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Writing a BA Essay Rules and Guidelines. Yfirlit Seminar 1 –Rules of the Faculty of Humanities –The Purpose –The Process –Topic and Definition –Choosing.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing a BA Essay Rules and Guidelines. Yfirlit Seminar 1 –Rules of the Faculty of Humanities –The Purpose –The Process –Topic and Definition –Choosing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing a BA Essay Rules and Guidelines

2 Yfirlit Seminar 1 –Rules of the Faculty of Humanities –The Purpose –The Process –Topic and Definition –Choosing and working with an advisor –Thesis Proposal –Organization Seminar 2 –Expository Writing –Academic Discourse –Sources –Outline –Tables and –Final Copy and Editing –Handbooks for Writing

3 Rules of the Faculty of Humanities concerning BA Essays See: Goals: –„Lokaritgerð er ætlað að sýna hæfni nemenda til sjálfstæðra vinnubragða, til skipulegrar úrvinnslu efnis og heimilda, svo og til notkunar fræðilegra hjálpargagna.“ –“The goal of a BA essay is to demonstrate students´ abilities to work independently, to organize and interpret the material and sources and to utilize academic aids.”

4 Chosing and working with an advisor An advisor should be a member of the permanent staff of the department. Other advisors are assigned by special permission of the department. An advisor guides the student in developing a thesis and identifying appropriate sources, and oversees the writing process.

5 Format and length Length –10 cr. essay: 8.000-10.000 words (20-30 pp) (2 credits = 1 week of work, 10 cr = 5 weeks.) –20 cr. essay = 16.000-20.000 words (50-60 pp) (20 cr. = 10 weeks of work. By special permission only) MLA Format A-4, 3 cm. margins, double spacing Front page and title page Academic discourse - carefully edited Bibliography - endnotes

6 Deadlines: Deadlines: see current schedule –Turn in one unbound copy for the second reader Turn in 4 copies of bound essay Grades due: 2-3 weeks after the deadline

7 The Purpose of BA Essays: Three fold purpose: –Training in methodology –Conducting research –The best BA essays are: an original contribution to the field demonstrate independent work include a good lit. review with the appropriate sources arguments are logically presented, is written in clear academic language A writer needs to consider the reader (the audience) –Who is the reader (audience) of a BA essay?

8 The Process: Overview Choosing a topic Choosing an advisor A plan of writing – an outline Gathering and analyzing data –Confer with advisor Writing the essay –Advisor reads a draft and gives feedback Student revises as often as needed –Content – Organization- Language- Format Student turns in final copy

9 Choosing and defining a topic What is the topic of the BA essay? What is the main thesis? Usually the thesis answers an academic question Topics in the past include: –The Critical Period Hypothesis and Second Language Acquisition –English for Specific Purposes –English Influence on North American Icelandic –Objectivity and the Media: The Discourse of Editorials

10 Choosing and Defining a thesis Keep in mind: –Confer with the advisor about narrowing the topic to a thesis –Make sure that the topic/thesis is doable given the time and resources available 2 credits = 1 weeks work Too wide a topic is hard to manage Too narrow a topic may not be worth doing

11 The Thesis Interest –Main thing is being interested or curious about a topic? –Best to think about the topic from a theoretical or research standpoint as a gap in current knowledge, an unanswered question, paradox og fallacy.

12 Thesis Originality –Is this anything new? New facts? New and unique interpretation, view etc... –Has someone already written about this? What has been said about this? –Do a Lit. review. –What will your essay add to current knowledge?

13 Originality Is not always a new idea but a new way of looking at things, interpreting things…

14 Choosing and working with an advisor Expertise Good relationship Independence: Not just write what the advisor says The Role of the advisor –Helps develop the thesis –Advises on methods and sources –Guides the writing process

15 The Research Proposal and Development of a Thesis Defining and developing a thesis: –A research proposal is a short description of the topic, thesis, research methodology/ approach and main sources Length max. 1 page. – Often the proposal needs to be revised or changed slightly as the writing progresses

16 Organization The organization of the essay must be clear to the reader from the beginning Good rule to organize about 80% of the text 26-34 pages) More difficult to shorten than lengthening a text.

17 Organization 1.Front page 2.Title page 3.Abstract 4.Index 5.Introduction 6.Main body of essay (Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4 etc...) Main body is about 75% of essay 7.Conclusions 8.Works cited

18 Organization Organization of Main Body of Essay –Main chapters: They should be of equal length. Usually there are 3 - 5 main chapters. Each chapter has about 8-10 pages. –Sub sections 2-4 subsections Common problems: Organization is too loose or too tight or organization varies by chapters.

19 Organization Chapter titles –Short –Describe the content Common mistakes: –Limited content, unclear description, too few or too many references –Questions as titles –Inadequate description of content –Too much repetition

20 Organization Beginning and end of subsections: –What is the section about? –Consistency in length and importance –Two levels of writing: Working text, Introduction can be written after the main text –End with a descriptive sentence about the content and transition to next section

21 Examples A good beginning of a chapter grabs the reader´s interest. Ex. Posing a question or problem.... Reader is enticed to read more... –Not a good beginning for a main chapter: „In the last chapter I talked about bla bla bla” „ In this chapter I will discuss [title of chapter] As I said earlier... Conclusion of main chapter Concluding words where the main points made in the chapter are reiterated in a general way Transition to next section.

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