A clear thesisthe topic, the stance the student is adopting onthe question and basic rationale for that stanceshould beincluded in the first paragraph. The body of the paper shouldinvolve a comprehensive analysis of the topic using secondarysources where appropriate. Finally, in the conclusion studentsshould argue persuasively and at length regarding their stance onthe issue (e.g., does the student agree with Plato on politicalauthority or Aquinas on justice and why). In the conclusionstudents are encouraged to draw on another political philosopherfrom any time period to clarify their position.
Naturally, students should evaluate commentaries on the theme andauthors with which they are working. Research papers will beassessed in terms of the quality of research and content on theone hand and the presentation of the material–coherence, logicof the argument, style, grammar, and punctuation–on the other.(Students may wish to consult an English usage manual concerninggrammar, punctuation, and style, e.g., Strunk and White, Elementsof Style.)
Documentation for Research Papers
As stated above, students may use any widely accepted form ofdocumentation for their papers (Turabian, MLA, etc.) Please abideby the following general guidelines for documentation of sourcesin your research papers:
FOOTNOTES AND END NOTES: Footnotes appear at the bottom of pagesof text. End notes appear on a separate page at the end of thetext just prior to the bibliography page. Parenthetical notesappear in parentheses at the end of the sentence or block quotewhere the quotation or reference appears in the paper. Studentsmay use footnotes, end notes or parenthetical notes for theirresearch papers. Notes are used to recognize the work of anotherauthor within a student’s text. Failure to use notesappropriately results in plagiarism wherein the work of anotherperson is presented in an author’s text as if it were theauthor’s own words. Therefore, notes obviously must be used whendirectly quoting another author or presenting data and statisticscompiled by another author. Notes also must be used whenparaphrasing, drawing heavily on the main themes from anotherwork, citing ideas from an author or work that are not commonlyknown, and providing a perspective or point of view concerning anissue or event that is not the author’s own. If you are unsureabout whether or not to use a note, use it.
Do not use an excessive number of quotations. The assignment inthis course is to conduct research and present a particularposition on a particular theme, not to recite the words of otherswho have dealt with the theme. If a quotation is more than thirtywords, use block quotes: indent ten spaces and use single-spacedtext (quotation marks are unnecessary when using a block quote).These should be used sparingly.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: A bibliography is a listing of the works used in atext. The works are listed by author, last name first, inalphabetical order. Do not “pad” your bibliography. That is, donot list works unless you have used them, in some way, for yourpaper.