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Writing Suggestions and Grading Scheme SOC211 (4).doc

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McMaster University
John Hofbauer

Suggestions for Writing Your Essay & Grading Scheme Consider the following points when writing your essays: 1. Argument: This is the most important issue. Having a clear argument is essential for writing an academic paper. An argument is simply the point that the writer wants to make in an essay. A clear argument will structure the rest of the paper. In other words, it gives you a direction to follow in writing and reading the relevant information. Well-written papers are characterized by clear arguments and logical and concise elaboration on them. Poorly-written papers have no discernible argument and, therefore, appear disorganized and confusing. 2. Analysis: This is another key issue. It is not enough to simply list a number of statements or to describe some issue in details. You should aim to provide explanations. This means you have to have theories. Theories are scientific explanations (as opposed to commonsensical or popular ones). Broadly speaking, a description tells the reader “how” something happened, while an explanation tells “why” it happened. 3. Grammar: Pay particular attention to the sentence structures. Grammatically incorrect sentences fail to convey your intended “meanings.” UTM is a good place to seek help in this regard. Take advantage of the writing workshops, etc., provided there. 4. Colloquialisms: Avoid using casual speech and try to write ‘objectively’ and 'correctly.' In other words, do not write in the same manner that you speak. 5. Organization: Try to organize your thoughts and ideas and present them in a clear and systematic manner. Avoid redundant words and sentences. Avoid stringing too many disparate
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