RESEARCH PAPER & NEWSPAPER REPORT GUIDELINES
THE RESEARCH PAPER
You will be asked to write a short research paper. Each paper should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words (3-5 pages long) typewritten (12p times new roman), double-spaced, with 1 inch margins.
Apply a particular theory/theories of international relations to the current issue of the Malian crisis and discuss the extent to which they explain what is happening, preferably juxtaposing several of the theories as discussed in class.
(Online submission required too!). Evidence of your chosen country’s policy should come from a variety of sources. Books tend to give the most in-depth background and analysis of a situation, but are often the least up-to-date sources. Journalistic sources (e.g. newspaper articles) are often much more up-to-date, and are good sources for specific facts, but are usually thin on background and analysis, and are occasionally factually incorrect. Journal articles are usually somewhere in the middle. Getting information from a variety of types of sources should give you a good balance of fact and analysis, of foreground and background.
Some of your sources for this assignment should be from the country or region that you are focusing on. Many foreign newspapers and journals either publish in English or have English editions, and these can be useful. If you read languages other than English, you might want to choose a country of focus that highlights this language skill. Many governments also publish information on their policies, both in print and online.
Beware, however, that many sources have biases. Many present arguments, and sometimes evidence, that are weighted towards one position or another. If it seems that some of your sources are biased in this way, try to find sources with the opposite bias; this will help you to develop a balanced picture of what is going on.
Also beware that the reliability of sources varies considerably. Most academic sources (articles in academic journals, books from university presses) are refereed. This means that they have been reviewed and accepted by experts in the field. Newspaper articles have to pass through editorial and legal staffs before they are published, which cuts down on factual errors (although some newspapers have more thorough editorial processes than others). Many websites go through no comparable process; the webmaster can put up whatever s/he wants. You should therefore approach these sites with more skepticism than many other sources. When in doubt about the reliability of an information source, ask your professor.
Formatting and other expectations appear below, and papers failing to meet them will lose points.
• Papers must have a separate cover page with your name, the paper title, course number, and date; this is the only place where your name should appear. DO NOT use headers/footers with your name in them. (up to 10 pts. off)
• The paper’s pages must be numbered. DO NOT number the cover page; p. 1 is the first page of text, not the cover page. (10 pts. off if no page numbers) Foot/endnotes, bibliography, charts, appendices, etc., do not count against the page limit.
• Pick one style of citation (APA, MLA,) and follow it throughout your paper. Follow the style when it comes to references inside the text, as well as for the bibliography. Long quotations are unacceptable. Citation and quotation issues, up to 10 pts. off.
• Gross failure to proofread and correct obvious errors: up to 10 pts. off.
• Lateness: 10 pts. off per day late
• Failure to have your topic approved: 10 pts. Off
• Your bibliography should contain at least 4 references (2 maximum web-based, the rest should be from scholarly journals and books). Up to 5 pts. off.
• Failure to meet page limit, font, spacing, margins. Up to 5 pts. off per error.
• Failure to follow directions (here and elsewhere in this syllabus). Up to 10 pts. off.
• Failure to have a separate bibliography with the paper: 10 pts. Off
• A paper that relies primarily on basic reference sources (Wikipedia, CIA World Factbook, Encyclopedia Britannica, etc.) for anything but statistics, election returns, and similar data will not earn a grade higher than a C. If you are unsure about whether a source fits in this category, all you have to do is ask me or your section leader.
You are plagiarizing if you do the following:
1) Incomplete paraphrasing. If you use substantive words, phrases, or rhetorical structures from your source without documentation, you are plagiarizing. Whether you “kidnap” one or two words or a whole page, you are plagiarizing.
2) Missing citation. If you use any ideas that are clearly NOT common knowledge without citing your source, you are plagiarizing. It does not matter whether you’ve expressed the ideas in your own language.
3) Copying. If you simply copy from any source without quotation marks or attribution, you are plagiarizing.
Among the practices which constitute plagiarism are: using in their entirety or even in part recycled papers or papers from another course or teacher or papers written by someone else, either by a student or a person publishing a paper in an academic journal or book.
The best advice is to cite all sources as clearly as possible in all matters except shared common knowledge.
(This is excerpted from the Susquehanna College English Department statement on plagiarism. See
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