropriate and consistent

35 The third draft  The third draft is for editing and polishing. Here you want to make sure that you’ve used the right word in the right place; that there are no spelling mistakes; that the essay says exactly what you want it to say, and does so concisely and clearly.

36 Tips Tip: If you know it’s going to take several days to write your essay, leave yourself a note at the end of each session about the direction you intended the argument to take. This way you can pick up where you left off. If you’re using a computer leave a symbol, such as an asterisk, so that you can go immediately to the spot where you left off by using the find facility. Tip: Use a thesaurus and dictionary to ensure that you are using the right word. Tip: Print out a copy of the second draft and edit it on paper. You will be surprised at how much you will pick up by seeing it in a different format. Tip: To ensure that the material you are presenting has relevance put yourself in the reader’s place and ask yourself ‘why is the author telling me this’. If the knowledge is not essential to the argument then perhaps it should be eliminated.

37 Tip: Keep deleted sentences and paragraphs in a separate file or at the end of your document. You may find later that something you have deleted is actually worth including. Before beginning the final edit, read through your essay and the deleted material to see if it contains any relevant information that needs to be included. Tip Don’t forget to make backup copies of your essay on floppy disks or CD as well as on the hard disk. You might also consider making a copy in straight text format in case your computer crashes in which case you can use almost any computer to complete it. Email it to yourself. If your computer crashes you can retrieve it from the remote computer. Tip When you begin to write try and ensure that you have a minimum of two uninterrupted hours, otherwise you’ll find that you have to stop just when you’re getting into it.

38 Tip: If you get stuck and don’t know what to write next. Try: taking a break working on a different part of the essay talking about the difficulty with a friend. The solution often occurs to you when you verbally state the problem. Going back to your plan Tip: Learn to use the split-screen facility of your word processor. (Or keep two documents open simultaneously.) You may find it easier to cut and paste large chunks of text. Tip: learn to use your word processor’s shortcut keys in order to manoeuvre around your document—especially how to go to the beginning and end of your document and to the previous insertion point.

39 Tip: Put your essay aside for a few days give it a friend, relative or partner to read. Tip: Tell a friend or relative what the argument of your essay is, or what it is that you’re trying to say. Then copy it down and use it for your introduction. By verbalizing your argument you tend to say it in simpler terms making it clear to both you and your reader. By telling a friend you force yourself to make a clear statement of it. Tip. Read your essay out loud. Tip. Purchase a copy of the latest edition of The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White (its < $10) or download the first edition free at It will help improve your grammar and make your writing more effective.

40 To present a coherent, clearly-worded essay based on research, you need to be able to:  determine what the question asks,  plan the essay,  know where to find the relevant information,  know how to extract that information by reading critically, with purpose, and by taking notes,  critically analyse the issues,  argue a case,  structure the information and your ideas logically,  express your ideas with clarity,  edit your writing and present your work professionally,  be original,  focus on the topic consistently, and,  manage your time.

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