The Ohio State University - School of Education

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First, they tend to be scholars interested in, as C. Wright Mills ..... October 6- submit a proposal of your topic so that I know you have chosen this .... Lnham, MA:.

1 The Ohio State University School of Educational Policy and Leadership ED P&L 717 Comparative Education Fall 2010 Course Syllabus Instructor: Phone, e-mail: Office Hours:

Antoinette Errante, 145C Ramseyer Hall 247-6857, [email protected] Wednesdays, 1:00- 4:00 p.m. I am happy to meet with you at other time by appointment; please e-mail me.

THE PURPOSE OF THE COURSE Welcome to Comparative Education! This course is designed to acquaint you with the broad range of scholarship that is “comparative education.” Although scholars dispute whether comparative education should be characterized as a “discipline”, a “field of study”, or a “context of study”, there are certain traits that tend to bring comparativists together. First, they tend to be scholars interested in, as C. Wright Mills (1959) observes, “both troubles and issues, both biography and history, and the range of their intricate relations” (198). Comparativists are interested in the range of those intricate relations because they involve a way of seeing the world that is primarily comparative. Almost all of us are by nature comparativists in this sense; we are constantly comparing even when we don’t think we are, maximizing similarities and differences. Comparative educators tend to make learning contexts – formal, non-formal, and/or informal – the stomping grounds of their comparisons. The purpose of this comparative way of seeing is to add an increment of meaning to existing knowledge by relating phenomena in new ways. Comparativists may draw from theoretical traditions of one or more disciplines to inform and analyze what they see. Similarly, comparativists may utilize both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection, analysis, and presentations. And so, we can compare education across cultures; we can compare education by bringing different theoretical traditions to bear on one (educational) theme; we can compare one phenomenon in one or more countries in one or more periods of time. We can compare characteristics that seem culturally specific and those that appear to be universal. The possibilities are endless. Still, comparison is a way of seeing, and as all ways of seeing, it tends to change the phenomenon (e.g. “education’) being seen. This is why we can observe certain trends and topics emerging as important in the field over time. The course is divided into various sections: 1.

What is comparative education and what has been its genesis as a field/context of inquiry ? Until very recently comparative education has largely been interested in the role that the school as an institution has played in the evolution of societies. We are so used to thinking of learning and socialization as the by-product of a formal institution called “school,” we rarely consider that the idea of “school” as the primary learning context is a very recent historical development. We will trace the early evolution and development of comparative education, as well as the theoretical perspectives that shaped and were shaped by it.


Comparative education as a way of seeing ; perspectives on comparative as method. This will give you a chance to hone your vision as a comparativist by giving you some examples of how other scholars have thought about the art of “doing comparative work.”


Critical Issues in Comparative Education: We will explore some of the topics that have dominated the field of comparative education historically such as the role of education for national development. Early traditions focused on structural/functionalist (and western) approaches to social, political and economic development. These perspectives (though they still dominate the field in practice) would be

