research paper guidelines

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  • Papers should be about 1,200-1,500 words or about 5 pages of text (not including references); double-spaced, 12 pitch font. Number your pages and include a title page.
  • You may pick a topic from the following list, or choose your own topic in consultation with me (contact me by October 25 if you are proposing your own topic). Additional topics may be suggested in class. Your topic should be something that interests you!
  • Papers should provide an overview of a particular topic, based on reading relevant literature.
  • You are expected to have a 6-8 good sources, at least 2 of which should be from academic journals. Please consult with me if you are in doubt. I expect you to use academic sources (journal articles, books, research reports from reputable organizations, government documents). Restrict your use of newspaper/magazine articles and non-refereed internet sources. Wikipedia is not an acceptable source (though it may be used to find other sources). Include recent publications (since 2013) whenever possible. Consult the ‘Additional Articles’ folder and web links on Brightspace for relevant material and check the government sources identified in the assignment or in class. If there are relevant articles there that you do NOT include, your grade will be affected. At least two items should be ones you found on your own. Use the library Research Resources Databases and ask for help. I am willing to review your source list and provide suggestions/comments up until Nov. 6th (email it to me, or bring it to office hours).
  • Papers must include citations throughout the text and a complete reference list at the end. Use the APA style (parenthetic citation method, standard in social sciences) for in-text citations (author, date, page in brackets) and reference list at the end. Include explanatory footnotes or endnotes if needed. For internet sources include standard reference information (author, date, title, organization etc.) where possible. Do NOT just put down a URL. Any material taken from another source, whether or not it is a direct quote, must have a citation. Tables taken from another source must include a citation for that source. Include page numbers for quotes and other specific information like tables. Please see the Writing Centre (www.smu.ca/academic/writingcentre) and Library for handouts and on-line resources on referencing (including the Sobey School of Business Style Manual, which uses the APA style – on Brightspace under ‘Term Paper’).
  • You must use your own words. Papers will be submitted to Turnitin.com to help identify material which is not properly cited. Plagiarism will result in a zero grade for the paper (see the course outline and the Academic Calendar for the University policy on plagiarism and the Academic Integrity booklet posted on Blackboard under ‘Term Paper’). Examples of plagiarism include using a paper written by another student, copying material from any published or unpublished source without proper in-text citation, and recycling your own paper from another course (unless you have prior permission from both instructors).
  • Papers are due Nov. 13th (to Turnitin, plus a hard copy me). Late papers will be penalized .5 point per day (out of 20).
  • Papers will be evaluated equally on three aspects: Research (collecting information), Analysis (organization and synthesis of information, clarity of your argument) and Writing (grammar, spelling, references, etc.). Consult the Writing Centre if you need advice.

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