Guidance for writing essays
Coursework and Word-limits
Students are required to produce TWO pieces of coursework during the module. Essays should be in the range 2,250-3,000 words (including footnotes but not including bibliography). Students are required to declare a word count on the cover sheet. Essays will be penalized for being too short or too long.
• Essays must include footnotes where appropriate, and a bibliography of works cited. Due attention should be given to literacy (both spelling and grammar). Titles and submission dates follow below. Please refer to the departmental handbook and the document ‘Advice on writing essays’ for further information about assessment criteria and marking. Please also use the checklist for students available on the web.
• The second assessed essay for Q800 Classics students will be focused upon the set texts, and require close analysis of the Greek original.
Please see ‘Advice on writing essays’: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/classics/students/guidance/essays/
Submission of Essays
Essays must be submitted online via Tabula BEFORE the essay deadline: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/classics/students/esubmission/
Tabula will ONLY accept the following file types: .doc, .docx, .odt, .wpd, .ps, .html, .hwp, .rtf, .txt, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .ppsx, .pps, .xls, xlsx. If you try and submit a file with a different extension Tabula will not accept the file.
There is a limit of 20MB of size for submission of files. If you are using a lot of pictures and your file is larger than 20MB, save your file as a pdf, and then reduce the resolution. If this still does not solve the problem, please print out a hard copy of the essay, with images, and submit this to the office before the essay deadline.
You must include a cover-sheet for your essay, including the following information:
• Student i.d. number
• Module Code & Name
• Title of Essay
• Word count
• Yellow sticker (if applicable)
A template essay cover-sheet is available online: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/classics/students/
Please retain a copy of the Tabula e-submission receipt in case of dispute. Don’t forget to check that you are submitting the correct version of your essay/ dissertation, complete with footnotes & bibliography.
Anonymity of marking is an adopted principle of the University for both assessed essays and examinations, so DO NOT put your name on your work.
By University regulation, late essays will attract a penalty of 5 marks for each day they are late, excluding weekends (from 12.01 on the day they are due to 12.00 the next day is counted as 1 day).
All submitted work will be checked for plagiarism via Turnitin plagiarism detection software.
Criteria for Assessment
• Presentation: Marks will be awarded for good English expression; points will be deducted for poor presentation, including poor grammar and spelling. Marks will be awarded for correct presentation of footnotes and bibliography
• Clarity of analysis: Marks will be awarded for work which is organised coherently on the basis of arguments, and deducted for work which is incoherent or presents a mass of amorphous material. The case the student is arguing should be clear to the assessor in every paragraph - don't fall automatically into a chronological arrangement of your material, or a line by line examination of a text, unless you are making a specific point, narrowly argued, about development or change over time.
• Primary data: Marks will be awarded for good use of a range of ancient texts and other materials and deducted for unsubstantiated arguments and opinions. Marks will be awarded for pertinent quotation and for thoughtfulness about its usefulness as evidence. Don’t use quotations of primary materials or images merely as illustrations. Think about what contribution they make to your argument, what role they play as evidence, where the producers of the text or artefact are 'coming from'.
• Secondary material: Marks will be awarded for isolating the main issues and debates in modern scholarship on the subject. Marks will be deducted for overdependence on a single unquestioned modern authority. Think also about where modern scholars are 'coming from', e.g. by reading reviews of their work from the websites of JSTOR, BMCR, or Project Muse. Marks will not be awarded for essays that mainly of quotations from secondary sources instead of your own words.
• Originality and Sophistication: Marks will be awarded for thoughtfulness, well-founded scepticism and original ideas which attempt to surpass the issues and debates found in modern discussions in order to take the argument in a new direction.
All assessed essays are double marked within the department and are available for consultation by the external examiner. The first marker offers detailed feedback on individual pieces of assessment; the moderator receives the entire run of scripts and moderates the marks awarded (in other words, the role of the moderator is to ensure consistency in the awarding of marks).
1st class 70-100%
Upper 2nd class 60-69%
Lower 2nd class 50-59%
Third class 40-49%
• 2nd YEAR - 1st class essay will present a reasoned and analytical argument throughout, its individual points presented in a manner that displays a logical flow between paragraphs and in good English. It will demonstrate an intelligent and critical use of primary and secondary sources; the referencing of these will be clear and accurate. The essay will also display an ability on the part of the student to advance ideas that display a considerable degree of sophistication and some degree of originality.