2 later critiqued by feminist and post-colonial scholars. We will also explore more contemporary concerns regarding globalization, international assessments, educational borrowing (the practice of transferring policies deemed successful in one context to another). Finally, we will explore and “outof-school context” that suggests the ways in which “where” schools are situation in childhood socialization is shiting: the global rise of violent masculinities that appears to be accompanying global capitalism. It illustrates why comparativists argue that part of our role is to constantly question rather than assume the role of schools as socializing agents. COURSE FORMAT This format of this class will be a seminar, which will include small and all-class discussion of the readings. It is important to the collective enterprise that you keep current in the assigned reading, attend classes and participate in the discussions as informed members. Your participation will ensure that time together will be stimulating! You will not be expected to memorize every fact you come across in the readings. You should read in order to understand and to discuss intelligently the weekly class topics. You may find you need to read some of the readings more than once. Do not allow yourself to intellectually bully yourself when you come across new knowledge!!! If you were familiar with this material, you would not need this course!!! Our mission during the next ten weeks is to maximize our exposure to ideas! De-briefing/Study Groups On the first days of class, you’ll be asked to join a base study group compirsed of 3-4 people. Please choose a name for your base group. When you come to class, please sit with your base group. In the first portion of each class your group will spend about 15-20 minutes de-briefing about the readings, helping each other with any questions and compiling your discussion in order to report back to the class. Group members should rotate as notetakers and prepare a summary of the group’s assessment of (1) the 2-3 most important points in the readings had in common ; (2)2-3 arguents about which the readings differed and (2) Questions you would like to pursue during the class session. Please come to class prepared to formulate a response. I will randomly call on one member per group to summarize your group deliberations. I will set up group discussion forums on carmen so that you can “tawk amungst yusselves” during the week. Please join you right group discusion!!! At the end of each class, the designated notetaker will turn in to me group notes. Unless I indicate otherwise (by assigning something else) your group report should include:  Date of class session  Name of notetaker  Names of group members present.  Briefly describe o Maximize similarities: 2-3 points/arguments themes that were similar across the readings) o Maximize difference: 2-3 point/arguments/themes about which the readings differed. o Questions or points you’d like to pursue or discuss at greater length during allclass discussion.

3 Class Participation (or… it’s called participation because you p-a-r-t-c-i-p-a-t-e). 10 points possible  There are several types of participation and you should be aiming for type 5 1: Engagement Engagement Description Type 5 The Interested Concern Citizen  You leave class wondering (pondering, uncertain, surprised, speculating, questioning, struck, stuck, amazed, caught up etc.)  You challenge the group (small and large) respectfully.  You ask insightful questions  Your contributions extend the class readings.  In discussion, you refer to text and experience.  You participate regularly with the group and feel a sense of belonging (inclusion with it, responsibility for it).  You share the collective space. (You neither dominate the discussion, nor intimiate nor remain in the shadows).  You have prepared and thought before class. Type 4 The Responsible Student  You ask questions. Usually these are of clarification rather than instigation.  Your thought/questions are related to the readings.  In discussion, you refer to text and to experience.  You participate regularly.  You share the collective space. (You neither dominate the discussion, nor intimiate nor remain in the shadows).  You have prepared and thought before class. Type 3 Caught Up in the Moment  You leave class wondering (pondering, uncertain, surprised, speculating, questioning, struck, stuck, amazed, caught up etc.) from the contributions of others.  Your contribute your perspective to discussions based upon your experience; however, this perspective is not necessarily informed by readings. It is more “in the moment.”  You sometimes participate, sometimes not.  You sometimes prepare, sometimes not. Type 2


The Annonymous Spectator  You may or may not leave class wondering (pondering, uncertain, surprised, speculating, questioning, struck, stuck, amazed, caught up etc.).  You ask yourself insightful or probing questions. You engage yourself in thought.  You attend and listen attentively to others’ contributions and may find these interesting.  You do not regularly contibute to the group; you may not be very well know to the group/class as a whole.  You have prepapered and thought before class.

I am grateful to an online colleague who developed this participation rubric. I cannot seem to locate his/her name but will acknowledge them as soon as I locate it!!

4 Type 1

Non-Participation/ The Outsider  You sometimes come to class, sometimes not.  You arrive late.  You leave early  You attend class and leave class.  You feel disengaged (for a variety of reasons); not included, not responsible.

 ASSIGNMENT OPTIONS Option 1: Written Assignments (mid-term and final, 90 points total) 1. Mid-term Examination Questions Due: Nov. 2: 45 points 2.

