MAJOR ESSAY GUIDELINES
SSCI 1470U (Section 002)
Administrative details of the paper:
Students are asked to write an 1500-1800 word paper to be submitted electronically by 12:00/noon on Monday, March 16th. Please submit the papers through the UOIT Blackboard course website (a drop box will be set up for you). Please note that I will only accept papers in .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf formats.
These papers will be graded both on CONTENT and on STYLE (see below for more information about this). If you have questions about matters of style, please consult a style manual, or you can come to me with specific questions (during my office hours or through email). Please note: I will NOT read your draft, but I will answer specific questions about style or content.
Students are asked to keep in mind that this is an argumentative essay. You should have a clear thesis, and make clear points supporting your thesis in each paragraph.
You can use 1st person perspective (ie: ‘I’) but be wary of resorting to simple opinion to prove/substantiate your premises.
As mentioned above, style is important, as is correct spelling and grammar/syntax. These things are always important in any situation, but especially so in the context of an academic paper. There are many style manuals available for free online (or in print from the Library) that can help you with these matters (also, see the last page of this hand out for general issues).
A BIBLIOGRAPHY IS NECESSARY: a bibliography that clearly references all of the books/articles/titles you’ve looked at in order to write your paper. You may use both primary and secondary sources in this paper. You should use at least three (3) different sources to gain a balanced sense of the topic at hand. All sources (including the textbook, if you decide to use it) should appear in your bibliography. Use the library’s resources. A quick note: I would avoid non-peer-reviewed, Internet-website sources, as they are notoriously unreliable. Having mentioned this, peer-reviewed journal articles found online through the Library’s electronic resources are acceptable. If you have questions in this regard, please ask me.
ADEQUATE REFERENCING IS REQUIRED: If you use another person’s words (or their ideas) you need to reference that by either an endnote or a footnote, or an in-text citation. Your referencing format (ie: APA, MLA, Turabian, Chicago, etc…) is up to you provided that you are consistent throughout and that it is a commonly-accepted method. I will discuss this in class, but please feel free to ask me if you have questions about this.
A few incidentals and tips to keep in mind when writing your paper:
-New Rule—this is YOUR paper: I’m not looking for you to simply regurgitate information from other people! Make your own arguments and support them with your sources. Very few things are more annoying than an essay that has referenced every single word in the darned thing!
-New Rule—please DO NOT use my lecture notes as scholarly sources without my express approval. The reason for this apparently draconian measure is that they are not peer-reviewed (as they are for my own personal use during my lectures). So if you have any questions about this, please discuss it with me beforehand.
New Rule—Late papers will be deducted 5% per day (including weekends).
New Rule—please make sure you keep a copy of your completed paper on your computer, in the event that it gets misplaced for whatever reason.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about possible essay topics (these are merely suggestions):
1) The knowledge-claims of science are subject to sociological inquiry much like those of other academic/intellectual disciplines.
2) The development of technology is determinative; its expansion occurs beyond the ability of human freedom to curtail it.
3) Science tells us the truth about reality (or not).
4) The transhumanists are correct (or not) in their assumption that there exists no static ‘human’ nature’.
5) Recently-developed social networking websites (such as Facebook) are corrosive to ‘real’ community.
6) The technological ‘divide’ as a function of global capitalist expansion is a necessary evil.
7) There is no such thing as a ‘pre-technological’ society.
8) Theoreticians such as Paul Feyerabend are correct when they argue that science proceeds anarchically, rather than according to fixed and invariable methods.
9) There is no such thing as ‘science’ (in the ‘macro-sense’), only local (and locally-construed) ‘sciences’.
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