General guidance on essay writing:
1. Presentation: Marks will be awarded for good English expression; marks will be deducted for poor presentation, including poor grammar and spelling. Marks will be awarded for correct presentation of footnotes and bibliography
2. 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.
3. Primary data: Marks will be awarded for good use of a range of ancient texts and other materials - inscriptions, images, coins, archaeology etc. - 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'.
4. 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, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, or Project Muse.
5. 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.
Refer to the departmental essay-writing checklist in order to help ensure that you meet these criteria.
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 and students who are caught can suffer penalties which are extremely detrimental to their career. If in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, please consult the online tutorial at
To avoid any confusion however you should take special care with two things:
1: Cite the sources you are using
2: Use quotation marks for the quotes you are quoting.
All written work produced for assessment must be entirely yours. 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, words, or other work as your own, then you will have committed plagiarism. 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.
Rules for avoiding plagiarism
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.