Final Examination Questions Due: Dec. 8: 45 points

Under each week’s readings, several examination questions have been listed.  Mid term will focus on the readings from Sept. 29 through October 27). o You must respond to the question listed under Sept. 30. o Choose two additional questions from 2 different question pools listed for the other weeks) o Limit each response to 3 double-spaced pages or 9 pages total  Final will focus on the readings from Nov. 11 – Dec. 2. I will make the final exam available on Carmen by the beginning of October. Option 2: A Term Paper on the Topic of Your Choice (90 points total) (See section on “Guidelines for Research Paper” for more instructions) For those of you who have a particular topic you would like to explore from a comparative perspective, you may submit one 20-25 page research paper. Although you may incorporate class readings, this is an opportunity for you to explore aspects related to your professional interests that would benefit from a comparative educational perspective. As such, I would expect you to do extensive research beyond class readings; depending on the topic, this should include a minimum of 20 –25 articles and books. In addition to exploring any of the class topics in greater depth, other comparative projects might include: 1. Cross-national comparisons of a particular topic (e.g. special education reform in China and the United States; the role of school-based intervention in post-traumatic stress in the United States, Israel and Timor). 2.

A country case study regarding a particular topic, which is informed by and/or seeks to inform comparative studies  You situate your country study in relation to other country studies on a similar topic (e.g. “The majority of the cross-national literature suggests that distance education is a costeffective way of delivering teacher education courses that significantly upgrade teacher skills in the classroom (cite references here) . These studies, however, have been largely restricted to western contexts where technological literacy is high and learning has not been historically valued as a communal experience. My study focuses on the challenges faced by distance learning for teacher education in rural Mozambique, thereby expanding our understanding of the limits and possibilities of distance education across geographic and cultural contexts.” 

A “ball-roller” country study. You make a case that, after a careful review (and you actually have to do a preliminary literature review in this case), you conclude there are very few studies on your topic and that your single case study is going to get the ball rolling. For

5 example: “Bowling is a sport that has become popular in almost every continent of the world. While there is increasing cross-national literature on the body-mind connection and its importance in the learning process [cite references here], to date there is virtually no literature on how bowling might impact cognitive development in children. My study of the educational implications of bowling in New Foundland hopes to suggest some possibilities educators in other countries.” 3.

.A study involving single-case or multiple-case historical comparison. Some examples:   


Cross-disciplinary comparative study of a single or multiple case 


Desegregation after Brown v. Board of Ed and fifty years later. An Historical and Cross-National Comparative Study of Teacher Education and National Reconstruction, which would be based on a study of post-civil war United States; postWorld War II Germany, England and Italy; Northern Ireland, and South Africa. Compare and contrast the rhetoric of “empire” in 19 th century Europe with the contemporary rhetoric of “humanitarian aid”.

Bring several disciplines to bear on a topic that you feel has been misunderstood until now. Example: how history, critical race studies, feminist epistemology and anthropology2 can inform our understanding of how children learn to protract violent conflict .

A paper that is a combination of any of the above.

RULE OF THUMB THROUGHOUT: You are not “comparing” just because you’re in this groovy class on comparative education. There should be a “value added” to what we learn because you are looking at something from a comparative perspective. Ask yourself, “what can we learn from my exploring this topic from a comparative perspective that we would not know otherwise?” In writing the paper, close attention should be paid to writing with clarity, to the logic of your arguments and effective use of supporting evidence. Use a standard and consistent method of citing references (e.g., MLA. Turabian, etc.) If you choose this option, you will still be expected to keep current on course readings. You may also incoprorate course readings in your paper. However, as a research paper, you will be expected to write a paper based upon an extensive review of the literature. By extensive I mean you do not “google” your topic, but do an extensive review of the literature through the university’s numerous research databases. Please ask if you do not know what this means. As part of this assignment you will have the following deadlines (please submit all work in the course dropbox on Carmen as well as provide me with a hard copy).  October 6- submit a proposal of your topic so that I know you have chosen this option. A paragraph will do. It is OK if you find yourself changing your topic as you write the paper.  Nov. 3 – Submit a working bibliograpy of your research to date. In addition to citation of references, include o Research databases you have searched to date o Search terms you have used to research your topic.  Dec. 8 – submit paper.


If you are sitting in your chair having a glass cow because these terms (e.g. critical race studies, feminist epistemologies) are unfamiliar to you, do not panic. You’ll be casually throwing them out at cocktail parties by the end of this course!

