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Final paper

Congratulations! About 13 weeks ago, I asked you all why you thought religion was interesting. At that time, your interests may have seemed a bit vague. Or maybe you were absolutely convinced of something. Either way, I bet things look a lot different now. You should be proud, because it was your consistent effort that brought you to this point. (Oh and say thanks to your fellow students in class, because I'm sure discussions with them helped you think through this stuff too!)

This assignment is a 'product assignment'. A final paper should be about 3000 words, or 10 pages. You will be graded on how much your final product reflects a serious and sustained attempt to answer your research question. I probably know a lot about your topic at this point, but as you revise your drafts, strive to make your essay into something you could give to someone else, another lecturer, your tutor from ANTH 1001 or 1002, or a friend whose opinion you trust. In other words, make your essay as self-contained and self-explanatory as possible. That can involve saying things you may not think you have to or should:

  • “In this essay, I will argue…”
  • “I interpret this statement to mean…”
  • “In conclusion, I have shown…”
  • Etc.

In other words, it's OK to say 'I'. It is a good idea, actually, because when you say 'I' you are probably helping guide me as your reader by taking me by the hand and saying, “OK, this is where we are going next, and eventually you'll see how I got to my conclusion…” I-statements are usually metatextual–a text that comments on a text–and being meta helps your reader to see how you have organized your text according to a plan.

When I am grading your essay, I am not looking for mastery of expert knowledge. I am looking at the strength of the argument you built over the course of the semester. The final essay should have:

  • a clearly stated and relevant thesis which answers a question,
  • a developed argument and reasoning which supports this claim,
  • evidence and examples which support and substantiate the claim, showing that you’ve explored facts and ideas in detail, and
  • prose which explains and clarifies the ideas and arguments.
  • and, don't forget to cite your sources, include a list of references, and don't forget to format your essay in a neat, presentable way.

You will be graded accordingly to how well it measures up in each of these areas. Please upload your paper by 11:59 p.m. on 6 June.

In the end, this is a learning process that goes on forever. There is no such thing as a final paper, merely the latest draft. You can now look back and think about what you have learned from this experience.

If you have any comments or thoughts on these assignments or the experience of writing a research paper for a class, please let me know.

2667/final_paper.txt · Last modified: 2017/02/20 18:56 by ryans