(Instructions) ENC 4218 – Chivalry and Courtly Love Term Paper


(Instructions) ENC 4218 – Chivalry and Courtly Love Term Paper

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Term-Paper Guidelines

The final paper for this course is to be a 8-10 page research paper that shall consist of the following components:

1) An annotated bibliography (a minimum of twelve (12) items, no more than eight (8) of which may be digitally available articles or book chapters, not including your primary sources, i.e. Malory and any other primary text you may chose to use). You may use sources assigned for this course: 100 points.

2) A two (2) page prospectus giving an overview of your topic and including a first-draft of your THESIS: 100 points.

3) The paper itself. Again, 8-10 pages (not including bibliography/works cited), formatted according to MLA standards (if you use a different style sheet, you may use that here but you must make it clear in your annotated bibliography which one you are following): 300 points.

All three of these are to be submitted electronically via the Turnitin links provided in the ‘Assignments’ folder of our Canvas site.

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Your topic:

It should be obvious that this paper will concern some aspect of the Arthurian legend centered in the Middle English tradition. The most obvious choice for this is Malory, but it is not the only one.

The idea is to develop an argument concerning some aspect of the topic you have chosen. I expect you to develop this yourself, but we will schedule at least one conference to discuss it before your prospectus is due. Do not waste too much space on plot summary. Try your best to avoid the ‘since-the-dawn-of-time’ syndrome: it is better to start small and expand than to formulate a thesis that would require a dissertation to do it justice. I would again point out that the scanned chapters from the book by Trimble are an excellent place to start.

(1) The Prospectus/Abstract:

You will submit a two (2) page prospectus, giving a basic overview of your topic, showing that you have an idea of your thesis, and have identified possible support for your thesis from both the primary and secondary documents that you have collected in your annotated bibliography. This is a narrative document and should be written in paragraph form (not a bulleted list). Give me the basic form your argument is going to take, and any possible difficulties you foresee having in the research process. Research a bit and see if there is a lot or little scholarship on this topic. You must identify a topic that you feel will support dynamic research, will hold your attention through the rest of the semester, and which will result in an interesting, thoughtful paper. Test drive a few out before you settle, because if you don’t like it by the time you write it, it’ll show in the writing. This is where your work on the 3T&Ts should pay off.

Grading rubric for this document:

• 2 pages?

• some kind of thesis, including support from primary and secondary sources?

• paragraphs, well-organized, formatted?

• difficulties foreseen?

• some incorporation of materials on annotated bibliography?

• 50 points for full 2 pages;

• 10 pts for explicit bibliography, though not exhaustive;

• 10 points for paragraph, narrative form + good formatting, proof-reading;

• 10 points for difficulties foreseen;

• 10 points possible for a thesis, on a scale of 1-10.

Due Date: See the syllabus

(2) The Annotated Bibliography:

Your focus texts (1 or more primary sources) and at least 10 supplementary secondary documents. Total sources, then, should be at least 12. All secondary sources MUST be from reputable, scholarly sources (no commercial .coms, no unaffiliated .orgs, no SparkNotes, no CliffNotes, NO WIKIPEDIA, no encyclopedias). 

The annotation must tell me not only what the item is / is about, but why it is relevant to your thesis and how you plan to use it. You may not end up actually using all the material you gather at this stage, but the goal is to save you a lot of work later, so take good notes as you compile this list!

See the Sample Annotated Bibliography from a past course I’ve posted online (note that it falls one item short of being complete!)

Find the annotated bibliography HERE

(3) The paper:

See above for a description of the paper’s parameters. I will be happy to help you with formulating a topic, but this is also what the 3T&Ts are designed to do.

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Due Date: See the syllabus

I will be using the following rubric to grade this:


Final Research Term-Paper

Grading Cover Sheet

Total points: 300

__ Does the paper have a clearly written, debatable, supportable, and interesting thesis on a relevant topic? (60 pts)

__ Does the paper support this thesis with adequate attention to primary textual evidence (i.e. the illustrate items you are looking at) and sufficient, accurate use of scholarly research as stated in the assignment description? (30 pts)

__ Is the argument well-structured? Do paragraphs expand on the author’s argument rather than just summarize research? Are there appropriate transitions between paragraphs? Are quotes used judiciously and appropriately incorporated into sentences or blocked when necessary? (30 pts)

__ Does the author demonstrate a mastery of course concepts and texts insofar as they apply to the material under discussion? (30 pts.)

__ Does the paper avoid inane padding, particularly in the first and last paragraphs? Does it avoid making “dawn of time” statements about authors or texts? Does it avoid linking empty generalizations about the Meaning ofLife tothe topic in question, instead focusing attention fully on what is going on in the texts chosen for discussion? (30 pts.)

__ Does the paper end with a conclusion that both reframes the thesis AND answers the “so what?” question by suggesting the broader implications of the author’s argument? (30 pts.)

__ Does the paper meet the minimum requirement for length (8 pages) and not excessively exceed the maximum (10 pages)? (30 pts.)

__ Is the paper scrupulously proofread and clear of grammatical errors? Is it properly formatted (12 pt., Times New Roman, 1” margins, title, page numbers, stapled)? (30 pts.)

__ Does the paper cite sources using proper MLA style and does the paper include a properly formatted Works Cited page? Or does it follow another stylesheet, and has this been explicitly stated by the author? (30 pts.)



A more subjective way of formulating this is as follows:

F — The paper is not handed in; plagiarized in part or in whole; unacceptably shorter than the assigned length.

D — Thesis missing; major mechanical problems; poor organization; serious misreadings of the text; stretches in which the writer simply gives a narrative account of the reading for no apparent reason; paper much shorter than the assigned length; paper doesn’t make a point.

C — The paper may make some good points and may demonstrate understanding of both the text and the question, but the argument is not as rich, detailed and well-supported as it should be in a college paper; stylistic problems come between the reader and the argument. Thesis may be weak, perhaps either inaccurate or insufficiently complex; illogical or superficial arguments may support the thesis; inaccurate discussion of the text; many minor mechanical errors, perhaps some major ones; narrative summary of the text outweighs argument, analysis and interpretation; examples may be given for their own sake (just to fill up space); quotations may be used poorly (material quoted out of context, misquoted, quoted unnecessarily); sentence structures tangled or unvaried; organization rambles or disappears; words misused or misspelled; diction inconsistent; proofreading weak.

B — A solid, commendable paper that fulfills the assignment. The writer has an interesting point to make and makes it in an organized and competent way. Clear, sufficiently complex thesis supported by an intelligent argument and judicious reference to the text; a well-organized argument, connected with appropriate signals of identity or transition which highlight the structure of the argument; quotations or examples, if used, advance or support the argument where it needs support; standard correct punctuation; some variation of sentence length and structure; perhaps a slightly awkward style at moments; a few minor mechanical errors.

A — The paper is more than accurate and error-free; it is strikingly well-written and well-argued. In the best A-papers, a human voice seems to speak: it has something to say, says it clearly and gracefully and supports it fully. A thesis rich enough to lend itself to interesting development and support; detailed understanding of the question and text; sound organization; clear, unambiguous sentences, sentence lengths vary, exhibiting some or all of the following: subordination, parallel structure, accurate use of sophisticated punctuation, including colons, semicolons, and dashes if appropriate.

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