Term Papers: Rules
Fall, 2004
  1. OBJECTIVE: Describe a mathematical problem or topic briefly and clearly. Consider the paper's audience to be one or more intelligent, powerful, busy, but uninformed people, such as your boss, a board of directors, or one of your classmates.

  2. LENGTH: 5 pages (not including the bibliography and illustrations), double spaced. Talk with me before going outside this range.

  3. IMPACT ON YOUR GRADE: Your term paper counts for 10% of your grade, so not doing it effectively lowers your grade by one letter. On the other hand, doing it well opens up an extra credit opportunity (see below).

  4. TOPICS: You may write on any project suggested in the textbook; you may write on one of the topics I suggest via the class web page; or you may choose another topic in consultation with me. Since I don't want to have too many people writing on the same topic, it is not enough for you to choose only one topic. Instead, choose about three, and rank them in order of preference.

  5. HONESTY: See the university's policy, which is available on the web:

    What you turn in must be your own work. When in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, consult me. Dishonesty will be dealt with harshly.

  6. CITATIONS: Cite all sources, whether they are books, articles, or web sites. In the case of web sites, list the author, title, date, URL, and the date you referenced it (since web pages change fast). If a web page has no author (not even an institutional author), then assume it has no weight, and do not use it.

  7. OUTLINE: Before writing your paper, you wil prepare an outline and bibliography. This is to help you clarify your own thoughts.

  8. SOME THINGS NOT TO DO: Don't pad your paper with unnecessary material. Don't cite sources after every sentence, or to justify well known facts. Don't assume that a web page is authoritative. Don't quote from my description of your topic. If my description includes a list of questions, don't just write a list of answers. This is a paper, after all.

  9. PROOFREADING: In addition to writing a paper, you will proofread another student's paper. Point out to the author every place where the paper is unclear to you, and find all instances of poor spelling, grammar, and usage. Be constructive. Once you feel that the paper is both clear and reasonably free of writing errors, you will give the author a signed, dated statement to that effect. (I will provide a form for this purpose, as well as a specific proofreader's checklist.) Your grade will partially depend on the clarity and grammatical correctness of the paper you proofread.

  10. MORE PROOFREADING: Similarly, another student will proofread your paper. If you turn in your paper without a signed, dated statement from your designated proofreader to the effect that he or she finds your paper to be both clear and reasonably free of writing errors, then you will lose 20 points (out of 100).

  11. COMMUNICATION: You are responsible for exchanging contact information with your proofreader. If you don't respond to communications, then you could find yourself without a proofreader, or without a proofreading assignment. In either case, you might lose 20 points (out of 100).

  12. ADVICE: If you have trouble with your paper, don't stew about it; you are welcome to come to me for technical help. (In fact, it's a good idea to show me a draft of your paper whether or not you're having trouble.)

  13. GRADING: See another sheet for the rubric that I will use. Note that your proofreading of someone else's paper will adjust your score by anywhere from -20 to +20 points. That's right: You can earn substantial extra credit by proofreading well.

  14. SCHEDULE: The same page that lists my grading rubric also contains a complete list of tasks related to your term paper, and the due date for each.

  15. EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY: If your paper is excellent, then I may invite you to create a poster on your work for a student poster session that might be held in December. Not only is this something to put on your resume, but it allows you to show off your skill at thinking, writing, organizing, and communicating. And it will increase your grade by one notch (e.g., B+ to A-).

About this document ...

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latex2html -split 0 -html_version 4.0,math -no_next_page_in_navigation -no_previous_page_in_navigation -up_url http://www.math.uakron.edu/ adler/excursions -up_title 'Excursions in Mathematics' -t 'Term Papers: Rules' paper-rules.tex

The translation was initiated by Jeffrey Adler on 2004-07-23

Jeffrey Adler 2004-07-23