6 In writing the paper, close attention should be paid to writing with clarity, to the logic of your arguments and effective use of supporting evidence. Use a standard and consistent method of citing references (e.g., MLA. Turabian, etc.) HOW TO SUBMIT ASSIGNMENTS (EXAMS AND RESEARCH PAPERS): Please submit both a hard copy of your work as well as an online copy in the appropriate 717 assignment dropbox on CARMEN. If you are not familiar with CARMEN, I encourage you to visit the site ( For any technical difficulties, please contact OSU tech help at 688-HELP. You must submit both A HARD AND ONLINE COPY of all assignments for them to be graded by me.!! Carmen facilitates my tracking the submission of your work; however, I can provide more in-depth feedback on a hard copy. Please remember: 

No copy in Carmen dropbox and you will be docked 2 pts for every day past the deadline for submission as I will use your Carmen submissions as the date of receipt of the assignment! PLEASE DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES E-MAIL YOUR ASSIGNMENTS DIRECTLY TO MY E-MAIL ADDRESS!!

GRADING Written Assignment (2 exams or research paper) (total): 90 points Class Participation (including work in base groups): 10 points Whining: minus 20 points Skipping out after break: minus 20points Lame excuses for not completing assignments: minus 30 points Creative excuses for not completing asssignments: minus 20 points Students with Disabilities If you require any accomodations to facilitate your learning, please speak with me and I will be happy to work this out with you. Late Papers/Incompletes Late papers will be docked 2 points/day. Incompletes – are only given in exceptional circumstances. Required Readings: All readings are available online through Carmen – visit Please note that any articles on Carmen are from online journals that are also accessible through OSU libraries directly, so if you have difficulty getting them through Carmen, you can always go through OSU libraries. Additional Readings I have made available additional readings on all course topics; they are listed under weekly assignments on Carmen. These are optional and not required for completing assignments.


Sept. 22


Sept. 29

Trends in Comparative Education : Why Should we Care to Compare? Required Readings Gottlieb, E. (2000). Are we post-modern yet? Historical and Theoretical Explorations in Comparative Education. In B. Moon & M. Ben-Peretz & S. brown (Eds.), Routledge International Companion to Education. London: Routledge. Broadfoot, P. (2000). Comparative Education for the 21st Century: Retrospect and Prospect. Comparative Education, 36(3), 357-371. Cowen, R. (2006). Acting Comparatively upon the Educational World: Puzzles and Possibilities. Oxford Review of Education, 32(5), 561-573.

Sept. 29 Examination Question for Midterm (Required by all choosing Option 1) Compare and contrast the readings by attending to the following: 

  

Construct a brief historical overview of the major moments in the development of comparative education. Discuss why, based on the readings, you feel these moments are important. Do the moments you identify signal shifts in the topics emphasized? Theoretical shifts? Methodological shifts? (1 page) Discuss how you feel the authors are similar in their perspectives on the development of comparative education. (1 page) Discuss what unique perspectives each author brings to his/her understanding of comparative education. If you believe only some authors said anything unique, say so and tell me why you think it is important. (1 page) Finally, discuss how you believe comparative education relates to your own professional work. Give me some examples of how you see a comparative education perspective enriching your professional development; discuss within this any of the above authors that especially resonated with your own vision of comparative education (2 pages).

8 October 6

Use Your Imagination! Comparing Ways of Comparing Classical pieces to inspire your thinking about how to “do comparison.” If you read them with resentment in your heart thinking that your professor is crazy to assign all this reading, you will miss their point. Get zen and read/skim to get their main ideas. Return to the ones that resonate most; you will read those again and again. You might even be moved to purchase the entire book(s). And you will thank me you have these pieces when you’re doing your generals.

Required Readings Mills, C. W. (1959). On intellectual craftsmanship, The sociological imagination (pp. 195-226). New York: Oxford University Press. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). Generating Theory by Comparative Analysis, The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research (pp. 1-43). New York: Aldine de Guyter. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The Constant Comparative Method of Qualitative Analysis, The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research (pp. 101-115). New York: Aldine de Guyter. Oct. 6 Examination Questions Pool for Midterm 1.