• 3rd YEAR - 1st class essay will present a reasoned and analytical argument throughout, its individual points presented in a manner that displays a logical flow between paragraphs and in good English. It will demonstrate intelligent interpretation of appropriate primary sources and the ability to identify, characterise, and interrogate appropriate secondary literature on the subject; it may also demonstrate the ability to situate the topic within a broader intellectual/academic context. The referencing of both primary and secondary sources will be clear and accurate. The essay will also display an ability on the part of the student to advance ideas that display a considerable degree of sophistication and some degree of originality.
• 2nd YEAR - Upper 2nd class essay will present a reasoned and analytical argument, its individual points presented in a manner that displays a logical flow between paragraphs and in good English. It will demonstrate an intelligent use of primary and secondary sources; the referencing of these will be clear and accurate.
• 3rd YEAR - Upper 2nd class essay will present a reasoned and analytical argument, its individual points presented in a manner that displays a logical flow between paragraphs and in good English. It will demonstrate an interpretation of appropriate primary sources and the ability to identify and characterise appropriate secondary literature on the subject; the referencing of both primary and secondary sources will be clear and accurate.
• 2nd YEAR - Lower 2nd class essay may rely heavily upon narrative, from which salient points of argument will, or are expected, to emerge. It will demonstrate a moderate use of primary and secondary sources and include referencing to these which is clear and accurate. It may also answer only part of the question.
• 3rd YEAR - Lower 2nd class essay may rely heavily upon narrative, from which salient points of argument will, or are expected, to emerge. It will demonstrate a moderate capacity to interpret primary and secondary sources and include referencing to these which is clear and accurate. It may also answer only part of the question.
• 2nd YEAR - 3rd class essay will either 1) deviate from the question set in whole or at significant points; or 2) will be presented in a manner that shows few signs of coherent thought and in a form that is ill-referenced and poorly formulated.
• 3rd YEAR - 3rd class essay will either 1) deviate from the question set in whole or at significant points; or 2) will be presented in a manner that shows few signs of coherent thought and in a form that is ill-referenced and poorly formulated; or 3) show little acumen in interpreting primary sources and/or shows little recognition of appropriate secondary literature on the subject.
• 2nd YEAR - fail essay will display considerable ineptitude in terms of knowledge, essay-structure, use of English, and referencing.
• 3rd YEAR – fail essay will display considerable ineptitude in terms of knowledge, essay-structure, use of English, and referencing; or 2) offer little or no interpretation of primary sources and no recognition of appropriate secondary literature on the subject.
All essays must be submitted via Tabula before the deadline.
Extensions to Essay Deadlines:
Applications for an extension of the essay-deadline are only allowed in exceptional circumstances – such as well-documented medical reasons/ family bereavement. Independent documentation is required in order to secure an extension. Predictable problems with time management as a result of deadline bunching or other commitments, and social problems with housemates are not usually admissible. Any such application can only be made to the Head of Department / Director of Undergraduate Studies / Deputy Head of Dept well before the deadline. Problems with e.g. printers/computers, getting hold of books, bunching-up of essay-deadlines are not considered acceptable excuses. Nor is involvement in an extracurricular activity, whether sport, drama, or music. Students who wish to apply for an extension should support their case with independent documentation (eg GP medical note, Student Support report). Retrospective deadlines cannot usually be granted. When an extension is granted, students must check that the extension is recorded on Tabula. Only in very exceptional circumstances will an extension be allowed beyond one week.
Students will receive feedback on essays within 20 working days: you will receive an email from Tabula once feedback has been published, which you can then access and download. You should read the comments carefully, to assess how best to improve for the next essay.
In addition, you should attend feedback tutorials: these are one-to-one tutorials with the module tutor, designed to offer additional clarification about the feedback, and a valuable chance for you to discuss your work personally with your module tutor. Typically, students who attend these tutorials tend to improve for their next essays more often than those who do not. You should re-read your essay and feedback sheet before attending the tutorial.
Students may request feedback on exam scripts from their Personal Tutor or module tutor, once results are released. The SSLC will discuss feedback on exams at a module level at the start of the academic year.
Plagiarism, defined as ‘the attempt to pass off someone else’s work as one’s own’ is a variety of cheating or fraud. It is taken very seriously by the University. Students who are caught can suffer penalties which are extremely detrimental to their careers.
To avoid any confusion however you should take special care with two things:
• Cite the sources you are using
• Use quotation marks for the words you are quoting directly.
