Term Essay: You are required to write an academic essay on an issue related to Canadian politics. A list of suggested topics for the essay along with the evaluation criteria is included below. Students wishing to choose an alternative topic must obtain my permission.
The essay is due on March 16 and is to be submitted through Brightspace/Assignments.
Without a documented medical reason, late essays will be subject to a daily deduction of 3 marks (including weekends). Moreover, essays submitted after the due date will only receive a grade – no comments will be provided. No late essays will be accepted after April 1.
In the preparation of their essay, students must follow the Academic Essay Guidelines, and How Not to Plagiarize: An Introductory Guide. Both are available on our Brightspace course page and the department website.
The length of the essay is eight double-spaced pages; not including the title page and bibliography. A minimum of five sources should be used and referenced either as footnotes or endnotes. In addition to academic books or printed academic journals, the internet can be an important resource for your research. However, the only online sources to be used for this essay are academic journals and books, and publications from government, and non-governmental organizations. Newspapers, magazines, and Wikipedia are not to be used. If you have a question about the suitability of a particular source, please contact me.
Failure to meet the standards outlined above will result in grade deductions, and all instances of plagiarism will be reported to the College and will result in a zero grade on the essay.
The objective of this essay is not for you to undertake original research, but rather that you search out what various authorities have to say on the subject and develop your position based on their research. Remember, writing well does not mean that you should adopt an exaggerated reverence for formality. Learning to write a college-level essay means learning to write plainly and clearly. However, generally, you should avoid overly colloquial terms as well as overly sensational or inflammatory words. Your essay should also be free of language that reflects gender or racial bias.
There are three main parts to an academic essay: an introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. As noted in the Academic Essay Guidelines, the goal of the introduction is to set out the topic, state what your approach or argumentation will be, and tell your reader how the essay will be structured. You may choose to begin your introduction by providing some brief background information or context, a brief story, or a surprising fact or statistic. Once you have focused the reader’s attention, present your thesis, in one sentence or several, depending on the complexity of your argument. A thesis statement is not the same as your topic (i.e., something you want to talk about). A thesis, in contrast, is an argument, generally reduced to one or more sentences. You should end your introduction by giving your readers a preview or roadmap of your main points.
The body of your paper should develop your thesis by presenting your evidence and examples in a logical and orderly fashion that follows the preview in your introduction. The overall goal of this section is to develop your analysis and defend your argument – it is the main part of the essay. The conclusion is designed to bring together your essay’s main points and to reassert or emphasize the strength of the thesis or argument. A conclusion is more than a summary, in that it is important to indicate why there is merit to your thesis or argument – what has been shown because of your investigation or exploration of the topic.
Essay Evaluation Criteria: All essays will be assessed using the following five criteria: 1) Presentation of the argument (thesis statement); 2) Organization of the essay; 3) Quality of the evidence/ appropriateness of research; 4) Sentence structure and clarity; and 5) Format and referencing. Please note that there are no marks attached to each criterion; evaluation is achieved by an overall assessment of the essay.
In political science, one generally finds that “A” papers make an insightful argument with force and clarity. These papers are well organized, fully developed, with few or no mechanical mistakes. Sentences are clear and unambiguous and often stylistically elegant. When appropriate, an “A” paper will show detailed understanding of the texts under discussion and will support claims with examples whenever necessary.
Suggested Essay Topics:
- Does Canada need a new electoral system?
- Does the Prime Minister of Canada wield excessive power in federal politics?
- Can First Nations sovereignty (i.e., self-government) coexist with Canadian sovereignty?
- Is the federal policy of multiculturalism a disruptive or an integrative force?
- Should Quebec be recognised as a distinct society in the constitution?
- Have gender issues moved to the forefront of the political agenda in Canada?
- Should Canada adopt an elected Senate?
- Do Canada’s highest courts practice judicial self-restraint?