Compare and contrast Mills and Glaser & Strauss on their understanding of comparison and comparative work.  Discuss two ways in which the authors are similar  Discuss two ways in which each of these treatises are unique.  Tell me which of these three treatises most resonates with your own vision and why.

DUE: Research paper proposals if you choose Option 2 assignments Oct. 13

The Role of Education in National Development: Theories in Historical Perspectives

Required Readings Fägerlind, I., & Saha, L. (1989). Conceptions of Societal Development, Education and National Devlopment (pp. 3-67). Oxford: Pergamon Press. Stromquist, N. P. (1995). Romancing the State: Gender and Power in Education. Comparative Education Review, 39(4), 423-455.

Additional Optional Readings Apple, M. (2003). Freire and the Politics of Race in Education. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 6(2), 107-118. Milner, M. (1987). Theories of Inequality: An Overview and a Strategy for Synthesis. Social Forces, 65(4). Inkeles, A. (1969). Making Men Modern: On the Causes and Consequences of Individual Chage in Six Developing Countries. The American Journal of Sociology, 75(2), 208-225. Schultz, T. W. (1993). The Importance of Human Capital in Modernization. Education Economics, 1(1).

9 For exam question pool, see October 20. October 20

Education and National Development: Political and Economic Perspectives of the Field

Required Readings Fägerlind, I., & Saha, L. (1989). Dimensions of Development, Education and National Devlopment (pp. 67-123). Oxford: Pergamon Press. Novelli, M., & Robertson, S. (2007). The Politicization of Development Aid to Education after September 11. In K. J. Saltman (Ed.), Schooling and the Politics of Disaster (pp. 249-268). New York: Routledge.

Oct. 13 AND October 20 Examination Question Pool for Midterm 1 (Hint: this means I am expecting you to draw from readings of October 13 AND 20) 1.


Compare and contrast functionalist and conflict perspectives with Stromquist’s discussion of feminists’ perspectives. Be sure to include any overlaps in these perspectives as well as differences. Include in your discussion of functionalist and conflict perspectives modernization theory, human capital theory, and liberation theories. The education of Muslim girls in North Africa: Using the theoretical perspectives discussed in the readings, propose an educational plan to increase the literacy of Muslim girls in Northern Africa (for a moment suspend the question of whether there is a literacy crisis in fact). Make a brief (one page) proposal in which you alternatively assume in your proposal the following perspectives regarding the role of education/school in society:  Modernization theory  Human Capital Theory  Liberation Perspectives  Feminist Perspectives Be sure to discuss how each of these perspectives relates to the kind of program to increase literacy that you propose. In other words, if “Mr. Modernization” were writing a plan, what would it look like and how different would it be from “Ms. Human Capital” and so forth.

Oct. 27

Globalization 101: Where in the World are Our Children Learning????

Required Readings: Carmen Errante, A. (2009). Globalization, Education and the Trouble with Peace. In C. C. Yeakey, R. K. Hopson & F. M. Boakari (Eds.), Power, Voice and the Public Good: Schooling and Education in Globalized Societies. Oxford: Elsevier. Stromquist, N. P. (2002). Theorizing Globalization. In N. Stromquist (Ed.), EDucation in a Globalized World (pp. 1-18). Lnham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield. Stromquist, N. P. (2002). The Twinning of Ideas and Material Conditions: Globalization, Neoliberalism and Postmodernism. In N. Stromquist (Ed.), EDucation in a Globalized World (pp. 19-36). Lnham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield. Stromquist, N. P. (2002). Educational Impacts of Economic and Cultural Globalization. In N. Stromquist (Ed.),

10 Education in a Globalized World (pp. 37-63). Lnham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield. Additional Optional Readings Comaroff, J., & Comaroff, J. (2000). Millennial Capitalism: Thoughts on a Second Coming. Public Culture, 12(2), 291-343. Dimitriadis, G., & Kamberelis, G. (1997). Shifting Terrains: Mapping Education within a Global Landscape. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 551, 137-150. October 27

Globalization Examination Question Pool for Midterm


Discuss the four most important themes that emerged from your understanding of the readings. Be sure to incorporate/integrate all the readings in your response.