All written work produced for assessment must be entirely yours. All assessed work is subjected to analysis by Turnitin plagiarism detection software. Your work will often use material covered in lectures and seminars, but your work must demonstrably be your own representation of that material. You must not quote from other people’s work word-for-word without acknowledging this by use of “quotation-marks”. If you present someone else’s thoughts without acknowledging them, or copy their words, or present someone else’s work as your own, then you will have committed plagiarism. You must not copy bibliographical information from another source if you have not read the works referred to on it for yourself. In general it is poor practice to scatter quotations from other scholars throughout your essay; you should attempt to rephrase what other people have said in your own words, and then also include a reference to the source of your ideas in a footnote. When taking notes from journals and books, make sure that you indicate clearly in your notes, using quotation marks, if you’re copying directly word-for-word. This will ensure that you do not inadvertently reproduce someone else’s words in your essay. In general, however, the best practice is to paraphrase and analyse as you read and make notes so that your notes do not simply copy out chunks of other people’s work. You should also avoid referring to what a lecturer has said without finding out for yourself on what his/her ideas are based. You may cite primary sources on handouts.
Good study technique, writing style, and correct referencing of quotations will help you to avoid unintentional plagiarism. If you follow these simple rules you will always be safe:
• Always take down a detailed reference for each text that you read and take notes from.
• While copying quotations, make sure you clearly mark them as quotations in your working notes.
• Gather and use your own examples whenever you want to support a particular view.
• Ensure that all quotations are surrounded by quotation marks.
Ensure that your references can be used to locate the original source text.
Penalties for Plagiarism
If a module tutor considers a piece of work to be plagiarised, it will be referred in the first instance to the Head of Dept, who decides if she thinks significant plagiarism has taken place. If plagiarism is detected, for a first offence, the student must be given an opportunity to explain; if it is concluded that (s)he has plagiarized to a significant extent, (s)he must present a c.2500-word essay on a different topic - bibliography supplied by module tutor - within a week. A piece of distinctively coloured paper is put in the student's file. For a second offence, the same procedure is followed, but the student is given no opportunity to write a new essay and is simply given a mark of zero for that essay. If there is not sufficient time for this process, assessors have the option of simply deleting what has been plagiarized.
HOW TO QUOTE (based on the departmental style guide, with your lecturer's annotation in BOLD ITALIC CAPITALS)
Quotations from primary sources are to be encouraged,
[BUT KEEP IN MIND THAT YOUR SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION AND THE FLOW OF YOUR ARGUMENT SHOULD NOT BE NEGATIVELY AFFECTED BY THE INSERTION OF THESE QUOTATIONS (AS INDICATED BELOW). PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR FURTHER CLARIFICATIONS, ESPECIALLY ON THE JUSTIFICATION OF USING SO MANY WORDS THROUGH QUOTATIONS.]
... but use secondary sources only very sparingly, and only cite verbatim if this really adds something to your argument. It is essential to indicate that you are citing something verbatim by “enclosing the relevant words in quotation marks like this”, in order to avoid the impression of plagiarism. Otherwise it’s much better to paraphrase in your own words, with due acknowledgement in a footnote.
Quotations can simply be incorporated within the normal layout of the paragraph, but if you need to include a long quotation (and think really hard whether using so many words up in this way is justifiable), then you may choose to indent and centre a quotation like this:
“This is an example of how you may like to choose to present a long quotation from either a primary or a secondary author, but you need to be sure that such a long quotation is really necessary.”
And then you continue onwards below like this.
THESE ARE CALLED WEIGHTED QUOTATIONS.
But you may more often simply include a quotation like this, ‘as it doesn’t interrupt the flow of your argument’.
If unsure how to join the two, please follow the example of secondary bibliography, as in the example shown in this powerpoint presentation (explained on 16.1.2017 in class).
Think hard about use of punctuation to introduce a quotation: often a colon or a comma suffices. Do not use a semicolon automatically before a quotation. Obviously, it’s crucial to remember to include quotation marks, to avoid plagiarism.
Italicise words/ phrases in Latin and Greek, if appropriate. Quotations from original Latin should be in italics, as should transliterated Greek: hence arma virumque cano or mênin aeide, thea. If you wish to include original Greek script in your essays (and are confident that it will be legible when printed), you should use a recognized Greek font, such as SPIonic (free download available for both PC and MC) and include all accents and breathings - for further guidance consult the relevant module coordinator.