Instructions for Writing a Term Paper

English 420 Online: Sociolinguistics


Length
If a single student writes the paper, it must be a full 8 pages long, not including the abstract (if one is included),  list of references and the title page; shorter papers will receive a reduced grade, and I will not read more than 8 pages, meaning that students must be precise and concise. Students must also number the pages in the paper beginning with the first page of actual text, not with the title page or abstract.

Given the breadth and depth of the paper topics, I am encouraging students to write team written papers of two and three students. I will set up Discussion Groups in Blackboard for those students who wish to write team written papers, so that they can easily communicate with each other and share documents and drafts of the paper. If two students co-write a paper, it must be 11 pages long, and if three co-write one, it must be 14 pages long.

Format
The paper must be double spaced, be written with a 12 point font, contain clear headings to show the logical divisions of the paper, and contain one inch margins on each side of the pages. Make sure that the pages are sequentially numbered; do not number the title page.

 Most important, all citations must adhere to APA format; if you list a source with a URL, and I cannot find it on the internet, the paper will receive a reduced grade. I strongly urge students to use MyWritingLab when writing their papers because MyWritingLab will contain information and instructions about the use of APA format.

Quality and Quantity of Sources
Because this course is online, students will be allowed to use some online sources in writing their papers. However, students are expected to predominantly use sources that contain real research findings to support positions; mere opinion is not valid, and papers that rely on opinion will receive a very low grade.

Here is an example of opinion as opposed to the use of actual evidence. On one web page, the organization, English First, makes the claim that LEP students who attended bilingual programs have a higher dropout rate than those who did not attend bilingual programs. However, English First does not supply any evidence for this claim, and if you email them asking for the sources, the organization cannot supply them. In other words, the claim is entirely unverifiable and consequently cannot be used to support the position that bilingual education should be eliminated.

In contrast, an actual study exists that examines the dropout rates of LEP students in bilingual programs and immersion programs. This study, therefore, contains actual research results reported first hand by the investigators themselves. The study was also published in a scholarly and refereed journal, making it an acceptable source to support a position. This study and others are available to you as discussed below.

Another claim used by supporters of Proposition 227 is that bilingual education programs are really monolingual Spanish language programs. Again, this claim is not supported by any research evidence.

To write an effective research paper, students must use real research evidence to support their positions. Some additional readings containing research evidence are available to all students. They are on electronic reserve at the CSUB library. Though students may use other sources, they must incorporate the relevant articles from the Additional Readings into their term paper. By doing so, students are sure that they have used some actual research evidence.

All papers must contain no fewer than eight valid sources, some of which must be the reading materials assigned to the class. Remember that you must write a paper based on actual research evidence.  Students who quote information from unreliable sources will receive a reduced grade as will students who merely write political propaganda.

Submitting the paper
Students will submit their papers using the Safe Assign feature in Blackboard. I will explain the procedure later in the quarter. Students must submit their papers no later than November 20 by 4:00 p.m. I will not read any late papers and assign them a score no higher than a 60. For a late paper to receive a 60, it must adhere to all of the instructions above.

All students at CSUB have an account in MyWritingLab, which students may use for writing the paper. One feature of the program is that students can make sure that they are using correct APA format. Another feature is that students can submit drafts of the paper for professional review before turning it in. I strongly advise students to take advantage of these features in MyWritingLab.


English 420 Online: Course Syllabus.