Is globalization really important to understanding educational contexts in the 21st Century? Discuss two reasons it is important and two reasons it is not, based on the readings.

Nov. 3

Class Cancelled Due to Professional Conference

DUE: Midterm exams (Option 1) or Bibliography (Option 2)

Nov. 10

The Empire Strikes Back! Post-Colonial Perspectives

REQUIRED READINGS (CARMEN) Diawara, M. (2000). Globalization, Development Politics and Local Knowledge. International Sociology, 15(2), 361-371. Tikly, L. (1999). Postcolonialism and Education. International Review of Education, 45(5/6), 603-621. Kliewer, C., & Fitzgerald, L. M. (2001). Disability, Schooling and the Artifacts of Colonialism. Teachers College Record, 103(3), 450-471. Cooper, F. (2001). W hat is the Concept of Globalization Good For? An African Historian's Perspective. African Affairs, 100, 189-213. Nov. 10 Postcolonial Examination Question Pool for Final 1. Discuss the four most important themes that emerged from your understanding of the readings. Be sure to incorporate/integrate all the readings in your response. 2.

Write your own question and answer it (please clear question with me in advance).

11 Nov. 17

International Comparisons: Useful or a Case of Comparing Apples and Oranges?

Taylor, P. J. (1987). The Poverty of International Comparisons. Studies in Comparative International Development, Spring. Schleicher, A. (2009). Seeing the United States Education System through the Prism of International Comparisons. Middle School Journal, 40(5), 11-17. Baines, L. (2007). Learning from the World: Achieving More by Doing Less. Phi Delta Kappan, 89(2), 98-100. Smyth, J. A. (2008). The Origins of the International Standard Classification of Education. Peabody Journal of Education, 83(1), 5-40. Meyer, L. H. (2003). Wanted: Internationally Appropriate Best Practices. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 28(1), 33-36. Nov. 24 Dec.2

No Class Gender: Men and Women as Producers and Consmumer of Masculinities and Femininities

Required Readings (Carmen) Errante, A. (2003). Where in the World do Children Lean 'Bloody Revenge'?: Cults of terror and counter terror and their implications for child socialisation. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 1(2), 131-152. Dowler, L. (2001). Till Death do us Part: Masculinity, Friendship, and Nationalism. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 19, 53-71. Kimmel, M. (2003). Globalization and its (Male)Contents. International Sociology, 18(3), 603-621.

Electronic copies of Final Papers are due in Carmen dropbox by 7 p.m Dec. 9. Hard copies are due by 4 pm on Dec. 9 . Please leave with Chin Richardson in 121 Ramseyer.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR EXAMINATION QUESTIONS GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS You have been given all of your examination questions the first day of class. This is because I am not looking for you to memorize some facts that I wish for you to recall quickly on an examination day. The purpose of giving you your examination questions early is to give you due time to reflect on your responses and hand in quality responses. Keep the following in mind as you do the assignments. 1.

The questions are designed to allow you to leave this course with a product that is a useful compilation of what you have done throughout this quarter. You should respond to the questions with this in mind.

12 2.

The examination questions have not been designed to be answered in an evening and you should allot at least two days to do the essential readings and questions. If you think you can do all the questions in one sitting, I guarantee I will know it and you will be sorely disappointed with your grade.


Please keep copies of all your papers.


Follow instructions carefully!!! MAKE SURE YOU READ THE QUESTION.


All assignments have maximum/minimum page limits. Be sure to stick to them.


