JUS 3352

Guidelines for Formal Essays and Papers

Introductory Comments

The academic requirements of the Correctional Studies Diploma and Degree are such that you are expected to demonstrate the ability to think and write critically and logically. For this reason, many of the courses in the program require papers or major essays as graded assignments.

The final product should be a critical and analytical discussion of the subject you have chosen. In other words, it ought to be more than simply a recounting of facts. It must have an introduction which contains a central thesis, a body of thought and ideas which support the thesis in a logical manner, and a conclusion which draws it all together.

If you can, take a position and support it, or present both sides of the argument. This makes for a better presentation than the presentation of a series of facts.

The minimum number of references will likely be set by your instructor. If not, a minimum of four is suggested, not including your texts. All references must be cited (acknowledged). Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and will result in a grade of “0” for the paper and, possibly, the course.

Grammar and spelling are important! Excessive mistakes affect readability and suggest that you have not carefully proofread your essay. We suggest the use of spell-check programs, but they are not fool proof and you should proofread your paper as well. Allowing a little time between writing and final draft can help you to be objective in proofreading.

Have fun! This seems like an odd instruction, perhaps, but it is important that you find a subject that you are genuinely interested in, and pursue it.

Format and Presentation Value: ____/10

This has to do with appearance and readability. Specifically, papers will be graded on the basis of the following standards.

  • Title page (following APA format)
  • Title of essay
  • Student’s name
  • Location
  • Course name and number
  • Instructor’s name
  • Neat and clean in appearance
  • Paper must be white bond
  • Margins must be one inch (top, bottom, and sides)
  • 12 pt. standard font, double spaced
  • Subheadings are encouraged if appropriate
  • Pages are numbered

Research Value: ____/20

This relates to the resources used by the writer, and the credit given. The minimum number and type of resources to be used will be specified as a part of each essay assignment.

All sources (including books, readings, films, personal interviews) must be cited within the body of the report (called in-text citations) and listed on the References page at the end of the paper.

You are expected to use the APA format for references and citations. You can find more information on APA format from several sources:

1.  Lethbridge College publishes a brief handbook that explains the basic APA guidelines. It is available for purchase in the College Bookstore or online at http://www.lethbridgecollege.ab.ca/go/apaguide.pdf

2.  The most current information on citing electronic sources (such as articles found on the internet or in databases), go to the APA site: http://www.apastyle.org/elecref.html

Note: Failure to acknowledge sources constitutes plagiarism and will result in a grade of zero for the paper.

Content Value: ____/40

This refers to the actual material which appears in the paper. Obviously, there will be a relationship between this mark and the mark granted for research, in that poor research will result in inadequate content. Content marks will be granted specifically on the basis of the following:

  • Strong introduction and a useful, valid conclusion
  • Breadth and depth of examination of subject
  • Critical thinking and adaptation of ideas
  • Synthesis of information
  • Originality of thought
  • Imagination and creativity

Writing Technique: Spelling, Grammar, Mechanics & Style Value: ____/30

Expectations include full sentences, proper punctuation, and correct spelling, as well as appropriate word usage. The use of a spell-checker is recommended.

Papers should be

  • Concise: Economical and appropriate use of language
  • Organized: Coherent flow of ideas, with coherent transitions used effectively to show relationship between ideas

For extra writing skills assistance, go to the online writing lab (OWL) at Purdue University: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/


TOTAL:   ________/100


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