Undergraduate essays are typically 1,500-2,500 long (excluding bibliography). Your essay should be page numbered, double spaced and at least 11 point in size. It should be word processed, and space should be left in the margins for marking.
In Korean Studies, your essays will be graded using the following criteria:
• Quality of introduction and conclusion
• Use of relevant sources
• Critical analysis
• Structure and organization (make sure you have an introduction that sets out the question and how you plan to address it; the main body of the essay – possibly divided into chapters or sections with subheadings; and a solid conclusion where you present an overview of your findings and address the essay question)
• Prose style and language – make sure you write in academic English. Avoid using bullet points (even if I have used the here!), colloquial language (“I’ve”, “This is 4u”) and incomplete sentences in academic essays.
Please note that your essay mark is not determined simply by the calculated average of the individual section marks, and you main focus should always be on presenting a critical and well thought-out argument to merit a higher mark. While you will not be graded for grammar, please proofread your essay carefully to ensure that poor level of linguistic expression does not make your argument unclear.
There are no hard and set rigid rules as to what constitutes a good essay, as styles and approaches to writing an essay can vary. However, a good essay will consist of good arguments (backed by relevant evidence and examples which are fully referenced) all which build toward a solid conclusion). An introduction should set out to explain what the essay will discuss and how. The main body of the essay should put forward solid, well thought-out arguments, ideally with some intermediate conclusions. A good conclusion will pull all the points put across in the main body of the essay together, and develops a solid conclusion based on the intermediate conclusions. A good essay, in short, is one therefore that argues a point convincingly whist avoiding excessive repetition, so that each argument put forward will push the argument forward toward a solid well-executed and supported conclusion.
All essays should have a bibliography which gives full details of the sources cited in the main body of the essay. Occasionally students wonder how many sources they should cite. For that I would say that it really is not about the quantity but the quality that counts. Make sure that most of your sources are from reputable peer-reviewed journals or academic publications. Wikipedia, blogs, news articles (although sometimes useful) and opinion pieces are not peer reviewed. University of Victoria’s University Library offers a good definition of peer reviewed as follows:
Peer-reviewed articles have been evaluated by several researchers or subject specialist in the academic community prior to accepting it for publication, also known as scholarly or refereed. (See more at: http://libanswers.uvic.ca/a.php?qid=79020).
“But I don’t know where to find peer reviewed articles.”
Not a good excuse. Your first starting point should be the University library’s One Search (resist the temptation to Google everything here).
We also have the added benefit of having an actual Subject Guide for Korean Studies:
which includes a link to the priceless DBpia database (http://catalogue.library.uwa.edu.au/search~S1?/.b3073379/.b3073379/1%2C1%2C1%2CB/eresourcee1001501~b3073379) which gives you access to pretty much every Korean academic publication online. Please use it (some of the materials there are also available in English, but not accessible via Google or any other way).
Please do not hesitate to speak to your course tutor before commencing writing for advice and guidance.
“Have you got any examples of good undergraduate essays with fab structure and great argument?”
See examples of various essays which have been deemed good enough for publications in the Warwick University & Monash University’s Journal of Undergraduate Research Reinvention: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/iatl/reinvention/ . I’m hoping that many of your essays will eventually be published here too.
The essay should be your own work, and any ideas and thought must be properly referenced (please see below). Plagiarism or collusion is unacceptable and evidence of such is very likely to result in failing to pass the essay. Plagiarism includes:
Copying ideas from other sources without proper referencing is considered plagiarism – this includes direct citations as well as ideas being paraphrased from a given source. This includes, among other things; books, journal articles, lecture materials, talks, previous students’ work, etc. Please note that copy-pasting from websites without proper citing of the references is also considered plagiarism. Equally, translating materials from another language and passing the ideas as your own is considered plagiarism.
Self-plagiarism, whereby the student resubmits a piece of work previously submitted for another course, is also unacceptable.
Collusion refers to a practice where two or more students work together on an assignment other than group work and attempt to pass the work as a work of an individual, or where person other than the student submitting the essay under their name writes parts of the essay. This is unacceptable practice because it is within the spirit of plagiarism and fails to acknowledge the effort of the other person(s) involved.
“Why do you make such a fuss about plagiarism?”
First of all, plagiarism is a theft of a kind – you are pinching other people’s ideas and claiming that they are your own original ideas. Secondly, you are failing in your central task of conducting research and presenting your findings by copy-pasting other people’s ideas without much critical thought. Depressingly, it is usually very easy to tell when essays have been plagiarised, and we are now regularly running essays through the plagiarism detection software used in the Faculty, Turnitin (see more: http://turnitin.com/
ROMANISATION OF KOREAN TERMS, NAMES OR WORDS
You should use the McCune-Reischauer system for Romanising Korean names , places or terms. For ? and ? you should use breves with the relevant vowel (o and u, respectively – these can be found under the “Insert” and “Symbol” in MS Word applications). Please see http://guides.lib.monash.edu/content.php?pid=118056&sid=1591345 for some good links to Romanization tables from Monash University.
For names, always use the person’s preferred Romanisation if one is available (for example, “Syngman Rhee” instead of “Yi Sungman” or Park Chung-hee instead of “Pak Chong-hui”). Please note that family names are generally given first, so that for example in Kim Yunshik, Kim is the family name and Yunshik the given name. Consequently, in the bibliography the name would appear as:
Kim, Yunshik (2002), The History of Korean Literature (Seoul: Jipmoondang Publishing)
You can also use the New Romanisation System, but bear in mind that the McCune-Reischauer is generally more accepted within academia. Wikipedia has a good page that provides a useful simplified table for this form of referencing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revised_Romanization_of_Korean