Please be sure to include the question (as in type it out first on your paper) so that I know which one you are answering. Be sure to cite evidence from the readings to support all of your arguments (or from you bibliography if you’re doing a research paper). Remember, for any idea which is not your own, you must cite a source.  If you paraphrase an idea from the readings, cite the author and the year of publication  If you use a direct quotation, you must cite the author, the year of publication and the page in which the quote appears. Footnotes may be used rather than parenthetical citations.



You are expected to incorporate all of the weeks’ reading into each of your responses.

Most common mistakes in answering questions. 1. Failure to follow instructions. 2. Failure to read/answer the question 3. Response is not documented with evidence from the readings. This is a surefire way to acquire a “C”. Criteria for evaluating your responses. 1. Your ability to defend your response with evidence from the text. I will be looking to see that you have formed an opinion based upon your understanding of the readings. A good response makes a strong case based upon examples cited from the readings. 2. Your capacity to integrate the readings into your response . The more you cite from diversified readings, the more I know you have actually read and synthesized the readings. Failure to incorporate readings suggests you have not read them with care. 3. Your ability to express your ideas in an organized, articulate and concise fashion. Style is important not only because lack of clarity can hinder your capacity to express your ideas, but also because a lack of style signals to the reader sloppy work.

Guidelines for Research Paper Questions you should ask yourself while writing and before handing in your paper. 1. Organization. Do you have a thesis? Are the thoughts well-organized so that ideas follow in a logical and rational manner? 2. Clarity of expression. Are ideas articulated clearly? Language should clarify your thoughts, not obscure them.

13 3.

Content. Does the content demonstrate thoughtful reflection of your topic? Do you provide sufficient evidence for your claims? Does your bibliography reflect that you have invested a substantial amount of time and thought into your work? That is, is the bibliography fairly exhaustive of the topic? FIVE MOST COMMON MISTAKES OR IF I SEE THESE IN YOUR PAPER I’LL KNOW YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS


Paper is poorly organized. The writer used the book-in-lap-eyes-to-the-computer approach to a paper’s organization. With few exceptions, if you don’t think through what it is you want to say, it shows. 2. Paper is based on inadequate research. The writer based the paper almost exclusively on class readings with two or three additional readings. Although you may incorporate class readings in your paper, they should not represent the bulk of your bibliography. A minimum of 6-8 additional sources is suggested. If your topic does not generate that much, see me immediately. Preferably, the bibliography is at least a page long. 3. The writer makes gross generalizations. (Usually a consequence of #2) Here is what I mean by gross generalization:  “Women throughout history have been systematically oppressed by a patriarchal society”.  “The capitalist system has oppressed the masses for hundreds of years.”  “Liberal education has led to the destruction of American life” If you make such a statement, you had better be prepared to support it with evidence. In the above, for example, I would ask the writers of such statements: What women? All women? Did no one crack through the “patriarchy? What do you mean by oppressed? What is that? What is a patriarchal system? Who are the masses? What does oppressed mean, and how does it work? What is liberal education, what to you mean by destruction? What is American life? 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

The paper is poorly documented. The writer does not adequately cite evidence in the text. This takes on a variety of forms such as, A bibliography is appended at the end but none of the sources are cited in the text. Quotations are used in the text but no source for the quotation is given. The analysis is loosely strung together by generalizations. REMEMBER: Any idea, which you have incorporated from someone else’s work must be cited appropriately in the text. SEE THE NEXT MISTAKE FOR MORE DETAILS The paper does not conform to any manual of style. APA, MLA, Turabian, Chicago, I don’t much care but do use one. *********Single most common mistakes*************


A passage has quotation marks around it but no source is cited. “It is the most significant document of this century” should be written as “It is the most significant document of this century” (Smith 1989, 2).Any direct quotations must also indicate page numbers.


2. The paper is too short. If you turn in a 20-page paper in a font this big and so spaced, I can only conclude you had very little to say. 3.

The paper is too long. If your type is so small and condensed that I will become visually impaired reading it in order to get it into the allotted space, or if you hand in a 60-page paper, I can only conclude that you have not really taken the time to synthesize your ideas.